Kathmandu Declaration of South Asia Peasants’ Convergence

Organized by All Nepal Peasants Federation

14 March 2017 by Collective

CC - Flickr - ::Lenz

We, the representatives of South Asian peasant organizations, agricultural labourer unions, plantation workers unions, young farmers, women, landless and Dalits, Adivasis, small and marginal farmers, pastoralist and herders and other small food producers gathered here in Kathmandu call upon all progressive organizations and social movements to transform and fight for building a just society based on equitable distribution of resources and ensure access to & control of producers in productive resources along with land, finance & technology.

South Asia is home to around a billion peasants & agricultural workers. We gather here to celebrate their struggles and join hand in hand to fight united against all the challenges we face especially due to increasing right wing capitalist and large corporations’ attacks and erosion of our formerly acquired rights. We gather here strengthened by the spirit of our friends and leaders and all those whose courage and commitment to our democratic struggles inspires us. We would take this opportunity to extend cooperation and solidarity between people to people, in fact peasants to peasants across South Asian region for resisting all attempts to turn this region into a battlefield or a looting ground by vested interest Interest An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount of the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set. groups. We condemn all attempts by governments to interfere in the affairs of other countries. We would continue to struggle to make this region peaceful, prosperous and an example of cross-border solidarity.

We are facing a deeper and more severe crisis than ever, in terms of food, labour, energy, economy, and climate, ecology, financial, ethical, social, political and institutional, created by neoliberal capitalism. We are aware of the prevailing deep rooted hunger and poverty & malnutrition in the region and we also have a common understanding of its structural causes. We are alarmed by the agricultural crisis, land grabbing, climate change, corporate agriculture and mono-cropping, chemical farming and GMOs and loss of peasants’ rights that has been impoverishing the peasantry and the working class of our region. A large number of farmers, close to 5 lakhs in the region, have resorted to suicides as the only way to escape poverty in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We oppose the use of agricultural land in other non-agricultural activities. We condemn the forcible acquisition of agricultural lands in the name of energy and other infrastructure projects. Faced with such situation there is an urgent need to build a stronger resistance. We would fight for a region where peasants and farmers have decent livelihood, respect and prosperity from farming.

There is also an increasing control of imperialist forces, namely, World Trade Organization (WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

), World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

(WB) & International Monetary Fund IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

(IMF). The impacts of WTO dictated policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization along with WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) with its provision of market access, reduction of farm export subsidies and domestic support to agriculture has proven detrimental to farmers. We continue to fight to keep WTO and FTAs out of agriculture. We deeply condemn the business and intervention in the name of poverty reduction programmmes by the World Bank, IMF & ADB including micro-credits which have devastated thousands of peasants and the rural poor and are responsible for farmers’ suicides.

At the same time, it is evident that we can’t simply fight to maintain the peasants in whatever condition they are in. Rather, the goal has to be modernization, which will have to be democratic, culturally appropriate, take ecological concerns into account, and be based on policies that ensure that all sectors of concerned people are genuinely part of the actual policy making and implementation process. We want to collectively work to make farming a decent source of livelihood and income. The states must ensure that farming is attractive for the youth. We demand more agro-based industries and rural development. The states must make public expenditure in agriculture including the creation of infrastructure.

Access to resources including land, water, seed etc. remains key question for the agrarian transformation and well-being of peasantry. We demand comprehensive Agrarian Reforms including scientific land reforms. This means ensuring full access over land, recognizing indigenous peoples’ legal rights to their territories, guaranteeing fishing communities’ access and control of fishing areas and ecosystems, and recognising pastoral migratory routes. We know that only such reform ensures a future for rural youth and reduce the rapid migration of youth from rural areas.

We reaffirm that food sovereignty is the fundamental right of all peoples and societies to control food and agricultural systems and policies, ensuring everyone adequate, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. Not only the indigenous knowledge and sustainable practices in farming have been seriously destroyed by the conventional farming, but also it has taken away the seeds and many other resources in the hands of few companies and elites. Therefore, we defend agro-ecology to conserve biodiversity, cool the planet and protect our soils and seeds. Our agro-ecological model not only an feed all of humanity but is also the way to stop the advance of the climate crisis through local production in harmony with our forests and waterways, enhancing diversity and returning organic matter to natural cycles.

Our struggle is to build a society based on justice, equality, peace, development & prosperity. We demand respect for all women’ rights. We demand an end to the conflicts and wars over appropriation, proliferation of military bases and criminalization of dissent and reaffirm our support to create and maintain unity in diversity. We present our vision which is inclusive, broad-based, practical, radical and hopeful as an invitation to join us in transforming our societies and protecting the earth.

We reaffirm ourselves to the alternative vision of political, social, economic and cultural systems to enable ecological, social and sustainable development of the region that eliminates all forms of discriminations based on class, gender, sexuality, disabilities, caste, ethnicity, religion, language and geography; which leads to a situation free from exploitation and oppression.

We demand:
1. The effective implementation of food sovereignty as the fundamental rights of people and ensure, their access to resources including seeds.

2. The end of neo-liberalism designed by corporations and operated through markets that favour unjust profiteering over people’s sustainable development and deny peoples’ collective rights to commons;

3. Recognition, promotion and implementation of people-centred cooperation at all levels to resolve issues and problems of South Asia. We demand that SAARC meetings should be held according to plan.

4. To encourage locally produced organic foods initially with supply to schools and hospitals.

5. Take WTO and FTAs out of Agriculture. Ensure that agriculture is our way of life, our livelihood, our culture, our food, and our way of relating with the nature.

6. Ensure comprehensive agrarian reform to guarantee dignified livelihood of peasants and maintain ecological balance Balance End of year statement of a company’s assets (what the company possesses) and liabilities (what it owes). In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds. .

7. Ensure equal rights to and use of land for women. Ensure justice and equality for women, which require the transformation of social and economic arrangements, including access to land, credit, education, social benefits and power.

8. Include the rights to compensation for all those who participate in food production and care of natural resources – fisher-folk, indigenous peoples, landless workers, pastoralists and forest dwellers.

9. Supply subsidised and cheap inputs to individual farmers and guarantee crop insurance. Ensure Minimum Support Prices for small farmers. Increase the state budget allocation in agriculture.

10. Apply ILO convention on agricultural workers across the region and recognise them as workers and frame national labour laws. Implement equal wages for equal work for men and women and the prohibition of child labour in hazardous occupation.

11. Recognise Right to Employment and implement employment guarantee policies in all countries with decent wages.

12. End all forms of social discrimination, abolish of bondage and child labour.

13. The respects for rights of land locked countries. We demand that our government should respect the South Asia Free Trade Agreement, Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship- 1950; Motor Vehicle Agreement among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN)- 2015; Convention on Transit Trade of Land-locked States (1965) and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982).

14. Effective implementation of Land use policy in each countries ensuring protection of fertile farming land. We also demand to stop Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in primary production of agriculture.

February 03, 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal
All Nepal Peasants Federation



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