From November 7th to November 18th, 2016, the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Marrakech, Morocco. It is there that the 196 signatories to the Paris Agreement will decide upon steps to implement the Agreement that they adopted in December 2015. Peasants and small-scale farmers from Via Campesina will be in Marrakech for the duration of the Conference; they will draw attention to the disastrous effects that application of the Agreement could have, both on peasant agriculture and on the climate.
Approximately 40 people, from Morocco and all over the world, the majority of which are youth, will make up the Via Campesina delegation in Marrakech. The international peasant movement has decided to hold a training course on climate justice for its membership, with a focus on young people, from November 8th to November 12th. Some close allies from NGOs and social movements have also been invited to participate. It will serve as a great opportunity for Via Campesina to strengthen its links with small-scale farmers organizations from North African and Middle Eastern countries and to better understand the reality of peasant agriculture in that region. This decision is a clear way of stating that forward-looking solutions to the climate crisis are in the hands of young peasants and small-scale food providers whose farming practices reflect their interest in agroecology and peasant agriculture.
Many multinational corporations see COP 22 as an opportunity to further introduce carbon sequestration initiatives to the North African and Middle Eastern countries that have been particularly affected by climate change—with increased greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the current intensive model of production. For this reason, the Via Campesina delegation will be available throughout the COP to present an alternative vision. The delegates will explain that the failure to attack the climate crisis at its roots—especially regarding the use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other inputs in agriculture—constitutes a serious threat to food sovereignty and to the survival of countless farming families. They will give testimonies about peasant practices that help to preserve and regenerate forests and are an important counter to the destruction done by multinational corporations who plant monoculture for biofuels and other purposes.
The delegates will also explain the risk of increasing land grabbing, a phenomenon that is expanding widely. There is tacit support for land grabbing in the text of last December’s agreement, which reduces agriculture to a ‘land use sector’ in order to highlight its potential for capturing carbon.
Payment for Ecosystem Services, REDD, REDD+, and their spin-off programs such as climate-smart agriculture , together with the Paris Agreement, are underpinned with an approach that places the commercial and financial interests of multinational corporations and the world economy ahead of respect for human rights. It is encouraging that the International Criminal Court in The Hague has recently recognised that human rights violations involving environmental destruction and, in particular, illegal dispossession of land fall within the domain of crimes against humanity. In Marrakech, the Via Campesina will again task itself with denouncing the false solutions and initiatives which can more properly be considered crimes against Humanity than commitments to finding a solution to the climate crisis. The Via Campesina will ensure that the voice of its youth delegation is heard, and that the solutions that it proposes are evaluated in a way that is commensurate with their importance and effectiveness, rather than being treated as marginal.
Agenda of the Via Campesina delegation:
– On November 6th, La Via Campesina will take part to a press conference organized by the members of the Democratic Network to Accompany COP 22 (Réseau démocratique pour l’accompagnement de la COP22).
– From November 8th to November 12th, there will be a seminar on climate justice and the struggles for climate justice in North Africa and the Middle East.
– On November 12th, there will be a Field Visit in the nearby of Agadir on water and land access issues.
– On November 13th, La Via Campesina, together with the FNSA (Fédération Nationale du Secteur Agricole du Maroc), will take part in the large international march for Climate Justice organised by the members of the Democratic Network to Accompany COP 22 (Réseau démocratique pour l’accompagnement de la COP22).
Contact for Press:
Hakech Mohamed: 00 212.691.008.705