La Via Campesina South Asia Climate Change Declaration

August 4, 2012: Peasants’ organizations of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neo-liberal market system in favor of the common people. The fight against climate change is a fight against corporate-led capitalism which is aggravating landlessness, dispossession, hunger and poverty. We are here to declare that direct action by the people is the only remaining weapon of the common people of our region to end all forms of oppression.

Governments are wasting time discussing false market solutions to the climate crisis. We can see that the future of Mother Earth’s ecosystems and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their historic responsibility to make real emission cuts and instead push for more false market-based solutions to the climate crisis which, in last two decades, have only exacerbated this crisis whilst generating profits for the polluters.

Activities at south Asian climate caravan in Dec 2011

We are gathered here in Kathmandu at a time when the climate discussions after 17 years of negotiations have become watered down to market mechanisms and a voluntary pledge system. Rio+20 has further launched the so called green economy which is actually a greed economy attempting to commodify all of nature instead of stopping its profit-induced exploitation. In the climate agreements, polluters are moving away from the mandated program of working towards legally-binding commitments to cut emissions. Developed countries are working hard to escape their historical responsibility of paying their climate debt and are pushing for a green climate fund controlled by private capital and the World Bank. Finally, there is a push to include agriculture in the negotiations, treating agriculture as a carbon sink rather than a source of food and livelihood. For La Via Campesina, with this trend of negotiations, it is better to have no deal than a bad deal that condemns humanity and our planet to a future of climate catastrophe.

Activities at south Asian climate caravan in Dec 2011

We are now at a critical moment for agriculture, small and marginal farmers and for nature. The impacts of climate change are steadily worsening, leading to harvest failures, destruction of habitats and homes, hunger, famine and loss of lives. Corporate capitalism is misusing this situation to push their false solutions for profit. Humanity and the ecosystems on which it depends face catastrophe if these false capitalist solutions proceed unchallenged.

We, therefore, demand from the SAARC countries and especially India which has to take a greater responsibility in our region for:

A legally binding agreement to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed by all governments responsible for those emissions. Developed countries should commit to at least 50% domestic emission reductions based on 1990 levels, without conditions and excluding carbon markets or other offset mechanisms. High growth countries like India and China must take responsibility and make binding mitigation commitments. Such countries hide behind the poor using their development as an excuse to pollute and then carry out a predatory development that dispossesses the same poor of their lands and resources to benefits elite consumerism and private profit.

  1. Activities at south Asian climate caravan in Dec 2011

    Comprehensive genuine land reform including land and land titles for the landless. Land grabbing by elite interests and private corporations is growing rapidly and violently and needs to be stopped. Occupations initiated by the landless themselves to grow food and for a livelihood deserve the fullest support from governments as a solution to climate change. Women’s access to land must be a prioritized by targeted redistribution.

Governments must support small family farmer agriculture and agro-ecology. Small farmers feed the world and cool the planet – they need fair prices for their produce, interest free credit, subsidies, guaranteed markets, insurance against disasters, support to practice self reliant ecological agricultural methods and traditional farming methods. Small farmer agriculture needs support for the food sovereignty of our nations. Stop the industrial farming green revolution model that promotes pollution and climate change.

  1. Activities at south Asian climate caravan in Dec 2011

    Constitutional recognition of the rights of adivasi’s and support to indigenous farming.

Recognition of the rights of dalits, women and youth peasants.

Reparation rather than loans paid to the governments of the Global South as part of the climate debt owed by industrialized countries of the Global North.

Keep the World Bank out of climate finance. All funds for climate finance must be public and be free from the control of the World Bank and private corporations. The World Bank, other IFIs such as Asian Development Bank and private corporations are recognized as the main drivers of the current unsustainable economic and development model which is causing climate change. They are part of the problem and cannot be construed as the solution.

  1. Activities at south Asian climate caravan in Dec 2011

    All adaptation measures to climate change to include the full participation of, and consultation with, local communities.

Our carbon is not for sale. We demand an end to the proposed inclusion of agriculture as a carbon sink in the negotiations and all proposals of market mechanisms surrounding agriculture. Agriculture is not for sale for carbon credits – it is for feeding humanity.

We as La Via Campesina and the people of the world have the real solutions to the climate crisis and we call on all governments to heed them before it is too late. We call for building alliances between social movements and popular struggles. The world’s people will overcome the nexus between governments and multinational corporations that is strangling our planet.

Food Sovereignty is the solution! Peasant agriculture is not for sale!
Globalize the struggle, Globalize hope!