Land, seas and territories to feed our dignity and the peoples of the world

March 2012

March 5 – 9, 2012: Last round of the international negotiations on land at FAO: The mobilization of social organizations and Italian NGOs.Monday, 5th of March, at 1 p.m.: international press conference of the delegates of civil society who will present the demands of civil society inside FAO. Friday, 9th of March, at 1 p.m.: press conference outside of FAO on the end of negotiations and the results

On Monday, 5th of March, the last phase of the negotiations of governments and civil society on the “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests” in FAO’s Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will begin.

The Italian associations A.I.A.B., CROCEVIA, FAIR and TERRA NUOVA support und participate in the mobilization of the delegates of social movements and organizations that represent small-scale food producers (peasants, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, nomadic pastoralists, young people and rural women).

The Voluntary Guidelines are an instrument of the system of the United Nations that fixes necessary, but not obligatory elements for the actions of governments. Two thirds of the text have already been agreed upon during the last session in October 2011. Social movements have strongly pushed for the elaboration of these guidelines, given that in respect to land, even the most basic rights are being violated, especially the right to food.

Civil society organizations have developed a long process of internal consultation on all continents. This process has been supported by the IPC (International Planning Committee on Food Sovereignty) and has led to the elaboration of a civil society version of the Guidelines. This document has then been used in the negotiations with the governments.

The presence of organized groups of small-scale food producers and of civil society organizations as equal and effective participants in the process of negotiation itself is crucial in order to remind that without them, the agreements of governments will not have any impact and that the way out of the crisis will only be possible if instruments are adopted that are innovative, original and that put in question the rules of the market and the liberalist religion.

Regarding the parts of the Guidelines that still have to be negotiated the delegates will struggle for the following issues:

Protect the local communities from investments and other transfers of rights that undermine their control of and secure access on agricultural lands.

Prioritize reforms that aim at the restitution or the redistribution of lands to small-scale food producers (agrarian reform). Put limits to the extension of private property of lands.

Ensure the judicial protection of tenure rights and human rights related to tenure of land, forests and fisheries.

Strengthen the legal recognition and safeguarding of tenure rights and tenure governance systems of indigenous peoples and other customary communities.

Recognize and protect lands, fisheries and forests are collectively used and governed as commons, including public lands.

Strengthen the systems of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of States’ actions in applying the Guidelines.

Strengthen the responsibility and the capacity of states to respond to climate change, natural disasters and violent conflicts, in order to guarantee the respect, preservation and restoration of tenure rights of the affected local populations, and particularly those of small-scale food producers.

The struggle for a profound change of global policies on land, nutrition and agriculture is still long, difficult, and it is not yet clear if it will be successful.

(Original press release by FAIR, TERRA NUOVA, CROCEVIA and AIAB)