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Via Campesina rejects REDD and carbon trading

Vía Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. It is a coalition of around 150 organisations, with an estimated 300 million members. Vía Campesina recently put out a statement about COP-16 in Cancún.

The statement rejects REDD, geoengineering (including biochar and genetically modified plants), all carbon trading mechanisms and rejects any participation of the World Bank in the management of funds and policies related to climate change. Here’s Vía Campesina’s position on REDD:

Defend land and forest rights: The REDD + initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) should be rejected. Protecting forests and reforesting degraded forests is an obligation of all governments that should be implemented without limiting the autonomy, the rights or the control of indigenous and peasant peoples over the land and their territories, and without serving as an excuse so that other countries and corporations continue contaminating and planting tree monocultures. Territorial and cultural rights of indigenous and peasant peoples should be explicitly recognized in any climate accord.”

Vía Campesina has been credited with being the first to use the term “food sovereignty” – it is one of Vía Campesina’s key issues. Dana Hoff, co-coordinator for North America for La Via Campesina, explains that

“Food sovereignty is about a system of agriculture where people get to decide their own food and agricultural policies in their own countries without being dictated by foundations or institutions like the WTO or the IMF or the World Bank or trade agreements. People decide what they’re going to eat, who’s going to produce it, what’s going to be produced. And more than that, it’s a whole life system that is sustainable, that respects Mother Earth, that respects human rights and the rights of people to live in dignity, to be well-fed, to be reasonably taken care of, have a decent standard of living. Everything that food sovereignty encompasses is human rights, women’s rights and education: everything that makes a good life and protects the planet.”

This short film gives a glimpse at some of Vía Campesina’s ideas and activities:

Vía Campesina’s statement is posted below in English and Spanish.

The people create thousands of solutions to confront climate change!
Thousands of Cancuns for climate justice!

La Via Campesina calls on social movements and all people to mobilize around the world

Social movements from around the world are mobilizing for the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

The COP 15 in Copenhagen demonstrated governments’ incapacity to tackle the root causes of the current climate chaos. At the very last moment, the US undemocratically pushed through the so called “Copenhagen accord”, in an attempt to move the debate out of the UN and the Kyoto promises and to favor even more voluntarily free market solutions.

The climate negotiations have turned into a huge market place. Developed countries, historically responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions are inventing all possible tricks to avoid reducing their own emissions. For example, the “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol allows countries to continue polluting and consuming as usual, while paying low prices supposedly so that developing countries reduce their emissions. What actually occurs is that companies profit doubly: to contaminate and to sell false solutions.

Monsanto tries to convince us that monoculture plantations of its GMO Roundup Ready soybeans qualify for carbon credits because they contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases that heat the planet by accumulating organic matter in the soil. Communities living nearby soy monoculture plantations are a living example of the mortal and destructive effects of these monocultures. Similar false arguments are used to sell carbon credits based on forest monocultures, agrofuel crops, or industrial animal production.

Many governments of developing countries, attracted by the potential profits, are betting on these false solutions and refusing to implement measures that effectively confront climate change, such as supporting sustainable peasant agriculture, orienting production towards internal markets, establishing effective energy saving policies for industry, etc.

We demand the application of thousands of people’s solutions to climate change

It is now time for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to embark on resolute policies to contribute to solve the climate chaos. Countries need to take strong and binding commitments to radically cut gas emissions and radically change their mode of production and consumption.

Climate change also is worsening the migration crisis. The droughts, the terrible floods caused by severe storms, water contamination, soil erosion and degradation, as well as other destructive impacts of the neoliberal environmental disaster, are bringing about the displacement of thousands of people, mainly women and ruined farmers, from their rural communities and forcing them towards the cities and the North in a desperate search for the means of survival for them and their families. It is estimated that 50 million people have been forced to migrate due to the effects of climate change. These “climate displaced people” have come to swell the ranks of the more than 200 million human beings, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), that today represent the worse crisis of migration that humanity has faced.

Solutions do exist. More than 35,000 people gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia at the People Conference on Climate Change and for the Rights of Mother Earth broadening new visions and proposals to save the planet. These thousands of solutions coming from the people effectively confront the climate crisis.

