Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the
world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature
at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in
Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable
Development or Rio+20.
The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction
of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements
and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively
participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce
the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being
dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is
instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to
the global climatic and environmental crises.
The delegation of La Via Campesina will participate in various
plenaries as well as the global mobilisation that will take place on June 20 concentrating at the junction of the roads Av. Rio Branco
and Av Presidente Vargas in Rio de Janeiro. La Via Campesina has been
actively participating in the planning of the Peoples' Summit. This meeting marks the 20th aniversary of
the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio
92 or Eco 92).
The most important political space in the Peoples' Summit will be the
Peoples' Permanant Assembly that will organise around three main themes: denouncing the structural causes of global poverty and
the environmental crisis as well as the new forms of the reproduction of
capital; peoples' real solutions and new paradigms; and the agendas,
campaigns and mobilisations of anti-capitalist struggles after Rio+20.
La Via Campesina is an international movement that brings together
about 200 million peasants, small and medium-sized producers, landless,
rural workers and Indigenous people from around the world. La Via Campesina advocates
sustainable small-scale peasant agriculture as a means of promoting
social justice and dignity. The organisation brings together more than
150 organisations in about 70 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe and
People of the world confront the advance of capitalism: Rio+20 and beyond
Position paper of La Via Campesina
June 6, 2012 -- Governments from all over the world will meet in Río de Janeiro,
Brasil from June 20-22, 2012, to supposedly commemorate 20 years since
the “Earth Summit”, the United Nations Conference on the Environment and
Development, that established for the first time a global agenda for
“sustainable development”. During this summit, in 1992, three
international conventions were adopted: the Convention on Biological
Diversity, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, and the
Convention to Fight Desertification. Each of these promised to initiate a
series of actions destined to protect the planet and all of the life on
it, and to allow all human beings to enjoy a life of dignity.
At that time, many social organizations congratulated and supported
these new conventions with hope. Twenty years later, we see the real
causes of environmental, economic, and social deterioration continuing
without being attacked. Worse still, we are profoundly alarmed that the
next meeting in June will serve to deepen neoliberal policies and
processes of capitalist expansion, concentration, and exclusion that
today have enveloped us in an environmental, economic, and social crisis
of grave proportions. Beneath the deceptive and badly intentioned
term “green economy”, new forms of environmental contamination and
destruction are now rolled out along with new waves of privatization,
monopolization, and expulsion from our lands and territories.
La Via Campesina will mobilize for this event, representing the voice
of the peasant inthe global debate and defending a different path to
development that is based on thewellbeing of all, that guarantees food
for all, that protects and guarantees that thecommons and natural
resources are put to use to provide a good life for everyone andnot to
meet the needs for accumulation of a few.
20 years later: the planet and humanity in crisis
20 years after the Earth Summit, life on the planet has become
dramatically difficult.The number of hungry people has increased to
almost a billion, which means that oneout of every six people is going
hungry, mostly children and women in the countryside.Expulsion from our
lands and territories is accelerating, no longer only due toconditions
of disadvantage imposed upon us by trade agreements and the
industrialsector, but by new forms of monopoly control over land and
water, by the globalimposition of intellectual property regimes that
steal our seeds, by the invasion oftransgenic seeds, and by the advance
of monoculture plantations, mega-projects, andmines.
The grand promises of Río ’92 have resulted a farce. The Convention
on Biodiversityhas not stopped the destruction of biodiversity and has
strengthened and generatednew mechanisms destined to privatize it and
turn it into merchandise. Desertificationcontinues to accelerate due to
the industrial agriculture and the expansion ofagribusiness and
monoculture plantations. Global warming —with all of the disastersand
dramatic suffering it is already causing—has not slowed, but has
accelerated andbecome more severe.
The great deceit of 1992 was “sustainable development”, which social
organizations initially saw as a possibility to confront the root of the
problems. However, it was nothing more than a cover-up for the search
for new forms of accumulation. Today they look to legitimize a new
façade under the name “green economy”.
