This 17th April, the International Day of Action for Peasant Struggles, we commemorate the 26 years of the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre of peasants in Brazil and resist the criminalization, oppression and repression of our struggles for life. On this day, we also commence a moment to celebrate 30 years of building collective struggles, hope and solidarity in service of humanity.
We, La Via Campesina, the international peasant voice of the millions of peasants, women and men, youth, small and medium-size farmers, family farmers, landless, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from 182 local and national organisations in 81 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas refuse to disappear but continue grow in strength. Through persistence, perseverance and hope, we have harvested major victories: food sovereignty recognised and adopted by some countries, agroecology recognised and supported by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other People working in the Rural Areas (UNDROP) adopted by UN General Assembly. We continue to occupy important multilateral spaces of global food governance to influence debate and contribute in support of food sovereignty, agroecology and popular agrarian reform.
We are alert to the current global context and the need to strengthen our struggle. The worsening geopolitical conflict as the liberal international order led by US collapses, the imperialist offensive against the masses and criminalisation of social movements. The corporate media are increasingly involved in the violation of democratic systems and human rights through censorship and surveillance.
Big corporations recently joined forces to capture of global multilateral food governance and climate change spaces in the United Nations. The ongoing conflicts and wars in Africa, Americas, Asia and Europe. The worsening climate crisis and health crisis due to COVID-19. All these have aggravated the suffering. Thus, we witness record high levels of poverty, hunger and inequalities globally and increased criminalisation for demanding social justice and dignity. Thus, millions of people are forced to abandon their territories and migrate to other countries, where some face more injustices.
We reject this neoliberal model that runs counter to our collective vision of harmony with nature, unity and peace. We affirm our commitment to continue to build democratic societies against imperialism. Over the last 30 years, together with our allies, we have been collectively building hope and solidarity through food sovereignty putting humanity, Mother Earth and social justice at the centre. We stand firm in internationalist solidarity with all who struggle for life, rights and dignity.
Last year, in 2021, we celebrated a quarter century of building of and pushing for food sovereignty and also initiated debate to critically reflect on our achievements, victories and propose actions for the future including participating in the Global Nyeleni Forum planned in 2023.
What do we need from governments and institutions to continue feeding the world?
- Implement a democratic and extensive agrarian reform which allows the peoples to have sovereignty over their natural resources and over their food on both the production and the distribution processes.
- Recognize the work we are already doing and promote successful examples of our ability to feed people. While we produce and exchange the majority of the world’s food, our markets are largely ignored in policy of governments and institutions. Trade is needed but a different kind, which does not exploit people, nature and benefits communities and not corporations.
- Scale out and up Peasant Agroecology as a solution to climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and soil fertility. Due to unsustainable industrial agricultural practices, we see a unique opportunity for agroecology as many countries want to transition to “sustainable farming methods” and reduce use of toxic agro-inputs.
- Implement UNDROP through creating a UN special procedure and mainstreaming the declaration in FAO, other Rome-based agencies in relation to food and agricultural policies, and also the UN Decade of Family Farming. This would allow referencing of UNDROP in policies to reshape and transform our societies.
How do we advance our struggles from La Via Campesina?
- Roll out massive training and awareness, among members, on UNDROP so that they lead the wide promotion of essential components of public policies in their countries in favour food sovereignty, agroecology and the recognition and respect of rights of peasants.
- Build and strengthen diversity and inclusiveness against violence and oppression. Embracing diversity is key to “Building the Movement to change the world”. Today our movement the youth, women, cultural and gender diversities (LGBTQI) are the majority and in leadership.
- Build Peasant and Popular Feminism to define and shape gender relations in our movement, and as a political tool against all forms of violence.
- Strengthen the Migrant and Waged Agricultural Workers’ Collective as a space to increase visibility to their issues.
- Advance work against the impunity of transnational corporations (TNCs) and contribute to the binding treaty process to regulate TNCs
- To understand the complex and fluid world and adapt our strategies, we are:
– Building new alliances and strengthening the existing ones to learn and share experiences through collective analysis and formation, and defend a future based on food sovereignty.
-Increasing and strengthening political and technical formation. We will promote popular peasant methods and technologies that engage women and youth in the defense of rural livelihoods. Again, we should master new ways of communication in service of humanity to reach many people defending their rights and in support of food sovereignty.