The earth is a gift to humanity. Therefore all people’s rights to land and livelihoods are fundamental. It is unacceptable that billions of human beings are suffering from hunger, deprivation and lack of dignity resulting from the imposition of the dominant neo-liberal development framework, in which land, water, forest, seeds and mineral resources have been commoditized and are hence increasingly controlled by corporations and financial institutions that operate with unrestrained greed.
In response to this intolerable situation, people at the grassroots level around the world must take urgent actions together to address the variety of challenges at the local, national and international levels that stem from lack of access to land, livelihoods and natural resources. Moreover, recognizing the common origin of their problems, these actions should aim to link rural and urban peoples in a united struggle to achieve an alternative people-centered development that is just for all.
Acting upon this call for a Global Movement 2012, a non-violent campaign is being built among many organizations around the world, in a combined effort to achieve people’s greater control over land and sustainable livelihoods. Through Global Movement 2012, people are being brought together from different countries to undertake common, global actions.
Issues and Responses
In the spirit of genuine solidarity, Global Movement 2012 will bring people together from different countries to undertake coordinated actions aiming to achieve a concrete resolution to problems faced by the billions of people who today still lack access to land and livelihoods. Some of the issues and responses are as follows:
1. Land grabbing has become a common problem in many countries of the global South, creating increasing poverty, destitution and indignity. Both internal and trans-national land grabbing are being carried out by corporations often using corrupt practices, and there are few regulatory mechanisms to prevent it. This trend has increased since the global crisis of 2008 and states with weak governments are being particularly targeted.
Response: Global Movement 2012 seeks to unite grassroots communities confronting the problem of land grabbing around the world so that they can stand up together and defend their basic rights of land and livelihoods. [In addition, the Global Movement 2012 is advocating with international institutions to respond to land grabbing by having them withdraw support and resources, if they do not provide some land rights to the poor. Transnational and national corporations need to be monitored and made accountable to people. This will lead to a more decentralized and sustainable form of land use and management.
2. Many governments are promoting market-led land reform, which continues to divest poor people of their basic rights over land and livelihood. In this view land is a commodity but is not seen in terms of the dignity and livelihood that it brings to marginalized people.
Response: To counteract this trend, Global Movement 2012 is committed to working to defend community-based land rights by creating land use policies and legal frameworks which protect local people’s rights; promoting a redistributive land reform agenda; and creating safeguards for collective and individual land entitlements for the poor and marginalized.
3. The commoditization and the trade of essential food items are making food prices unaffordable for local populations. Governments are more interested in providing incentives to investors in futures markets and venture capital than in creating an enabling environment for local agricultural production with the capacity to provide affordable food to everyone. While ordinary people are suffering from a food deficit, food traders are profiting.
Response: The Global Movement 2012 links the food crisis together with the issues of land alienation, land acquisition and land profiteering, and recognizes that the food crisis can only be resolved if access to agricultural land, an enabling environment for rural livelihoods are ensured for small-scale peasants around the world.
4.Small-scale agriculture such as household farms along with village-based industries are not getting sufficient government support; yet they continue to provide a more healthy, sustainable and productive livelihood base for rural populations.
Response: Global Movement 2012 is re-examining cooperatives, collectives, and other group formations in the course of developing a new sustainable rural-based development paradigm. Global Movement 2012 recognizes the structural factors that bind together all marginalized people, including the rural and urban poor. One of the primary among these is the lack of access to land, whether for production, for settlement or basic identity. Any viable solution enabling the sustainable development of rural and urban communities must therefore involve the fundamental reallocation of land resources, both in rural and urban areas.
In October 2012, various countries across the south and north are gearing to take up simultaneous actions, based on Gandhian non-violence, to counter the trend of massive appropriation of natural resources (forest, land, water and minerals) by special interest groups.
Different reputed international institutions are recommending that through the pressure on government from social movements, poorer segments of society could gain greater access to natural resources such as land, and that this is important to offset acute poverty and unbalanced development.