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First steps in the roadmap for the implementation in Europe of the Peasants Rights Declaration

1 October 2019

Under the leadership of the European peasant movement, the first steps towards implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) in Europe have been taken in the last few days in Brussels. After 2 days of debates and internal exchanges between representatives of peasant organizations, allied organizations and academics, the regional implementation project for this new international instrument was presented yesterday at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

“This declaration has the power to reduce social conflicts, minimize the destruction of natural resources and tackle the climate crisis. This instrument will not only empower small-scale farmers, but also consumers. As small-scale farmers, we see a clear link between the FAO’s Decade of Family Farming and the Declaration. We need to support the actors who are part of the solution in the series of crises and problems we face on our planet. Our agricultural practices can help to cool the planet and in doing so we can respond to the demands of today’s younger generations.” Ramona Duminicioiu, Romanian farmer and member of ECVC’s Coordinating Committee in her public address to the EESC.


Speakers representing the OHCHR, the regional FAO and European Union institutions agreed that family farming is capable of feeding and cooling the planet. “Peasants play the biggest role in feeding the world, but they face major challenges in achieving and ensuring the right to food”, stressed Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The UNDROP, adopted in December 2018 by the UN General Assembly, is the tool we can use to achieve this, and to achieve the SDGs along the way.


On the other hand, a spotlight was put on the current legal system in Europe, which is tailored to the agro-industrial sector and threatens the future of peasant people and rural communities. Guy Kastler, from Confederation Paysanne, a French ECVC member organization, denounced how in Europe, peasants’ rights are violated by the intellectual property rights system. “The latter not only benefits from the peasant seed system, but is also destroying and privatizing it. Ninety-eight percent of seeds have been taken free of charge from the fields of the peasants”. All the more reason to urgently implement UNDROP in Europe.


“A redemocratization of legislative spaces, to develop public policies that do not undermine peasant systems, must include peasant representatives in their processes. But for this we need real political will. What the EU institutions and member states have done so far is not enough. This is urgent! We have no time to lose!” declared Paula Gioia, beekeeper and member of ECVC’s coordinating committee, in her closing speech to the public event.


See photos of the event here.


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