VII International Conference: Youth Assembly Declaration

We, youth of La Via Campesina, united in our IV International Youth Assembly, have gathered in Euskal Herria, Basque Country to strengthen our movement for Food Sovereignty. We are peasants, fisher folk and indigenous peoples from Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, representing organizations from 47 countries. We came together to exchange ideas, develop strategies and raise the voice of youth.

The struggles of the youth are a reflection of the global political context in which we are particularly affected. The global crisis has economic, social, political and cultural dimensions. We are facing an accelerating attack on democracy by capitalism. We experience structural violence and the criminalisation of our social movements and struggles. Increasing numbers of environmental and peasant activists are being targeted and murdered. We suffer forced migrations due to war, climate change and oppressive economic and social conditions. Our resources (land and territories, seeds, marine and water resources, etc.) are grabbed by extractive industries, including agribusiness, mining activities and the renewable energy sector (hydroelectric plants, solar farms, etc.). The labour of youth and migrants is undervalued and brutally exploited.

Patriarchy and age discrimination restrict our visibility and participation in decision-making processes. Mainstream capitalist media continue to propagate the false notion that there is no future in the agrarian sector, and that prosperity is only found in formal, urban employment.

Land and territories are now seen as commodities, exploited by speculative investment and land grabbing, which results in high costs and limited availability. This restricts the ability of youth to access land, especially young women. At the same time, the harsh realities and low returns in agriculture make it difficult for youth to prosper on the land. Land grabbing by transnational capital for industrial investments, energy production, extractivism and development is commonplace. The situation is further aggravated by the severe and differentiated impacts of climate change.

Combined, these processes are pushing young peasants to migrate and leave rural areas. Young people are robbed of their opportunity and responsibility to play a meaningful role in nourishing people and Mother Earth. The countryside has an ageing population and this has direct and urgent consequences to the present and future of Humanity.

We struggle for the democratization of our societies and full participation of youth in political and decision-making processes. We must ensure that within our own organizations and movement that youth are able to develop leadership skills. We need to promote strong public policies including Integral and Popular Agrarian Reform to ensure that the youth has the right to stay on the land.

We urge the UN to adopt the Declaration of Peasant Rights, affirming our universal right as youth to land, seeds, self-determination and food sovereignty.

We condemn the assassinations, injustices and massacres of patriarchal capitalism.We declare that we are in solidarity with all oppressed peoples struggling for peace and dignity.

Based on our experience, we reject claims that free trade increases the welfare of our society. We demand that agriculture be excluded from trade agreements and that the voice of young peasants is recognised in all related decision-making processes.

Peasant agroecology is the road to food sovereignty and the solution to the global multi-layered crisis. Our agroecology is a political vision, a way of life and a source of knowledge coming from our ancestors, and we reject any co-optation of the term by agribusiness. We have created in our movement agroecological processes and schools that are growing throughout the world with a wide range of successful experiences. We reaffirm that agroecology training should be integral, comprehensive and bring together technical, political and ideological visions including critical communication skills and methodological tools. The campesino-to-campesino methodology used in our agroecology schools is a successful and important instrument to share information and strengthen communication and training processes in our movement. We recognise this methodology respects the traditional knowledges of our territories and peoples, such that we can transfer our knowledge between generations. We propose to expand and defend our agroecological training methodology and make it accessible throughout our movement and around the world.

We are working to bridge the divide between urban and rural youth. The struggles we face, although they may appear different, result from the same oppressive forces of global capital and power. We must include in our movement all youth who are practicing urban agriculture, trying to return to the land, building community food sovereignty or working for social justice in any capacity.

There is no food sovereignty or justice without feminism and equality of all peoples. We must recognize and respect diversity of all forms, including race, gender, sexuality and class.We will root out patriarchy and discrimination wherever it exists. We commit to the difficult work of evaluating ourselves and the ways in which we may perpetuate patriarchy and racism.

The struggle of Global Youth is not ours alone. We need to continue building solidarity and convergence amongst our struggles through the sharing of information and collective creation of knowledge.

We, the youth of La Via Campesina, will harness our rich diversity in culture, geography, identity and language to continue to strengthen our movement through constant struggle and active mobilization.

We reaffirm our struggle for land, territories and our collective right to the resources required to practice peasant agroecology as a way of life. We reaffirm our capacity, commitment and right to fulfil our essential role in building Food Sovereignty. The seeds we sow in the present will feed us in the future. The land is fertile and ready.

We invest in the peasant youth, sowing present to harvest future!

Publié par La Via Campesina sur dimanche 16 juillet 2017

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