The “green economy” and other false solutions: a new assault on the people and their territories.
Capitalist profit-seeking has generated the biggest systemic crisis
since 1929. Since2008, the hegemonic system has looked for ways out of
its structural crisis, searchingfor new possibilities for accumulation
that support its logic. It is in this context that thecorporate takeover
of agreements on biodiversity and climate change have occurred,and
consequently, the development of this new financial engineering called
Governments, business people, and the organizations of the United
Nations have spent these last years constructing the myth of the “green
economy” and of the “greening of technology”. They present it as a new
possibility to bring together environmental stewardship and business,
but it is in fact the vehicle to obtain new advances of capitalism,
putting the entire planet under the control of big capital. . There are
various mechanisms that will be advanced by the green economy and all of
them will increase the destruction. More specifically,
The green economy does not seek to reduce climate change or
environmental deterioration, but to generalize the principle that those
who have money can continue polluting. Up to now, they have used the
farce of purchasing carbon bonds to continue emitting greenhouse gases.
They are now inventing biodiversity bonds. This is to say, businesses
can continue destroying forests and ecosystems, as long as they pay
someone to supposedly conserve biodiversity somewhere else. Tomorrow
they may invent bonds for water, natural “views”, or clean air.
These systems of buying environmental services are being used to take
lands and territories away from indigenous peoples and peasants. The
mechanisms that are most forcefully promoted by governments and
businesses are the systems known as REDD and REDD plus. They say that
these are systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by
deforestation and degradation of the forests, but they are being used to
impose, for a ridiculous price, management plans that deny families and
rural communities access to their own lands, forests, and water
sources. In addition, they guarantee businesses unrestricted access to
collective forest areas, enabling biopiracy. They also impose contracts
that tie communities to these management plans for 20 years or more and
that leave indigenous and peasant territories with mortgage liens, that
increases the likelihood that these communities will lose their lands.
The objectives of these environmental services are to take control of
nature reserves and of the territories that are under the control of
Another initiative of the green economy is to convert plants, algae,
and all other organic material (residues, dung, etc.) into a source of
energy to substitute for petroleum; what is called “use of biomass”.
With agrofuels, this has meant that thousands of hectares that should be
covered in forests or producing food are being used to feed machines.
If the use of biomass energy is effectivelyexpanded, we will see life in
the seas reduced still more because an important segment of marine
species will go without food. Our soils will not recuperate the organic
material that is essential to conserve fertility and guard against
erosion and drought. It will be impossible to feed our animals because
the food they need is ever more scarce and expensive. Also, the water
shortage will worsen, either directly through the cultivation of
agrofuels or because our soils no longer have the capacity to absorb and
retain water due to a lack of organic matter.
Then, they speak to us of “climate smart agriculture”, the goal of
which is to convince us to accept a new Green Revolution—possibly with
transgenics—and that instead of demanding effective support to defend us
from the effects of climate change, we accept laughable payments that
function the same way as REDD. They also seek to impose systems that are
highly dependent on large quantities of agrotoxins—like direct seeding
that depends on aerial sprayings of Round Up—that they would call “low
carbon agriculture”. That is to say, we are obliged to accept a certain
type of agriculture that will jeopardize control of our territories, our
ecosystems, and our water.
One of the most perverse aspects of the false solutions that are
promoted in international negotiations is the restriction of access to
and use of water for irrigation. Using the pretext that water for
irrigation is scarce, it is suggested that water be concentrated in
“high value crops”; meaning that export crops, agrofuels and other
industrial crops are irrigated while food crops are left without water.
The promotion of technological solutions that are not solutions at
all is also part of the agenda of the discussions in Rio. Among the most
dangerous are geoengineering and the acceptance of transgenic crops. Up
until now, none of the solutions proposed by geoengineering have
demonstrated any real capacity to solve climate problems. On the
contrary, some forms of geoengineering (like the fertilization of the
seas) are so dangerous that there has been an international moratorium
declared aginst them. To accept Genetically modified organism (GMOs), we
are told that crops resistant to drought and heat will be created, but
the only thing new in GMOs are more herbicide-resistant varieties, which
are bringing back to the market highly toxic herbicides like 2,4-D.