We demand that the UNFCCC endorse the Cochabamba People’s Agreement proposals and to reject all false solutions being cooked up for the moment. Among them:

Defend land and forest rights: The REDD + initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) should be rejected. Protecting forests and reforesting degraded forests is an obligation of all governments that should be implemented without limiting the autonomy, the rights or the control of indigenous and peasant peoples over the land and their territories, and without serving as an excuse so that other countries and corporations continue contaminating and planting tree monocultures. Territorial and cultural rights of indigenous and peasant peoples should be explicitly recognized in any climate accord.

Reject geoengineering: Large-scale proposals to deliberately alter the climate, such as biochar; genetically modified plants to supposedly increase reflectivity and resistance to drought, heat and salt; the fertilization of the ocean or the massive creation of clouds, only create new unmanageable problems, they are not solutions. Geoengineering is only one example of how transnational companies are willing to play with the future of the planet and humanity in order to create new sources profit.

Reject all carbon trading schemes and Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM): Carbon trading has proven extremely lucrative in terms of generating investor dividends, but has completely failed in reducing greenhouse gas. In the new invented “carbon market” the price of carbon keeps dropping to rock bottom, which encourages further pollution. All carbon emissions should be reduced from the source, rather than allowing payment for the right to pollute.

Reject any participation of the World Bank in the management of funds and policies related to climate change.

We need millions and millions of peasant communities and indigenous territories to feed humanity and cool the planet.

Scientific research shows that peasant and indigenous peoples could reduce current global emissions to 75% by increasing biodiversity, recuperating soil organic matter, replacing industrial meat production with small-scale diversified food production, expanding local markets, halting deforestation and practicing integrated forest management.

Peasant agriculture not only contribute positively to the carbon balance of the planet, it also gives employment to 2.8 billion people, women and men around the world, and it remains the best way to combat hunger, malnutrition and the current food crisis.

The right to land and the reclaiming for territories, food sovereignty, access to water as a common good and a human right, the right to use, conserve and exchange seeds, the de-concentration and promotion of local markets, are the indispensable conditions so that peasant and indigenous peoples continue feeding the world and cooling the planet.

Join us to organize thousands of Cancuns!

Together with diverse organizations we will set up in Cancun, during the dates of the COP 15, the Alternative Global Forum “For life, and environmental and social justice”, which will unite the force and resistance of peasant peoples of the world, who are already cooling the planet (the Agenda towards Cancun 2010 is attached).

We call on social movements, popular organizations and all people of the world to organize on December 7, 2010, thousands of protests and actions to reject the false and market-based solutions. We declare ourselves in permanent mobilization until we defeat the big market negotiations in Cancun in December.

Peasants are cooling down the planet!

Globalize the struggle!

Globalize hope!

¡Miles de soluciones Construye el pueblo ante el cambio climático!
¡Miles de Cancún por la justicia climática!

La Vía Campesina convoca a los movimientos sociales y llama al pueblo a movilizarse en el mundo

Los movimientos sociales de todo el mundo se están movilizando para la 16ª Conferencia de las Partes (COP 16) de la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas para el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC) que se celebrará en Cancún, del 29 de noviembre al 10 de diciembre de 2010.

La COP 15 en Copenhague demostró la incapacitad de la mayoría de los gobiernos para enfrentarse a las causas reales del caos climático. La presión de los EE.UU. para aprobar de forma antidemocrática el llamado “Entendimiento de Copenhague”, con el fin de desconocer los débiles compromisos de Kioto de Naciones Unidas y dejar solo mecanismos voluntarios en base al mercado.

Las negociaciones climáticas se han convertido en un gran mercado. Los países industrializados, históricamente responsables de la mayoría de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, están inventando todos los trucos posibles para evitar reducirlas. Por ejemplo, el “Mecanismo para un Desarrollo Limpio” (MDL) del protocolo de Kioto permite a los países seguir contaminando y consumiendo como de costumbre, a cambio de pagos mínimos para que supuestamente los países del Sur reduzcan sus emisiones. Lo que en realidad ocurre es que las empresas ganan doblemente: por contaminar y por vender falsas soluciones.

Monsanto pretende convencernos que su soja Roundup Ready puede calificar para los créditos de carbono porque contribuirían a reducir los gases que calientan el planeta mediante acumulación de materia orgánica en el suelo. Las comunidades que viven donde hay monocultivos de soja son una muestra viviente de los efectos mortales y destructivos de dichos monocultivos. Argumentos falsos similares se utilizan para vender créditos de carbono en base a monocultivos forestales, el cultivo de agrocombustibles, o la producción industrial de ganado.

