Mass farmers organizations of South Asia met in
Kathmandu on the 3, 4 August to decide their future
course of action on climate change as well as their responses to the official
government policies. The movements present were Bhartiya Kisan Union and
Karnataka Raitha Rajya Sangha from India,
Bangladesh Krishok Federation and Bangladesh Kishani Sabha from Bangladesh, All Nepal Peasants Federation from Nepal, MONLAR from Sri Lanka among others. All are
members of the global small farmers movement - La Via Campesina.
All farmers of south
are grappling with problems of drought, foods, erratic rainfall and other
climatic occurrences which are leading to serious livelihood insecurity for
farmers; many are being forced to migrate from their villages in search of
alternate jobs. The current agrarian
crisis and farmers suicide epidemic will be greatly exacerbated due to climate
change as well as increased refugees and resource conflicts, poverty and
violence. In agriculture there will be higher pest attacks, reduced yields,
lower quality produce as well as the climatic problems. It is absolutely
important for south Asians as the most vulnerable region to be prepared to deal
with such issues in a democratic and peaceful manner.
Farmers movements were disappointed with the not just lack of serious policy of the governments but their open support to false solutions to climate change that are infact increasing carbon emissions. In agriculture, the government is promoting an undemocratic model of solutions – laboratory created crops, GM crops which have a national people's opposition, top down model of extension, no effort to mitigate emissions from industrial style agriculture which is contributing upto 30 % of emissions. There is no value given to the real solutions – i.e. farmers traditional knowledge, native seeds which have withstood the test of time in adaption to stress situations. The government should e working to phase out green revolution chemical and industrial model of farming and start promoting ecological modes of farming by providing incentives to ecological farmers and also training , credit, market and other services. There are many examples of successful models of ecological farming in
India and these need to be scaled
The Indian government is especially trying o hide behind is poor in the name of development for the poor but it is not carrying out development for the poor – the development model of India is based on elite consumerism, industrialization, conversion of agricultural lands and dispossession of the poor. Resource conflicts over water, lands are already ongoing all over the country.
the south Asian farmers movements demanded in their declaration for all developed countries to agree to binding emissions cuts, a payment of their ecological debt to developing countries, a promotion of ecological farming for growing food to end hunger, land for landless and women and an end to land grabbing for elite interests as well as for keeping the World Bank and Asian Development Bank out of climate finance which is an institution that has promoted a development model of consumerism which is the problem in the first place.
La Via Campesina South Asia
Climate Change Declaration in Kathmandu
August 4, 2012
Small Farmers Feed the World and Cool the Planet!
We peasants organizations of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neo-liberal market system in favor of the common people. The fight against climate change is a fight against corporate led capitalism which is aggravating landlessness, dispossession, hunger and poverty. We are here to declare that direct action by the people is the only remaining weapon of the common people of our region to end all forms of oppression.
Governments are wasting time discussing false market solutions to the climate crisis. We can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their historic responsibility to make real emission cuts and push for more false and market based solutions to the climate crisis which, in last two decades, has failed to produce any results.
We are gathered here in Kathmandu at a time when the climate discussions after 17 years of negotiations have become watered down to market mechanisms and a voluntary pledge system. Rio+20 has further launched the so called green economy which is actually a greed economy attempting to commodify all of nature instead of stopping its profit induced exploitation. In the climate agreements, polluters are moving away from the mandated program of working towards legally binding commitments to cut emissions. Developed countries are working hard to escape their historical responsibility of paying their climate debt and are pushing for a green climate fund controlled by private capital and the World Bank. Finally, there is a push to include agriculture in the negotiations, treating agriculture as a carbon sink rather than a source of food and livelihood. For La Via Campesina, with this trend of negotiations, it is better to have no deal than a bad deal that condemns humanity and our planet to a future of climate catastrophe.
We are now at the worst moment for agriculture, small and marginal farmers and for nature. The impacts of climate change are steadily worsening, leading to harvest failures, destruction of habitats and homes, hunger and famine and loss of lives. Corporate capitalism is misusing this situation to push their false solutions for profit. The future of humanity and the planet, hence, is in critical danger and if these false solutions push through, it will be a catastrophe for nature, future generations and the whole planet.
We, therefore, demand from the SAARC countries and especially India which has to take a greater responsibility in our region for:
1. A legally binding agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed by
all governments responsible for those emissions. Developed countries should commit to at least 50% domestic emission reductions based on 1990 levels, without conditions and excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms. High growth countries like India and China must also take responsibility and make binding mitigation commitments. They hide behind the poor using their development as an excuse to pollute and then carry out a predatory development that dispossesses the same poor of their lands and resources to benefits elite consumerism and private profit.
2. Comprehensive genuine land reform including land and land titles for the landless. Land
grabbing by elite interests and private corporations is growing rapidly and violently and needs to be stopped. Occupations initiated by the landless themselves to grow food and for a livelihood deserve the fullest support from governments as a solution to climate change. Womens access to land must be a prioritized by targeted redistribution.
3. Governments must support small family farmer agriculture and agro-ecology. Small farmers feed the world and cool the planet – they need fair prices for their produce, interest free credit, subsidies, guaranteed markets, insurance against disasters, support to practice self reliant ecological agricultural methods and traditional farming methods. Small farmer agriculture needs support for food sovereignty of our nations. Stop the industrial farming green revolution model that promotes pollution and climate change.
4. Constitutional recognition of food sovereignty and rights for peasants, landless farmers, farm laborers and support to indigenous farming.
5. Recognition of the rights of dalits, women, youth peasants.
6. Reparation rather than loans paid to the governments of the Global South as part of the climate debt owed by industrialized countries of the Global North.
7. Keep the World Bank out of climate finance. All funds for climate finance must be public and be free from the control of the World Bank and private corporations. World bank, other IFIs such as Asian Development and private corporations are recognized as the main drivers of the current unsustainable economic and development model which is causing climate change. They are part of the problem and cannot be construed as the solution.
8. All adaptation measures to climate change to include full participation and consultation
with local communities.
9. Our carbon is not for sale. We demand an end to the proposed inclusion of agriculture as a carbon sink in the negotiations and all proposals of market mechanisms surrounding agriculture. Agriculture is not for sale for carbon credits – it is for feeding humanity.
We as La Via Campesina and the people of the world have the real solutions to the climate crisis and we call on all governments to heed them before it is too late. We call for building alliances between social movements and popular struggles. The world’s people will overcome the nexus between governments and multinational corporations that is strangling our planet.
Food Sovereignty is the solution!
Peasant agriculture is not for sale!
Globalize the struggle, Globalize hope!