The most ambitious plan and the one that some governments identify as
“the major challenge” is to put a price on all the goods of nature
(like water, biodiversity, the countryside, wildlife, seeds, rain, etc.)
to then privatize them (arguing that conservation requires money) and
charge us for their use. This is called the Economy of Ecosystems and
Biodiversity (TEEB). It is the final assault on nature and life, but
also on the means of work and the lives of the people whose livelihoods
are based on agriculture, hunting, and fishing.
This “green” capitalism has the rural commons, agriculture, land and
water particularly in its sights. We are already suffering from its
effects in the form of land grabs or monopolization of land,
privatization of water, the oceans, of indigenous territories, the
national parks and nature reserves; all these processes are being
accompanied by the forced expulsions of peasant and indigenous
The real solution: put peasant and indigenous farmers at the center
We, peasants and indigenous peoples, are the ones who are
concentrated in the highest levels of poverty because we have been
deprived of land and we have been constrained by law or by force so that
we cannot cultivate and exchange freely. Nonetheless, we are people who
have been resisting expulsion from the countryside, and still we are
more than 90% of the rural population. Our forms of agriculture cool the
planet, care for ecosystems and secure the food supply for the poorest.
Every real solution happens to impinge upon the unbridled profits of
capital, put an end to the complicity of governments and supports forms
of production that effectively care for the planet. Food Sovereignty is
at the heart of the necessary changes, and is the only real path that
can possibly feed all of humanity. Our proposals are clear and introduce
We should exchange the industrial agroexport food system for a system based on food
sovereignty, that returns the land to its social function as the
producer of food and sustainer of life, that puts local production of
food at the center, as well as the local markets and local processing.
Food sovereignty allows us to put an end to monocultures and
agribusiness, to foster systems of peasant production that are
characterized by greater intensity and productivity, that provide jobs,
care for the soil and produce in a way that is healing and diversified.
Peasant and indigenous agriculture also has the ability to cool the
planet, with the capacity to absorb or prevent almost 2/3 of the
greenhouses gases that are emitted every year.
The land currently in the hands of peasants and indigenous peoples is
around 20% of all agricultural land in the world. And yet l, on this
land the peasant and indigenous families and communities produce
slightly less than half of the world’s food. The most secure and
efficient way to overcome hunger around the world is in our hands.
To secure food for all and restore the earth’s normal climate, it is
necessaryto return agriculture to the hands of peasant communities and
indigenouspeoples. To do this, we must have urgent, integrated, sweeping
agrarianreform that ends the extreme and growing concentration of land
that affectsall of humanity today. These agrarian reforms will provide
the materialconditions for agriculture to benefit all of humanity and
thus , the defenseand protection of peasant and indigenous agriculture
is up to all of us . In theshort run , it is necessary to halt all
transactions, concessions, and transfersthat result in concentration or
monopoly control of land and/or thedisplacement of rural communities.
Peasant and indigenous systems of agriculture, hunting, fishing,
andshepherding that care for the land and the food supply should be
supportedadequately with public resources that are not subject to
conditionalities.Market mechanisms—like the sale of carbon and
environmentalservices—should be eliminated and replaced with real
measures like thosementioned above. Ending pollution is a duty that no
one should be able toavoid by paying for the rights to continue the
The legitimate use of what international organizations and
enterprises nowcall biomass is to feed every living being, and then to
be returned to theearth to restore its fertility. The emissions that
come from wasted energyshould be reduced through saving and eliminating
waste. We needrenewable, decentralized sources of energy, within reach
of the people.
We are mobilized to unmask Rio+20 and green capitalism
We, peasants, family farmers, landless peasants, indigenous peoples
and migrants, men and women, decidedly oppose the commercialization of
the earth, our territories, water, seeds, food, nature, and human life.
