Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Land grabs video protest to World Bank

Leading environmental campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth International and La Via Campesina have released two videos showing how projects financed by World Bank funds have allegedly led to African land grabs.

The videos, posted on YouTube, feature personal stories of how land privatisation and corporate policies backed by the World Bank, have caused Uganda and Mali farmers to lose their land and threaten local communities.

The short films, issued by Friends of the Earth International and the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, have been released at the same time as the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty that is being held in Washington this week (from April 23-26).

The Mali film and Uganda film document various human rights infringements and environmental damage caused by land grabs after the locals have been thrown off their land.

The films show the effect that massive increases in palm oil projects are having in Africa, where up to 227 million hectares have been bought or leased over the last few years to produce food and fuel mostly for developing countries.

The scheme is supposed to promote agriculture through foreign investment, but instead it has destroyed villages, prevented locals from finding food and caused hundreds of families to move, the campaigners say.

In Uganda, the World Bank is alleged to have caused a large expansion of the palm oil industry by providing millions in funding, to the detriment of food and forestry. Almost 10,000 hectares have been planted on islands near Lake Victoria with three times more proposed. Locals have also lost access to farm lands, according to the two organisations.

The World Bank conference involves governments, investors and large financial institutions in land governance issues. But the environmental groups claim that earlier World Bank policies of communal land rights being turned into private land titles, backing the buying land investment through private finance and providing policy support has set up the conditions for a massive land grab.

The voluntary scheme 'Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment' (RAI), backed by the World Bank has been criticised for being toothless and powerless to stop the land grabbing.

La Via Campesina represents 200 million farmers worldwide and includes 150 local and national organisations in 70 countries.

Source:  Earth Times

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Creation of Latin American Alliance for Food Sovereignty

Conclusions of the 3rd Special Conference of the movements for Food Sovereignty

Francisca Rodriguez from the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (CLOC-VC) assesses the results of the Special Conference of the social movements for Food Sovereignty.

The Conference that ended on Sunday was considered a new landmark in the conceptualization of Food Sovereignty as a common platform that gathers peasant movements and groups of artisanal fisherfolk, pastoralists and indigenous people from the entire planet.

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a growing number of movements are getting closer to this concept, that does not only include food production models (agriculture, cattle farming, fisheries) but it encompasses aspects such as the tenure of natural goods for said production, and it its a truly political concept.

“We are many more”

In this way, Francisca Rodriguez, from Chile, said this conference meant the growing of the processes and highlighted the decision to turn the International Planning Committee (IPC) into a Continental Alliance for Food Sovereignty. The new name, in addition, would imply the broadening of member organizations in each country, decided the Conference.

The Anamuri leader (National Association or Rural and Indigenous Women) of Chile also highlighted the work by the organizations at the FAO Committee on World Food Security in the Civil Society Mechanism.

“The basis of all these victories has been the support, capacity building, mobilization, resistance and pressure”, said Francisca. “A very important alliance was created which will be a significant contribution for all social movements. Because the flag of Food Sovereignty is of the entire people, not just peasants".

But in addition, the movements are preparing for the Peoples Summit that will take place before the Rio+20 Summit: “we want governments to understand that we are not going to participate in the Rio Carnival”, said Francisca. “This is why we also contribute by creating alliances more determined than yesterday’s. Back then, we built them to know what we were against. Today we know what we are against: a system that is trying to greenwash everything while keeping their basis intact. They are trying to greenwash capital and blame us”, said Francisca in the video interview with Real World Radio.

Nace la alianza latinoamericana por SoberanĂ­a Alimentaria from Radio Mundo Real on Vimeo.