With Rights and in Democracy, we will continue building Social and Climate Justice!

Communique: La Via Campesina – COP 25

(Harare, November 29, 2019) Convinced that with rights and in democracy, we will continue building social and climate justice, La Via Campesina calls for action in Madrid and Santiago in the context of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 25. We unite our voice with that of the Chilean People in their mass mobilizations against President Sebastián Piñera and his neoliberal extractivist policies, demanding nothing less than a new Constitution. Moreover, we condemn the State of Chile’s brutal violence and its attempt to continue its ‘presidency’ of the COP 25 while unilaterally renouncing its responsibilities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

The fact that COP 25 was transferred from Santiago de Chile to Madrid only serves to strengthen our firm belief that there is only one way to ensure Food Sovereignty and Social and Climate Justice: full democracy and an inviolable respect for human, peasant and indigenous peoples’ rights, and the rights of all those who fight and resist.  This is why the People’s Summit in Santiago is still on and why the Social Summit on Climate is now being organized for Madrid. La Via Campesina will be mobilized in both of these spaces of solidarity and exchange, working alongside peoples and youth from throughout the world fighting the capitalist system.

For years now, La Via Campesina has denounced the co-option of the UNFCCC by transnational corporations and the governments that represent their interests. The numerous contradictions of the Paris Agreement (COP 21) – including its non-binding nature and inability to overcome the logic of markets – are a direct result of this co-option. This is also true of COP 25, where mechanisms of ‘international cooperation’ are set to be defined so that ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ can be met. In other words, market mechanisms will be sought that allow certain countries – and their transnational corporations – to keep polluting to the detriment of the climate and our rights.

In 2018 and 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed what our peoples and organizations have been saying for some time: the climate crisis has already hit Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas; agribusinesses has played a major part in creating the crisis; and we must take urgent action to completely transform our societies!  We are already witnessing multiple examples of the climate crisis: Cyclone Idai in Mozambique; the flooding of Karnataka and Maharastra in India; heatwaves of over 45° C that have devastated Europe and North America; and the burning of the Amazon in South America. 

La Via Campesina believes firmly that the climate should not change. Instead, action must be taken without delay for a complete turnaround, changing the capitalist system that exploits, pollutes and uses up our commons, which are the heritage of peoples throughout the world. This urgent and much needed transformation must be implemented through a just transition and will only be possible if the rights of peasants, indigenous peoples and all those working in rural areas are fully respected. This means ending all forms of violence against women and diverse people; and democratically controlling land, water, territories and other commons. 

Peasant communities across the world already feed the majority of people (70% of the world’s population) with minimal access to agricultural resources (25%). Meanwhile, monocrop agribusinesses exporters destroy biodiversity, cause illness, displace communities, drive global warming and massacre those who stand up against them. La Via Campesina categorically rejects all false solutions to the climate crisis, including carbon markets (especially on farmlands), REDD and REDD+, agrofuels, GMOs and the so-called ‘climate-smart agriculture’, not to speak of the extremely dangerous geoengineering. We want food sovereignty based on peasant agroecology, social and climate justice through a just transition and respect for the majorities. This is what we work for in our respective countries, day in and day out.

History has taught us that solutions come from the peoples. At COP25, we insist that our so-called “representatives” assume their responsibilities instead of simply serving the interests of capital. 

There is no better example of the relationship between rights, democracy and climate justice than the current criminal coup d’état in Bolivia. In the Plurinational State of Bolivia, an anti-democratic opposition party, alongside the financial elite and transnational powers – with the complicity of the Bolivian army and police – aim to impose total privatization. They are doing this with guns, lies and censorship. The indigenous and peasant majority population of Bolivia was an honourable partner in the work that led to the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants. Now, the doors of democracy and rights are being slammed in their faces. La Via Campesina demands an End to the Coup d’état in Bolivia!

From Santiago to Madrid to La Paz, and every corner of the planet, we will stand up to tell the world: With Rights and in Democracy, we will continue building Social and Climate Justice!

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