Final Declaration 10th Asia- Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) – Milan, Italy
We, over 400 women and men, representing social movements, people’s organisations and citizens from 42 countries across Asia and Europe joined together from the 10th to 12th October 2014 in Milan, Italy at the 10th Asia Europe People’s Forum under the title “Towards a Just and Inclusive Asia and Europe: Challenging Unjust and Unequal Development, Building States of Citizens for Citizens”.
This is how the Final Declaration of the 10th Asia- Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) begins. Though an excellent read overall, see page 9-10 for the space received by the issue of ocean grabbing:
3. Food Sovereignty and Access and Control of Land, Natural and Fisheries Resources and Ocean Grabbing
Land, forests, water, agriculture biodiversity and other natural resources are under threat. Peasants, small-scale fisher folk, pastoralists, Indigenous Peoples and communities – the people who actually feed the world – are being dispossessed by the expansion of industrial agriculture, extractive industries and finance capital supported by public policies. Powerful corporations and investors are depleting fertile soils, extracting natural wealth and causing poverty and chronic hunger. They are often involved or supporting land grabbing across Asia and Europe. These grabs are facilitated by political decisions and specific multilateral and bilateral agreements. They normally take place through legal channels, relying on compliant and corporate driven governments to reform existing legal frameworks and policies. These reinforce the privatization of land, the unjust distribution of subsidies, trade and investment agreements. This situation is potentially worsened by TTIP and TPP, biofuels mandates, the European Common Agricultural Policy, and by conservation protection areas. When legal channels fail, grabbers often resort to violent means that dispossess people of their lands, access to fishing territory, livelihoods and ways of life. The impacts are accentuated along gender, race and class lines. Strong, parallel processes of land and fishing rights concentration reduce the right to produce food for small scale food producers and expand control by a smaller and smaller minority over land, water and agriculture biodiversity. As a result of this, and increasing land prices, land access is the main barrier to young farmers entering the sector.
Although ocean grabbing is part of these broad trends, there is a lack of critical focus on its impacts on the lives of millions of small-scale fisher folk around the world. Similar to land grabbing, privatization of coastal commons and fisheries, deep sea mining, industrial and export oriented aquaculture, contract farming schemes, marine
protected areas, marketing of fishing rights and pollution are squeezing artisanal fishing communities and their rights who rely on access to and control over legitimate and customary fishing grounds. Policy frameworks at national and global levels such as the Global Partnership for Oceans, the Coral Triangle Initiative, the ASEAN
Fishery Improvement Protocol, certification processes and free trade agreements underwrite a devastating shift towards corporate capture and control over our world’s fisheries. This process is legitimized by large environmental NGOs collaborating with corporate capital and financially supported by large philanthropic
foundations. These are unacceptable forms of development that will lead us deeper into ecological, social and political crisis.
Small-scale food producers and food workers provide concrete, viable and clear alternatives. They must be strengthened by public policies rooted in human rights.
In order for small scale food producers and food workers to struggle for their fundamental rights , strong alliances, which recognise the diversity of different struggles and respect the autonomy of peasants, fisher folk, indigenous peoples and pastoralist organizations to define their own relationships to land, water, agriculture and
food and agricultural systems, should be supported. Many of these alternatives coalesce under the banner of food sovereignty platform. This is both a foundation to resist the multiple forms of dispossession stated above and a proactive strategy that asserts the collective rights of control over food and agriculture systems. As part of
food sovereignty, land sovereignty asserts the right to different types of land tenure, including commons, customary tenure, and collective rights. At their core is the promotion of a model of food production that puts the small scale food producers and food workers who feed us at the centre of decisions about how food is produced,
how fisheries are maintained and how land and natural resources are controlled and managed.
We call on our governments to:-
1. Oppose land, ocean and resource grabbing and support the Human Right to Food and to implement the Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests and the International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Fisheries Guidelines) with the full effective
participation of small scale food producer organisations.
2. Withdraw from and actively oppose the Global Partnership for Oceans, the Coral Triangle Initiative, the ASEAN Fishery Improvement Protocol, and inappropriate certification processes, as all of these will underwrite a devastating shift towards corporate capture and control over our world’s fisheries.
3. Establish a full, participatory process with the fisher folk organisations to implement the full Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and The Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Fisheries of the FAO. These must obtain the prior informed
consent of indigenous peoples and local communities for development projects.
4. Support the on-going process at the United Nations level for the recognition of the Rights of Peasants.
5. Ensure that the means to fulfil human rights are at the heart of their trade, agricultural, energy, development, environmental, land and water policies. The EU should assess the impact of its prioritisation of the private sector across its trade and investment policies.
6. Remove agro-fuels targets from the Renewable Energy Directive.
7. Call to the ASEM member States and the EU to stop imposing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) rules on genetic resources and recognise, respect and fulfil farmer rights to seeds.
8. Respect the rights of indigenous peoples to their Territories and resources as the material, economic, social and cultural bases for their collective survival and development. This includes the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes relating to development, including the
requirement for free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in development projects. Lastly, acknowledge the contribution of indigenous peoples in sustainable development through their low carbon lifestyles, their traditional knowledge, indigenous techniques and innovative ways of production.