Monday, November 26, 2007

La Via Campesina South East Asia and East Asia Youth Forum Declaration

La Via Campesina Regional South East Asia and East Asia held the Youth Forum in Chiang Mai, Thailand on October 20-25, 2007. Youth leaders from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea, Japan and Timor Leste shared and discussed the youth situation and the role of youth in the community and the commitment to struggle for food sovereignty. The situation of Agriculture in the world is in crisis, in developing countries or even in developed countries like Japan and Korea are facing difficulties because the number of farmers is decreasing every year. Young people are forced to leave home for jobs in the city and abroad only to find unstable, insecure and low wage jobs. Youth who are interested in farming do not have land to till; do not have adequate farming knowledge and their production can not compete with foreign production. There is no hope for young people in the rural areas.
Our natural resources, and local wisdom lost as a result of the introduction of new technologies which are only for the benefit of the TNCs, ignore the rights of the people, especially women and children. The introduction of monocultures increases global warming and contract farming causes the heavy indebtedness of the poor peasant families.

WTO has caused a drop in the price of agricultural products, and thus hunger, poverty and suffering of millions of farmers in many countries. The open market and the EPA/FTAs hit the local farmers and lead to the loss of their livelihoods. The degradation of the environment is a result of chemical waste and extensive use of chemical inputs in farming.

La Via Campesina youth spent a few days with Thai youth and spent most of the time learning by doing; learning from the community in Mae Ta and Kang Tse Ten. We learnt how the local people collect food and preserve the natural resources of the forests and rivers. How the local culture has been respected and used for the sovereignty of the people.

The education system does not prepare youth to solve the problems of real life. Youngsters with higher education end up as employees in factories or working for TNCs promoting hybrid seeds, GMOs or chemical pesticides which are poisoning the people and environment.

We, La Via Campesina youth, have a strong commitment to struggle at all levels, and we commit to:

1. Oppose the model of neoliberalism promoted by WTO, EPA/FTA, IMF, World Bank.
2. Encourage youth to return home and do farming and spread the food sovereignty concept to young people and preserve and protect natural resources by implementing a genuine agrarian reform.
3. Oppose monoculture, seed monopoly and contract farming, since this leads to disaster, heavy indebtedness of poor peasant families and the loss of farming land.
4. Promote organic farming and to building the farmer-consumer alliance in the community.
5. For Asian peoples agriculture is our livelihood; and our culture and dignity is not a commodity.
6. Protect the rights of people to have access to natural resources and their use for the sovereignty of the people.
7. Strengthening the youth alliance and making the voice of youth heard.
8. Promote gender equality and recognition of women’s role in the community.

Now its time for food sovereignty!

Youth form south east asia and east Asia committed to realize food sovereignty

Chiang Mai Thailand, October 25, 2007


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