(Harare, May 25, 2017) “We feed our peoples and build the movement to change the world!” This is the call carrying hundreds of delegates of La Vía Campesina, the international peasant movement, to the Basque Country from the 16th to the 24th of July to celebrate their 7th Conference.

The International Conference of La Via Campesina (LVC), held every four years, is the highest forum gathering representatives from member organisations of peasants, small and medium size producers, landless people, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from all over the world. Collectively representing over 200 million people, these delegates will decide common strategies and host internal debates for the growing global movement.

For a week in Derio, Basque Country, representatives will discuss local experiences as well as international processes such as  the Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas or the negotiations for an international legally binding instrument against the abuse of multinational corporations  in the UN Human Rights Council. The different regions of LVC will also present their struggles, such as the European region’s struggle for a new Common Agricultural Policy and reform against the concentration of land; the struggle in Africa, for seed sovereignty; of the Latin American struggle for popular agrarian reform and against corporate interest; and the campaigns of the Asian regions against free trade agreements (FTAs), GMOs and the challenge faced by some of their areas in light of rising sea levels due to climate change.

A particular focus will be given to issues such as: the impact of FTAs ​​on Food Sovereignty, corporate capture and patenting of seeds, criminalization of the movement and even the murder of leaders, peasant solutions to climate change and agroecology as a way of exercising Food Sovereignty in our territories. There will be events open to the public scheduled for July 19 in Derio (for the opening of the Conference) and on July 23 in a march from Dario to the Plaza Nueva in Bilbao, where a public political event will be held.

At a time where, on the one hand, the importance of food chains is gaining ground in public opinion, but on the other, global abuses against peasant communities intensify, the conclusions of this meeting aim to be a significant advance in the struggle for Food Sovereignty, in turn to strengthen the work carried out by La Via Campesina for the realization of peasants’ rights and, therefore, peace and justice in rural communities and the world.

Lynne Davis