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By Jonathan Leaning
February 22nd, 2012
From all corners of the world, small farmers, indigenous peoples and human rights activists have been percolating solutions upward to advance their rights to land, water and food. With 2011 behind us, Grassroots International celebrates some of the victories and inroads that took place last year, all with funding from Grassroots International and our supporters. Below are just some of the highlights.
February 1st, 2012
As we approach 20 years since the first United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change occurred in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the global impact of our broken food system continues to mount. In fact, the industrial food system – from production to deforestation to transport to waste – is responsible for 44 to 57 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. The article below by our colleagues at GRAIN shines a light on the hidden link between the industrial food system and global warming.
As UN negotiators sat in their air conditioned rooms during the last official day of the United Nations climate negotiations, I had a chance to visit a community in Pateque, Mozambique. I spoke with members of the National Peasants Union (UNAC), a member organization of the Via Campesina. They described the ways they have been impacted by climate change: the summer is hotter than they can ever remember, and they showed me large tracts of empty land where the sun had burned many of their crops (including tomatoes and cucumbers).
A critical aspect of fostering progressive social movements is a funder’s ability to monitor and evaluate (M&E) the social change process, while learning from partners on the ground as well as from each other. Over 28 years of accompanying progressive social movements, Grassroots International, an international development and human rights funder dedicated to supporting social movements in the Global South, continues to hone its ability to monitor and evaluate social change. From Grassroots’ perspective, a strong monitoring and evaluation process is critical to strengthening the grantmaking process and equally as important in building relationships with partners and grantees. M&E strengthens grantmaking in a number of ways, including:
Right now, government representatives from around the world are gathered in Durban, South Africa, for the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference – better known as the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17). Historically, these closed-door meetings are where some of the world’s largest polluting countries – including the United States – discuss (and occasionally adopt) global climate policy. At last year’s COP16 meeting in Cancun, Mexico, these governments negotiated the details of polluting and land-grabbing projects like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and other carbon-trading schemes, which are fundamentally about profit – not forests, not people, and not global w
Selingué, Mali—Early morning on day one of the first peasant-organized international conference to stop land grabbing held in Nyéléni, Mali, delegates from more than 30 countries took their seats for the opening ceremony. Many fumbled with the bulky and crackling radios that would provide simultaneous translation, while a small group of women from across Africa gathered in the center of the open-air conference hall, their feet sinking into the sand. In a long-standing tradition of the Via Campesina, the global peasant movement, the women kicked off the events with a mistica—a ceremony intended to depict socio-political struggles and incite debate.
Nyéléni, Mali – 19 November 2011
Effective agrarian reform, according to the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform (GCAR) includes “ a bundle of policies that ensure that agricultural land is distributed to landless peasants and smallholders swiftly and equitably.” Such redistribution is necessary to combat growing hunger and landlessness worldwide. In fact, nearly one billion people around the world are now suffering from hunger and malnutrition – about half of which live in smallholder farming households. This crisis of world hunger is set to deepen as livelihood resources such as land and water continue to be transferred from such groups to the financially powerful in ever larger areas and longer timeframes.