Muchos gobiernos de los países del Sur, encandilados por las potenciales ganancias, están apostando a estas falsas soluciones y negándose a implementar medidas que efectivamente enfrenten el cambio climático, como dar apoyo a la agricultura campesina sostenible, orientar la producción hacia los mercados internos, establecer efectivas políticas de ahorro de energía por parte de la industria, etc.

Exigimos la aplicación de las miles de soluciones de los pueblos ante la crisis climática

Ya es hora de que la Convención Marco de Naciones Unidas para el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC) propicie políticas firmes para contribuir a solucionar el caos climático. Es preciso que los países se comprometan firme y vinculantemente para reducir de forma radical las emisiones de gases y cambiar por completo su modo de producción y consumo.

El cambio climático también está agudizando la crisis de la migración. Las sequías, las tormentas con terribles inundaciones, la contaminación del agua y el deterioro del suelo, así como otros impactos destructivos del desastre ambiental neoliberal, están provocando un desplazamiento de millares de personas, principalmente mujeres y campesinos arruinados, de sus comunidades rurales hacia las ciudades y hacia el Norte buscando desesperadamente su sobrevivencia y la de sus familias. Se calcula que 50 millones de personas han sido forzadas a emigrar debido a los efectos climáticos. Estos “desplazados climáticos” han venido a engrosar las filas de los más de 200 millones de seres humanos, según la Organización Internacional de las Migraciones (OIM), que hoy representan la peor crisis de migración que ha enfrentado la humanidad.

Las soluciones existen. Más de 35,000 personas se reunieron en abril en Cochabamba, Bolivia en la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra ampliando nuevas visiones y propuestas para salvar al planeta. Son estas miles de soluciones que surgen desde los pueblos las que enfrenta efectivamente la crisis climática.

Exigimos a la CMNUCC que adopte las demandas del Acuerdo de los Pueblos de Cochabamba y que rechace todas las soluciones falsas que se estén tramando. Entre ellas:

Defender los derechos de la tierra y el bosque: Rechazamos la iniciativa REDD + (reducción de las emisiones por deforestación y degradación). La protección de los bosques y la reforestación de los bosques degradados es una obligación de todos los gobiernos que debe implementarse sin limitar la autonomía, los derechos o el control de los pueblos indígenas y campesinos sobre la tierra y los territorios, y sin que sirva de excusa para que otros países y corporaciones sigan contaminando y sembrando monocultivo de árboles. Los derechos territoriales y culturales de los pueblos indígenas y de los campesinos deben reconocerse explícitamente en cualquier acuerdo climático.

Rechazar la geoingeniería: Las propuestas a gran escala para alterar deliberadamente el clima, como el biochar y las plantas modificadas genéticamente para lograr un supuesto incremento de la reflectividad y la resistencia a las sequías, el calor y la sal, la fertilización del mar o la creación masiva de nubes sólo crea nuevos problemas inmanejables, no son soluciones. La geoingeniería es sólo un ejemplo más de cómo las empresas transnacionales están dispuestas a jugar con el futuro del planeta y la humanidad con el fin de crear nuevas fuentes de ganancias.

Rechazar todos los esquemas de comercio de carbono y los Mecanismos de Desarrollo Limpio (MDL): El comercio de carbono ha probado ser extremadamente lucrativo en términos de generación de ganancias para los inversionistas, sin embargo ha fallado rotundamente en la reducción de gases de efecto invernadero. En el “mercado de carbono” recientemente inventado, el precio del carbono continúa cayendo en picada, lo cual fomenta aún más la contaminación. Las emisiones de carbono deben reducirse en la fuente en vez de permitir que se pague por tener el derecho a contaminar.

Rechazar cualquier participación del Banco Mundial en la gestión de los fondos y políticas relacionadas al cambio climático.

Necesitamos millones y millones de comunidades campesinas y territorios indígenas para alimentar la humanidad y enfriar el planeta.

La investigación científica muestra que los pueblos campesinos e indígenas podríamos reducir las emisiones globales actuales al 75% al incrementar la biodiversidad, recuperar la materia orgánica del suelo, sustituir la producción industrial de carne por una producción diversificada a pequeña escala, expandir los mercados locales, parar la deforestación y hacer un manejo integral del bosque.

La agricultura campesina no sólo contribuye positivamente al equilibro del carbono del planeta, sino que crea también 2,800 millones de puestos de trabajo, para hombres y mujeres en todo el mundo, y es el mejor modo de luchar contra el hambre, la desnutrición y la crisis alimentaria actual.

