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COP 22: Our land is worth more than carbon

18 November 2016

Almost a year after the international gathering around the COP21, this time around it is much more discreetly that the representatives of 196 States are meeting in Morocco for the COP22, also sometimes referred to as "Agriculture’s COP". Under the pretext of fighting against climate change, the risk is very high for peasants of the world of seeing their land confiscated.

Brussels, November 18th, 2016     Almost a year after the international gathering around the COP21, this time around it is much more discreetly that the representatives of 196 States are meeting in Morocco for the COP22, also sometimes referred to as "Agriculture’s COP". Under the pretext of fighting against climate change, the risk is very high for peasants of the world of seeing their land confiscated.   While the word "agriculture" is not once mentioned in the Paris agreement text, agricultural land is presented, but as a tool, a "carbon sink", to offset greenhouse gas emissions. This sends, de facto, the production of food to the back burner, in favor of false solutions and those promoting them, who, under the pretext of storing carbon, will make high profits land grabbing.   "Today, we, from Via Campesina Europe, reaffirm the total failure of the Paris Agreement to seriously question the systemic elements causing climate change, in particular the refusal to address the role of corporate-driven agriculture, with its greenhouse gas intensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Carbon markets will not solve the problem, they will make it worse. The negotiations taking place in Marrakesh right now on how to implement this pathetic agreement will drive small-scale food producers out of their lands and increase land concentration, thus adding social and economic disaster to the environmental mess,” said Paula Gioia from the European Coordination Vía Campesina.   There is a real danger for peasants who will once again be victimized by the financialization and industrialization of their trade. As La Via Campesina and GRAIN have shown, while the industrial food system is responsable for around 50% of the total GHG emissions in the planet today, if land were to be redistributed to small-scale farmers and indigenous communities, with policies that support local markets and agroecological agriculture, global GHG could be cut by half within a few decades, significantly curb deforestation, and meet the food needs of the world's growing population.   Only a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will help contain the climate crisis. Compensation is not a solution; it is only the alibi of politicians who refuse to face the urgency of this crisis. These lands are not for sale, they are crucial for peasant farmers who by practicing peasant agriculture are capable of responding to various challenges and guarantee people’s food sovereignty!   Here you find the complete declaration "Our lands are worth more than their carbon", launched by the Confederation Paysanne and CCFD-Terre Solidaire and signed by more than 57 organizations.     Press contacts:   Paula Gioia, ECVC Coordination Committee : paula.gioia@eurovia.org , 0032 489 55 22 97 (EN, ES, PT, FR)