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2 de octubre de 2014 |

Conclusions after the Sixth National High Mountains and Lands Conference

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The Sixth High Mountains and Lands Conference ended on September 28th, 2014 in Pasca municipality, Cundinamarca, a town in Sumapaz mountains, a territory of historical agrarian struggles in Colombia. Over 550 inhabitants of the rural and urban areas participated in the event, coming from different peasant, indigenous, environmental, artistic, academic, student and popular sectors of Colombia. They, together with delegations from some Andean countries such as Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, met to share their views on the different threats and conflicts and to articulate proposals and actions for the defense of high mountains.

In the morning of the last day, national and international communities shared their work and projects for the defense and protection of Andean mountains. They shared the events, products, audiovisual materials and publications of the different regions.
This space included a mix of experiences and proposals for the articulation of the population around the resistance and protection of high mountains.

The event ended with the reading of the declaration of the Sixth Conference, which highlights the importance of understanding high mountains, rivers, high-Andean forests, communities and all living beings that inhabit them as an inseparable whole.

This view allows to articulate the territories to oppose land grabbing and the financialization of natural resources in these ecosystems, practices that are supported by governmental policies that use discourses favorable to the exploitation of territories with development models based on aggressive agricultural practices, monoculture plantations, tree plantations and mining-energy projects.

This has destroyed the life of mountains and their inhabitants, who have also been displaced from their lands and have been forced to change their livelihoods, impoverishing them and displacing them to the cities.

The participants also called the attention to understanding that food is grown and water is available for most of the population of the country thanks to high-Andean mountains. To exploit and destroy them puts at risk the food and water sovereignty of entire cities.

The declaration states that the so-called "green economy" promoted by transnational corporations and deeply linked to multilateral institutions has turned nature into a commodity. It turns environmental functions into "environmental services". Meanwhile some governments have implemented different legal mechanisms, which through laws and projects have allowed for the looting of high mountains. The purchase of lands by State environmental institutions, the acquisition of express licenses and the amendment of decree 2820 on environmental licenses are some of the strategies used to benefit the concentration and control of territories by landowners and corporations.
This, in the Colombian case, for instance, is supported by a strong military influence that guards these corporate interests and laws.

Recognizing the threats and conflicts faced by high mountains, the participants of the conference stated that:

They reject the extractivist model; they commit to consolidate a national movement in defense of water and territories; they urge to promote agricultural production forms that are environmentally sustainable and develop community processes in defense of high mountains.

They also support the initiatives in defense of high mountains, such as Sumapaz, Santurban, el Almorzadero, Tasco, Pisba, Provincia del Sugamuxi, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Antioquia, Tolima, Huila and in Sierra Nevada y the Orinoquía departments that benefit from their waters.

They also highlight the importance of supporting and articulating all processes of agrarian organizations, agri-food areas, peasant areas, protected areas, community councils, inter-ethnical territories and other processes that exist in the country to join efforts and have stronger results, such as the National Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and Popular Summit.

(CC) 2014 Radio Mundo Real


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