Peasant Youth Unveils Vision: 5th International Youth Assembly Declaration

5TH INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE YOUTH ARTICULATION OF LA VIA CAMPESINA – FINAL DECLARATION


We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
On this land
The lady of our land
The mother of all beginnings
And the mother of all ends
She was called Palestine

Mahmoud Darwish

We, the young peasants, convened our 5th International Assembly of the Youth Articulation of La Vía Campesina in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 1, 2023. We started our gathering by centering our sense of belonging to the land that we come from. We reaffirmed our solidarity and shared all of our love with the people of Palestine and their longstanding struggle for liberation, especially in the current context of blatant genocide, violent occupation, and the siege of Gaza by Israel. We commit to continue amplifying the message of their struggles with our communities and the general public and engage in direct and ongoing actions in support of the Palestinian people.

We gathered to address and contemplate the profound crises gripping global agriculture and food systems while sharpening our strategies, actions and solutions . We engaged in vital discussions, sharing experiences and wisdom of our people, focusing on four critical themes: the crisis of generational continuity in agriculture, climate justice and agroecology, a critical analysis of new digital technologies, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in Rural Areas from a youth perspective.

Committed to advancing collective visions and proposals rooted in solidarity, internationalism, and systemic transformation, we presented our consolidated ideas at the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina. Consequently, our 5th International Youth Assembly was a landmark event to reinvigorate our strategies and commitment to the movement. As we transition from one International Coordination Committee (ICC) youth member per continent to one ICC youth member per region we further strengthen and expand our active participation with commitment to inclusivity, balance, diversity and intergenerational exchange thus strengthening our work within and from our regions thus strengthening our work within and from our regions.

We commit to construct a future grounded in food sovereignty and agroecology as a sustainable agrifood system, social movement, a popular knowledge and a way of life. We acknowledge our role and responsibility to preserve ancestral wisdom and movement knowledge passed down by our elders. We reaffirm our commitment to work shoulder to shoulder with the generations that came before us. Their struggles and effort laid the foundation to ensure intergenerational continuity of our movement.

Neoliberal economic globalization and other capitalist-driven crises, including climate and environmental catastrophes, prolonged wars, criminalization and violences against peasants, and escalating poverty violates peasants rights, threatens sustainability and life itself for peasant youth. Agribusiness expansion disconnects people from the land, pollutes the planet, and degrades social fabrics. Free trade agreements and market deregulation led by the World Trade Organization threaten peasant livelihoods and territorial markets through export subsidies,and food dumping.

Accessing land is a dire challenge for young people. Agribusiness, speculative investors, corporate extractivism corporate extractivism and tourism development expand their control of land while peasants are displaced. Multinational corporations exploit rural workers, especially migrants, by setting poverty wages and violating their labour rights. This rampant abuse of workers pushes youth away from agricultural aspirations.These power imbalances result in migration and rural depopulation threatening intergenerational continuity, local food systems and food sovereignty.

Corporate technologies and false climate solutions pose significant challenges for young peasants seeking equitable livelihoods. These technologies, like robotics, digitalization, and genetics, are largely controlled by agribusiness and information technology conglomerates, often presented as the only viable solution while reinforcing inequality and unsustainability. They come with a hefty price tag, and also have hidden social and environmental costs promoting an agricultural model without farmers and dismissing peasant knowledge.

We demand publicly funded research that emphasizes peasant based agroecology and control of appropriate technologies. We advocate for robust social and environmental regulations of digitalization and all corporate technologies. As the Youth Articulation of La Via Campesina we commit to confront these harmful implications on agriculture.

The action plan of La Via Campesina International Youth Articulation mobilizes these critical issues, underscoring the importance of agroecology and peasant rights in nurturing the land, producing healthy food, and ensuring intergenerational continuity in agriculture. Our collective plan aims to safeguard people’s sovereignty and protect Mother Earth. Furthermore, our plan emphasizes the significance of solidarity as a way to organize and expand our reach to more young peasants . In this spirit we actively engage with other social movements forming alliances in fighting against capitalism, imperialism, racism, patriarchy, climate change, and colonization.

It is crucial that our generation comes together to confront the forces of agribusiness. We must advocate for integral and popular agrarian reform as well as public policies for fair access to land, enhance political formation, promote and practice peasant agroecology, and ensure just access to the commons. The dream we are forging includes vibrant rural communities that are intergenerational and inclusive of all diversities.

Collective organization and mobilization, popular peasant feminism, intergenerational continuity and horizontal knowledge sharing are powerful tools of resistance. Young peasants have the determination to dismantle existing extractive systems, guard our peasant and native seeds and cool the planet.

We do not only resist. We are here together with tools in hand ready to shape our collective future, propelling our societies towards a vision of hope for humanity with food sovereignty, social justice, equity, and solidarity. Together, the youth of La Via Campesina will keep changing the world. In realizing our collective dream our determination is unbreakable.

Unity in diversity, youth peasants change the world!


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