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In July, La Via Campesina International will hold its 7th International Conference, the movement’s highest decision-making forum, an extremely significant event in the current context. Real World Radio will be present in Derio, Basque Country, covering the activities.
With 164 organizations in 73 countries of five continents, it is the largest peasant organization that has ever existed. Unai Aranguren, of EHNE-Bizkaia, said according to the website of the peasant organization: “we are not ‘small producers’ but rather those who feed the majority of the world’s population with healthy food, provide jobs, health, culture and enhance biodiversity. Additionally, we resist in our places, giving life and culture to our peoples, despite the hostile policies that we face. We are great, not small.” Some 70% of the food consumed globally is produced by peasants, herders, artisan fisherfolk and urban gardens, despite these sectors controlling only a quarter of the planet’s land.
Peasants, fisherfolk, and herders have suffered as their contributions to feeding humanity, generating employment and sustaining cultures have gone unnoticed. La Via Campesina has already changed this situation and will continue, as Unai Aranguren says, “feeding our peoples and building a movement to change the world.” Food is a task for each and every person on the planet, as is providing support to the building of a global movement.
As part of the preparations for the 7th International Conference, the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations, representative of La Via Campesina in Latin America, held its 2nd Continental Assembly, a space for political building and discussion.
Over 80 Latin American and Caribbean organizations participated in this Assembly, which took place in Colombia. Francisca Rodríguez, of Anamuri (the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women of Chile), shares her enthusiasm for an over two-decade long building process which is taking important decisions, which are the result of debates, experiences and struggles throughout the years. A process that Francisca knows first-hand, because she is the founder of CLOC and Via Campesina International.
Francisca considers that this Assembly of CLOC-VC was extremely significant because they agreed to walk together, not only against the things they reject, but also in favor of the project of society they want to build: a peasant, popular and socialist society, with an alliance between the countryside and the city.
La Via Campesina´s International Conferences are held every four years and are the movement’s highest decision-making forums with internal discussions for a growing movement that represents over 200 million peasants, small and medium size producers, landless people, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from all over the world.
For a week in Derio, Basque Country, representatives will discuss local experiences as well as international processes such as the Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas and also the negotiations for an international and legally binding instrument against the abuse of multinational corporations in the UN Human Rights Council.
The different regions of LVC will also present their struggles, such as the European region’s struggle for a new Common Agricultural Policy and reform against the concentration of land; the struggle in Africa, for seed sovereignty; or the Latin American struggle for popular agrarian reform and against corporate interest. Asian regions will present their campaigns against free trade agreements (FTAs), GMOs and the challenges faced in some areas due to the rising sea levels caused by climate change.
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