We reiterate what was said at the People’s Summit in Cochabamba,
Bolivia: “Humanity faces a grand dilemma: to continue the path of
capitalism, predation, and death, or undertake the path of harmony with
nature and respect for life.”
We repudiate and denounce the green economy as a new mask to hide
increasing levels of corporate greed and food imperialism in the world,
and as a brutal “green washing” of capitalism that only implements false
solutions, like carbon trading, REDD, geoengineering, GMOs, agrofuels,
bio-char, and all of the market- based solutions to the environmental
Our goal is to bring back another way of relating to nature and other
people. This isalso our duty, and our right and so we will continue
fighting and calling on others tocontinue fighting tirelessly for the
construction of food sovereignty, for comprehensiveagrarian reform and
the restoration of indigenous territories, for ending the violence
ofcapital and restoring peasant and indigenous systems of production
NO TO THE FALSE SOLUTIONS OF GREEN CAPITALISM
PEASANT AGRICULTURE NOW!
Rio+20: Indigenous peoples denounce green economy and REDD+ as privatisation of nature
Rio De Janeiro, June 15, 2012 – Indigenous peoples of the world participating
in Rio+20 denounce that the Green Economy and REDD+ privatise nature,
sell the air we breathe and destroy the future.
Indigenous Peoples' powerful message to the United Nations summit is eloquently conveyed in the No REDD+! in Rio+20 Declaration
launched this morning by of the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples
and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life. Thea lliance warns that REDD+ constitutes a worldwide land grab and
gigantic carbon offset scam.
REDD+ is an UN-promoted false solution to climate change and the
pillar of the "green economy" it is promoting. Officially, REDD+ stands for Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. However, Tom
Goldtooth (Dakota/Dine), director of the Indigenous Environmental Network,
insists that “REDD+ really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land
grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity.”
Just as Chief Seattle over a hundred years ago asked, “How can you
sell the air?”, Marlon Santi of the Ecuadorian Amazon condemns carbon
trading and REDD+ and asks, “How can you sell Mother Earth and Father
Sky?” But apparently someone is trying, as the recently inaugurated
Bolsa Verde do Rio de Janeiro (BVRio), a Brazilian stockmarket for
forest carbon credits, shows.
“Not only does REDD+ corrupt the Sacred and fuel financial
speculation, it also serves as greenwash for extractive industries like
Shell and Rio Tinto”, according to Berenice Sanchez of the Nahua People
The Alliance argues that REDD+ is a “new wave of colonialism”. From
Peru to Papua New Guinea, carbon cowboys are running amok trying to rip
off native communities and grab the forests of the world, 80% of which
are found in Indigenous peoples' lands and territories.
“The REDD+ race to take over our land is on. Without our land, we
are nothing. The 'green economy' and REDD+ could make money with
genocide”, alerts Mr. Santi.
“The environmental crisis is getting worse because of capitalists'
false solutions such as REDD+. The real solution to the climate crisis
affecting the people of the world, especially Indigenous peoples, is to
protect Mother Earth, uphold social justice and respect the Indigenous
Peoples’ decisions and right to say no”, said Marife Macalanda of the
Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network.
Human rights activists like lawyer Alberto Saldamando are also
concerned about abuses by REDD-type projects. “REDD+ threatens the very
survival of Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities.
Indigenous peoples and local communities are now being subjected to
forced displacement and human rights abuses including violations of the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a result of the
implementation of REDD+-type programs”, according to the secretariat of
As for La Via Campesina, the 300 million-strong international peasant
farmers' organisation rejects REDD+ which not only includes forests
but agriculture and soils as well. “REDD perverts the task of growing
food into farming carbon” and could cause a global “counter-agrarian
reform” notes the alliance´s declaration.
“Don´t be fooled“, the alliance urges, the "green economy" and REDD+
constitute “a planet grab”. “Rio+20 is not an Earth Summit, it is the
WTO of Life.”
Brazil's Indigenous Peoples Terra Livre Declaration at Rio +20 rejects REDD
They produced a Declaration in which they, “reject REDD contracts”. The Declaration is posted in full below (in English and Portuguese).
