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By Simone Adler
February 11th, 2016
Who we are fighting for is every single peasant farmer – more than 200 million – on the planet. People are eager to join hands in building a global voice.
Transnational corporations are pushing policies in African countries for industrial farming and the use of GMO [genetically modified] seeds, while grabbing our land and [stealing] our natural resources. No one should come and tell us how to produce food.
In Via Campesina, we believe in controlling our land and seeds and producing the healthy food that we want, the way we want.
By Sara Mersha
February 2nd, 2016
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a potentially disastrous “trade” deal, fundamentally undermines economic and social equality, environmental protection, and human rights. With Congress poised to vote on the Obama-touted deal, it’s time to expose the false promises of the TPP.
The final TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive negotiations, during which 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access and Congress, the public and press were shut out.
Like thousands of people committed to climate justice, I traveled to Paris last month to participate in the historic events surrounding the UN climate change meetings (COP-21). There I connected with Grassroots International’s team – including key staff members and representatives from partner organizations from Brazil, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Palestine – and joined in the activities in the ‘climate action zone’.
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
After two years of deliberation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently issued two judgements declaring the State of Honduras responsible for the violation of collective ownership rights and the lack of judicial protection in a case brought before them by a Grassroots International partner. The ruling extends protection to Garifuna (Afro-descendant) and indigenous people across the country.
In keeping with the tenet of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, the Court stated that “Regarding the right to consultation and cultural identity, the Court considered that the consultation must be applied prior to any exploration project that may affect the traditional lands of the indigenous and tribal communities."
Despite all the fanfare, the bottom line from the Paris Agreement is that emissions from fossil fuels will continue at levels that endanger life on the planet, and the trading schemes the agreement promotes will lead to an increase in natural resource grabs.
While government dignitaries engaged in UN climate negotiations (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the COP21) we had a chance to participate in 10 days of powerful strategy sessions and actions for climate justice in Paris alongside many of Grassroots International’s Global South partners. We will tell you more about movement proposals and accomplishments soon, but let's start by reviewing the official agreement.
Last year I had the honor of travelling to the West Bank with a delegation of 15 donors, activists and organizers all committed to winning the recognition of basic human rights in Palestine. We spent an afternoon in the village of Al Hadidiya in the Northern Jordan Valley. There Abu Saqer and his large family live. Abu Saqer was eloquent as he shared the reasons why he has worked with Grassroots International’s partner Stop the Wall to form the Jordan Valley Council--a project Grassroots supports to unite Palestinian farmers and herders who are under constant threat of demolition in Israel’s “Relocation Plan.”
One of the common themes coming from the streets of the Climate Justice Summit in Paris (and not heard in the offical government negotiations) is a clear linking of capitalism's insatiable appetite and climate disruption. Two Grassroots International partners offered these reflections.
Food sovereignty can transform local, national, and regional markets to support countries’ domestic economies and allow us to create wealth, both in production and knowledge.
Building Global Food Sovereignty
Current international debates on feeding the world center on financial viability and making global agriculture profitable. Production is oriented towards international markets, which compromise the food sovereignty of many countries.
No country can survive orienting itself towards international markets because producers don’t decide the price. States give money to banks to support agroindustry, which is exploiting the population.