NEW YORK, MAY 14 2009 – Social and environmental organizations reacted positively to proposals by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, during the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in New York. Schutter’s proposals strongly echo the new production model that La Vía Campesina and Friends of the Earth International have been promoting for years.
The surprising proposals of the UN Special Rapporteur include the right of peoples to access land and to define their own food policies, as well as the principles that the government should support the least protected (including rural) people and implement production models that do not contribute to climate change.
In a statement released on Tuesday, La Vía Campesina, a network of peasant organizations from around the world, and environmental federation Friends of the Earth International called for a sustainable and egalitarian production and consumption model; the dismantling of corporate power and international financial institutions, and the rejection of false solutions to combat global hunger and poverty. Moreover, they called for a collective defense of the right of peoples to access land, seeds and water, and a push for agrarian reform.
The organizations welcomed the UN Rapporteur’s statements that:
“Increasing agricultural production must go hand in hand with increasing the incomes of the poorest, particularly small-scale farmers, and switching to modes of production which do not contribute to climate change.”
In addition, the new model must consider “how to help the world feed itself” rather than “how to feed the world”.
La Vía Campesina and Friends of the Earth International are calling for food sovereignty, the right of peoples to sufficient, nutritious, healthy food that is produced in an ecologically and culturally appropriate way. This implies the right of peasants and small-scale farmers to produce food for themselves and their communities. The organizations believe that small farmers and craft fishermen must have a central role in any strategy aimed at solving hunger and poverty, through agroecological and organic production systems instead of intensive industrial agriculture.
Both the peasant and environmental organizations decry current land takeovers for agrofuel production, animal feed, tree plantations to produce pulp and paper, and wood and mining projects. They are calling for the rights of farmers, indigenous people, fishermen and small farmers to access land. Their statement also highlights the importance of resisting and dismantling the power of transnational corporations, institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, and the trade agreements promoted by the US and the EU. All of these are main drivers in the industrial production model of agribusiness, which aims for profits above feeding people.
Finally, La Vía Campesina and Friends of the Earth International believe that sustainability is impossible if the right of peoples to recover, defend, reproduce, exchange, improve and grow their own seeds is not recognized. “Seeds must be the heritage of peoples in service of humankind”.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
La Via Campesina
In USA: (202) 543-5675 (office) Dena Hoff (Member of the International Coordinating Committee of La Vía Campesina): firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Earth International
In Uruguay: Martin Drago (Friends of the Earth International): (+5982) 9022355/9082730 – email@example.com
In Nigeria: Nnimmo Bassey (Friends of the Earth International):+234-8037274395 – firstname.lastname@example.org