Young Peasants from around the world kick off the Fourth International Youth Assembly in Basque Country

The Fourth International Youth Assembly of La Via Campesina kicked off on 16th of July, with nearly 100 young peasants from 47 countries echoing the slogan “ Invest in the Peasant Youth: Sowing Present to Harvest Future”.

During the two days of this assembly (16-17 July), the participants will reflect on the importance of youth in strengthening this global peasant movement for food sovereignty and peasant agroecology.

The assembly opened with a mistica (a cultural act) prepared by young peasants from Europe highlighting peasants’ identity, by using typical tools used in the countryside and instruments such as the Basque horn that is a symbol of local culture.

#LaViaCampesina – The Youth Assembly started today 16th July. Young people from all the LVC regions converged in Derio…

Publié par La Via Campesina sur dimanche 16 juillet 2017

The delegates attending this once-in-four-years-gathering, come from all the regions of La Via Campesina.

On day one, the atmosphere in the hall was electric, with people echoing slogans like – “the young people will fight to the end because the land belongs to us”, “ Let all young men and women build popular power”, “Central America united will never be defeated”, “Caribbean youth, with energy and enthusiasm, always has dreams” etc.

In order to help shape the content of the Fourth International Youth Assembly, participants explored questions such as: Why is the articulation of young people important for the peasant sector? What does youth participation mean for the organization? What can we do to improve this participation? Several responses came from the intense debates and discussions that followed.

While speaking on the training needs of peasants, and to promote peasant agroecology as a way of life, Alazne Intxauspe of EHNE Bizkaia said, “We want change in rural areas, but we also need urban inhabitants to be involved in this process”

In the afternoon the participants worked on four subjects: Access to land, Peasants’ Rights, Training in agroecology, Climate justice and Migration. Concrete political proposals included strengthening alliances between farmers and fishers, pastoralists, and rural and urban workers. There was also a proposal to build a collective campaign about migration, specifically between Africa and Europe. With regard to agroecological training, it was emphasised that technical training has to be accompanied by political training. It was agreed that young farmers should receive support so they can be heard inside and outside the movement.

The Assembly will generate a final document including the conclusions of the debate among the participants, and this will be presented during the General Conference from July 19-22. The young peasants know that they face great challenges; achieving real youth participation is not easy, however in the words of Paula Gioia from the German organization AbL “Young people have a great opportunity – it is called La Via Campesina! Young people are not just the future, we are the present as well – if we have no present, then there is no future.”

The Assembly also extended solidarity to local struggles

On 16 July, the Movements in defense of the Land in Euskal Herria met with the youth of La Via Campesina, after a two-day “March in Defense of Food Sovereignty and the Earth.”

In a statement issued they said, “We identify with La Via Campesina and its fight for Food Sovereignty, and that is why we organized this mass march to denounce mega projects such as the high speed train, high voltage power lines, the extraction of gas and to promote the local food system”.

Most of the food that is consumed daily in Euskal Herria travels an average of 2,500 km before it reaches the table. The region only produces a third of the food that it consumes.

It is paradoxical because in the 1,200 hectares occupied by the Basque Y, 60,000 units of fruits and vegetables could be grown. However, the ‘managers’ of the Basque Business Party has rendered the land useless by cementing it in and thus sealing off future use for youth.

This article is prepared by La Via Campesina – Communications Collective

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