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Solidarity with the people affected by environmental disasters, especially with the “victims” of the building of dams, shale gas, grabbing, commodification and water scarcity and the widespread pollution, is part of La Via Campesina’s declaration at the Alternative World Water Forum.
La Via Campesina also expressed their solidarity with the “repressed” water activists and the families of the people murdered. The document ends in this way: “In defense of food sovereignty: Stop water grabbing”.
The Alternative World Water Forum took place from March 14-17, in Marseille, France, as a space built by social movements and organizations to expose the attempts by the 6th World Water Forum to control the resource. The World Water Forum is taking place in parallel to the Alternative Forum in the same city and is organized by the World Water Council and the World Bank.
Leaders of La Via Campesina from Turkey, Brazil, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Portugal, Italy, France and Mexico came to Marseille to participate in the activities of the alternative forum.
In their declaration at the end of the meeting, the peasants demanded respect to the right to water, “within the framework of food sovereignty". “The privatization and commodification of water and of any other common goods (land, seeds, knowledge, etc) are crimes against the planet and against humanity”, they state.
On March 14th, the movements celebrated a new edition of the World Day of Action against Dams. This struggle is directly linked to the defense of water as a free and public good. That’s why La Via Campesina highlighted the issue in their statement published on March 18th. “Large-scale dams and hydro-electric projects grab and sequester water, taking no account of the needs, traditional practices and opinions of local communities, and totally disregarding the protection of ecosystems”.
The peasant network believes that the commodification of water, coal and biodiversity, GMOs, nanotechnology and geoengineering are the “new proposals” of neoliberalism to respond to the crisis.“Green economy is a false solution to climate change and water scarcity”, they state.
When listing the main threats to water, La Via Campesina mentions
the agroindustrial production model. They denounce that this model, monocultures and the related agrichemical industry have polluted waters and put the health of local populations at risk. “We defend agro-ecological practices and small-scale and peasant agriculture that put into effect food sovereignty and contribute to the protection and sustainable use of water”.
La Via Campesina believes water should be managed in a public, democratic and sustainable way at local levels. "Public policies and laws related to water should recognize and respect this knowledge", they conclude.
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