In addition to rejecting REDD, the Declaration opposes large scale
infrastructure projects on indigenous territories, including the Belo
Monte and Jirau hydropower dams, nuclear power plants, ports, highways,
biofuels and mining projects.
The Declaration also condemns the action of financial institutions
that finance projects without respecting “the right of the affected
populations to be consulted”. The role of Brazil’s National Bank of
Economic and Social Development (BNDES) is highlighted in the
Declaration, although no mention is made of the Amazon Fund,
which is managed by BNDES. The Amazon Fund has so far received more
than US$100 million, almost all of which is from the Norwegian
government. The Amazon Fund finance is conditional on the reduction of emissions from deforestation.
On 20 July 2012, Indigenous Peoples from Terra Livre took part in a
protest march to Rio +20 conference centre – photographs of the march
are available here.
(non-official translation into English by Earth Peoples)
PEOPLES’ SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGAINST THE MERCALIZATION OF LIFE, IN DEFENSE OF THE COMMONS
LETTER OF RIO DE JANEIRO
FINAL DECLARATION OF FREE LAND CAMP IX – LIVING WELL / HEALTHY FULL LIFE
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 15 to 22 June 2012
We, more than 1,800 leaders, representatives of indigenous peoples
and organizations present (APIB – Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of
Brazil – COIAB, APOINME, ARPINSUL, ARPINSUDESTE, indigenous peoples of
Mato Grosso do Sul and Guasu ATY), COICA – Coordinator of Indigenous
Organizations Amazon Basin, IOTC – Andean Coordinator of Indigenous
Organizations, CICA – Indigenous Council of Central America, and CCNAGUA
– Guarani Continental Council of the Nation and representatives of
other parts of the world, gathered in the parallel space of
organizations and social movements, the Free Land Camp IX, at the
Peoples Summit, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable
Development (Rio +20).
After intense debates and discussions held during 15-22 June on the
various issues that affect us, the violation of our fundamental and
collective rights as a peoples, we express as one united voice our cry
of indignation and outrage to the governments, corporations and society
in the face of severe crises which beset the planet and humanity
(financial crises, environmental, energy, food and social) as a result
of the predatory neo-development process of the commodification and
financialization of life and Mother Nature.
It is thanks to our resilience that we keep our people alive as a
(distinct) peoples, with our rich, ancient and complex knowledge systems
and our understanding of all live that guarantees existence, with its
currently vaunted Brazilian biodiversity, which explains that Brazil is
the host two major conferences on the environment. Therefore, the
(Indigenous Peoples) “Free Land Camp” is of fundamental importance in
the Peoples’ Summit, the space that allows us to reflect, share and
build alliances with other peoples, organizations and social movements
in Brazil and the world, who like us, believe in other forms of living
than the one imposed upon us by the capitalist and neoliberal
We advocate and defend plural and autonomous forms of lives, inspired
by the model of Living Well/ Healthy Life, where Mother Earth is
respected and cared for, where humans are just another species among all
the other compositions of the multi-diversity of the planet. In this
model, there is no room for so-called green capitalism, or to new forms
of appropriation of our biodiversity and our traditional knowledge.
Considering the importance of the Peoples’ Summit, we elaborated this
Declaration, to clarify in it the main problems that affect us today,
and to indicate ways on how to establish new relations between States
and indigenous peoples, with the vision to construct a new model of
In accordance with the discussions at the Peoples Summit, we
repudiate the structural causes and false solutions to the crises which
beset our planet, including:
We reject impunity and violence, imprisonment and murder of
indigenous leaders (in Brazil, where Kayowá-Guarani, Argentina, Bolivia,
Guatemala and Paraguay, among others).
We reject major projects in indigenous territories, such as dams –
Belo Monte, Jirau and others; transposition of Rio S. Francisco, nuclear
power plants; Canal do Sertão, ports, national and international
Highways, production of biofuels, the road within TIPNIS in Bolivia, and
mining projects throughout Latin America).