El pleno derecho a la tierra y la recuperación de los territorios, la soberanía alimentaria, el acceso al agua como bien social y derecho humano, el derecho a usar, conservar e intercambiar libremente las semillas, la desconcentración y fomento a los mercados locales, son condiciones indispensables para que los pueblos campesinos e indígenas sigamos alimentando el mundo y enfriando el planeta.

¡Únete a nosotros organizando miles de Cancún!

Junto a diversas organizaciones instalaremos un* campamento en Cancún, *que unirá la fuerza y la resistencia de los pueblos campesinos del mundo, que ya estamos enfriando el planeta.

Llamamos a los movimientos sociales, las organizaciones populares y a los pueblos de todo el mundo a organizar miles de protestas y acciones en rechazo de las falsas soluciones y las soluciones de mercado. Nos declaramos en movilización permanente hasta derrotar las negociaciones de gran mercado en Cancún en diciembre.

Leave a Reply

  1. Hola,
    Gracias por estas noticias, es una excelente oportunidad para conocer lo que pasa en el resto del mundo.
    Con seguridad es un insumo para compartir con comunidades indígenas y campesinas en Centro América.

  2. I agree that public forests should not be owned by corporations and should not be sold by Governments for emissions reductions, and the World Bank should not be involved in such matters. The World Bank has proven it is incompetent in environmental sustainability and social equality issues of development. There must be a social mechanism policy by which indigenous people and local people can utilise non-wood forest products (ie not logging) for their subsistence and sustainable development, and these communities should in fact be paid to conserve the forests and manage the forests sustainably. The one thing I completely disagree with in the Via Campesina declaration, is the biochar issue. Biochar has been practiced in central America for hundreds of years by the central American civilisations and surrounding cultures. If you oppose biochar, you know nothing about traditional indigenous use of biochar to enhance biological agriculture in the central Americas. Soil known as terra preta was cultivated by central Americans, by actively creating biochar, and adding it to the soil, so that the soil had abundant organic matter, for hundreds of years until the Spanish conquested the area. The rich organic matter in the soil, provides the biological niche for soil organisms to grow rapidly, because the large surface area of the biochar (biocharcoal from agricultural residue, such as corn stalks), allows the micro-organisms to thrive, making nutrients and minerals available to plants organically, no pesticides or artificial fertilisers required for growing food. What could be more natural, than turning your harvested corn stalks into biocharcoal and adding it back to the soil as a natural fertiliser additive? How can you oppose biochar – when it is an indigenous traditional biological organic farming technique??? The Via Campesina declaration should be changed regarding biochar immediately! Asian peasant farmers who use their rice husk for example, and turn it into biochar by using a simple technique of biochar, covering husks with clay, and burning from the inside to create biocharcoal, can then put the biochar in their rice paddy field and helps mobilise all the organic nutrients and minerals in the soil, to grow healthy rice that doesnt need pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers. Who ever opposed biochar, is either not aware of how biochar is a traditional farming technique in biological agriculture, or they are a fake imposter. Someone should find out who oppoed biochar and what their agenda is – and why they oppose traditional indigenous farming technique????

  3. @ Luke – Thanks for this comment. I’ll see if I can get someone from Via Campesina to explain their position on biochar in more detail. In the meantime, I think it’s worth pointing out that Via Campesina is not opposing a traditional indigenous farming technique. What they are opposing is “Large-scale proposals to deliberately alter the climate,” and they list biochar as one example of these.

    George Monbiot wrote an article explaining some of the problems with industrial scale biochar last year: Woodchips with everything. It’s the Atkins plan of the low-carbon world. He got responses from James Lovelock, Jim Hansen and Pushker Kharecha, Chris Goodall and Peter Read. Monbiot’s response to the responses is here: Charleaders must cool enthusiasm for setting fire to the planet.

  4. My questions are:
    1. To what extent countries with deforestation/degradation could conserve their forests without mechanisms such as REDD+?

    In my opinion i think most of these mechanisms were drawn upon with good intentions. For example TNT (Trinitrotoluene) can be used for good purposes and also for bad purposes. Most of the inventions/ findings in the world can be used or modified to be used in a good way.

    So if developing nations with high deforestation/degradation cant affort to stop this, how are we supposed to find a solution apart from REDD+?