The adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and People Working in Rural Areas is not only a historic giant step forward in protecting the hundreds of millions of producers of our food. It provides all humanity with an incomparable « tool for fighting for a common future », as the title of a forthcoming CETIM book highlights. This declaration is the result of more than seventeen years of obstinate struggle by one of the largest contemporary social movements in the world, La Vía Campesina and its some 250 million members.
For the CETIM which, as Jean Ziegler points out, « has been involved in this fight from the beginning », this is a huge victory, and our organization is unequivocally delighted with it.
It is worth noting that the 122 countries (out of a total of 193) that voted in favor of this declaration represent three quarters of the world’s population (exactly 74.63%, according to the latest available statistics). The eight governments that voted against it represent only slightly more than 6 %. Regarding the 54 countries which, apparently under pressure from the United States and agribusiness multinationals, abstained from the final vote, and the eight others that did not take part in the vote (in total less than 20 % of the world’s population), there is no reason to be dismayed. Indeed, it is reasonable to conclude that, under popular pressure, current and future governments will reverse their positions, even in countries that voted against, for this victory is only one, initial step on the long road to sustainable, just and equitable development.