We condemn the action of financial institutions such as BNDES –
National Bank of Economic and Social Development, which finances large
projects with public money, but does not respect the right of the
affected populations to be consulted, including 400 regions in Brazil,
and in all countries that BNDES operates, including Latin America and
We reject REDD contracts, and carbon credits that are false
solutions that do not solve environmental problems but seek to commodify
nature and ignore the traditional knowledge and ancient wisdom of our
We reject the reduction of indigenous territories.
We reject all legislative initiatives that aim to weaken indigenous
rights in order to serve the interests of big business, through the
relaxation or distortion of indigenous and environmental legislation in
several countries, such as the PEC 215 and the Forest Code in the
Brazilian Congress and the proposed changes in Ecuador.
We condemn the repression suffered by the Bolivian relatives at the
Ninth March “Defense of Life and Dignity, Indigenous Territories,
Natural Resources, Biodiversity, Environment and Protected Areas, the
Compliance of CPE (Political Constitution of the State) and respect for
democracy.” We express our solidarity with the relatives killed and
arrested in this crackdown by the Bolivian state.
We condemn the actions of Marco Terena who presents himself at the
international level as a leader and representative of Brazil’s
indigenous peoples, since he is not recognized as the legitimate
representative of the Terena people according to the Terena leaders
present at the Free Land Camp IX.
We call for the protection of indigenous land rights. In Brazil,
more than 60% of Indian territories were not demarcated and ratified. We
demand the immediate recognition and demarcation of indigenous lands,
including policies to strengthen the demarcated areas, including the
removal of farmers and others that are invading other territories.
We demand an end to impunity for the murderers and persecutors of
the indigenous leaders. Indigenous leaders, women and men are murdered
and the criminals continue to be free, and no action has been taken to
charge them. We request that the instigators and executors that
committed crimes (murder, robbery, rape, torture) against our people and
communities are tried and punished.
We demand the end to the criminalization of indigenous leaders. That
the struggles of our peoples for their land rights are not criminalized
by governmental authorities that should instead ensure the protection
and implementation of indigenous rights.
We demand the guarantee of the right to consultation and free, prior
and informed consent of each indigenous people – in accordance with the
ILO Convention 169, according to the specificity of each people,
strictly following the principles of good faith of this binding
Convention. We need to be respected and strengthened in the
institutional fabric of each of our peoples, to have our own appropriate
mechanisms for deliberation and representation, and to be enabled to
participate in consultation processes with states.
We call for the expansion of indigenous territories.
We call for transparent and independent monitoring of watersheds.
We call for the recognition and strengthening the role of indigenous peoples in the protection of biomes.
We ask for the urgent demarcation of land for the people without
assistance and camped in precarious situations, such as on riverbanks,
roadsides and areas without sanitation infrastructure. In Brazil alone,
there are hundreds of indigenous camps in this situation. 40% of the
population of these camps are children.
We call for the improvement of health conditions of indigenous
peoples, such as in Brazil, to increase the budget of SESAI – Special
Secretariat of Indigenous Health, the implementation of financial
administrative and political autonomy of DSEIs (Special Indigenous
Health Districts), and to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples
We want an Indigenous Education that respects the diversity of each
nation and culture, with special and differential treatment for each
language, customs and traditions.
We demand that states implement effective policies to guarantee
appropriate indigenous education, as etnoeducacionais territories in
We want an indigenous education with components of environmental
education that promotes environmental protection and sustainability of
We demand conditions for the development of our traditions and ancient ways of production.
Finally, it won’t be the false solutions that are proposed by
governments – the so-called green economy, that will pay off the debts
of States with our people.
We reiterate our commitment to unity of indigenous peoples as
demonstrated in our alliance within our communities, with indigenous
nations, organizations, the Indigenous Caucus and others.
THE SALVATION OF THE PLANET IS IN THE ANCIENT WISDOM OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
RIO DE JANEIRO, 20 JUNE 2012
APIB – Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, COICA –
Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, IOTC –
Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations, CICA – Indigenous
Council of Central America, and CCNAGUA – Guarani Continental Council of