Asian Peasant Coalition (APC)
June 15, 2012
Twenty years after the 1992 UN Earth Summit—world leaders, UN agencies and other interested parties gather anew in Rio de Janeiro from 20-22 June 2012 to assess if and how the Earth Summit goals were achieved and to define measures that will chart the way towards Green Economy.
In the midst of intensifying world financial and economic crisis, the worsening global land grabbing, the unprecedented environmental degradation, and the imminent threat of catastrophic climate change, monopoly capitalist forces are more determined to squeeze super profits from underdeveloped nations by exploiting more their natural resources and labor force and frustrate people’s movements from pursuing their own development goals free from dictates and impositions of global monopoly capitalists.
Unfulfilled Earth Summit Promises
For the largely rural population in Asia, which consists of 70% of the region’s poor and marginalized, the promises of the Earth Summit were not fulfilled and were just made to be broken.
The over-all situation has grown from bad to worse for world small food producers. Poverty has increased by hundreds of millions more due the lack of genuine land reform and the tightening control of agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs) over agriculture, and government
Due to exploitation of natural resources by transnational monopolists, ecological disasters have become more frequent and destructive. The rural people, mostly women and children suffered most from these TNC driven disasters. There are no effective means to mitigate or cope with the impacts of climate change.
The problem of climate change is further worsened by seemingly unstoppable global land grabbing and plunders of natural resources. On top the climate change crisis, the working people, mainly the workers, the peasants and the rural people are losing their livelihood and the resources are further depleted and destroyed due to neo-liberal globalization policies including but not limited to Green Economy.
In short, there has been no genuine sustainable development but rather, more dispossessed, disempowered, and broken communities living on poisoned or fast-depleting natural resources.
Zero Draft hypes the Green economy
The likely outcome of the Rio+20 summit will be a declaration to define the future of sustainable development and build on the original 1992 Rio Declaration of Environment and Development (commonly known as the Rio Principles).
Unfortunately, the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 Summit glosses over how capitalist-driven development has made sustainable development an even more remote reality, except perhaps in communities where peoples’ movements have strongly resisted. The Zero Draft hypes the Green Economy and falsely states that it serves sustainable development and poverty eradication. But the Green Economy is anchored on the continuation
of existing policies of neo-liberal globalization with capitalists desperately seeking new opportunities for super profits.
While the Zero Draft expresses a commitment to promote gender equality, it lacks concrete measures and targets to do so. It is essential to ensure the active and meaningful participation of women in all decision-making processes, especially in defining sustainable development and
in upholding womens rights with respect to human rights.
Green Economy will worsen land and water grabbing
The Green Economy will exacerbate global land grabbing by foreign investors and governments elsewhere in Asia. In Indonesia, 288,500 hectares of agricultural lands were acquired by KS Oils (India), Noble Group (Singapore) and Wilmar International (Singapore) for edible-oil and palm oil. The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate mega-project that the Indonesian government is pursuing will convert 200,000 hectares of mainly
forested land in Papua, Indonesia into sugar-cane plantations. In the Philippines, 270,000 hectares of agricultural lands were obtained by Hassan Group (Bahrain), Itochu (Japan), Far Eastern Agricultural Investment Company (Saudi Arabia), Jeonnam Feedstock (South Korea), San Carlos Bio-Energy (United Kingdom), and South Korean government for their food and bio-fuels.
The G8 exploit the green economy slogan to convince underdeveloped economies to open their water resources including oceans and lakes, municipal waters and offshore waters to transnational investments for privatization, free entry of investments and denationalization.
The Philippine government had admitted that the Green Economy inspired project in Laguna Lake will sacrifice fishing in the guise of ‘national development’. Officials of the Aquino administration said the master plan will initially displace 82,000 fishing families or households in Laguna Lake or roughly 500,000 lake residents’ mainly small-scale fisherfolk and lake dwellers. The same situation happens in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Green Economy will further destroy the environment
The Green Economy furthers the commodification of forests and its harmful effects are already being felt by indigenous peoples across the world through the REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions Through Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme. REDD+ has actually opened the door to the legal destruction of forests and of grabbing lands from the indigenous peoples who owned the lands for generations. In a number of cases, REDD-type programmes have led to the criminalization of indigenous communities who defended their rights to land. In Indonesia, two REDD+ projects in Jambi and Central Borneo evicted the people from their farm lands and livelihood . The Indonesian government arrested and put in jail those who
oppose the REDD + program.
The Green Economy promotes the efficiency of managing natural resources for economic growth as it is defined by overproduction, and not by the planned economy of self-sustaining and sovereign communities and nations. It will strengthen the corporate intellectual property rights regime,
commodifying natural resources in the guise of preventing its plunder. It will encourage more private-public partnerships which will intensify the privatization of the worlds natural resources.
The Green Economy is not committed to seriously protect the environment and reduce world carbon emissions, but only allows companies to pay their way out of their excesses through carbon trading. Instead of protecting nature, the corporate vision of the green economy could lead to the devastation of habitats, destruction of forests and the privatization of land, water and resources by multinational companies, who want to expand the scope of financial markets in the name of conservation and preserve their privileges and super profits at the expense of the world’s poor.
Green economy will increase privatization of nature
The Green Economy entices corporations to further invest in agriculture in the guise of greening it through new technology. There has been a great push for genetically modified food and intensive chemical farming methods that keep power in the hands of agrochemical TNCs at the expense of people engaged in small-scale agriculture in underdeveloped countries. It endorses the use of agro-fuels derived from agricultural products like sugarcane and palm oil which have led to land grabbing and deforestation across the globe.
But these ‘new’ technologies and investments are actually geared towards opening up new markets through the increased privatization and commodification of nature and the ecosystem. They will only serve to further consolidate corporate control over agriculture, and promote even more harmful technologies. Furthermore, in the guise of calling them environmentally safe, the Green Economy justifies continued support to inequalities in the world’s economic trading system represented by the World Trade Organization.
Genuine Sustainable Development
The Rio+20 Summit must take into account the voices of rural producers—farmers, rural women, agricultural workers, pastoralists, dalits, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples — which make up the worlds majority population.
The summit is a huge opportunity to push for agrarian and rural-responsive policies and their implementation; various multi-level instruments that assure political and economic rights, control and access to land and resources; strong measures for the recognition and participation of women in all spheres of life. However, it is doubtful that these aspirations will be achieved within the framework of the Green Economy.
We believe that a Green Economy that follows primarily the profit-oriented corporate and financial interest would be disastrous for people and the environment. There is no other option but to resist Green Economy. We say…. Genuine sustainable development will be achieved only through social and economic justice.
We re-affirm that there can be no sustainable development without a radical rethinking of the concepts of growth, without serious criticism and reversal of the destructive policies of neo-liberal globalization, and without the genuine participation of peoples and social movements.
The Rio+20 Summit must take recognizance of this, if it is to pursue its mission to save the planet earth and its people. We assert the rights to development and sovereignty over land, water, life and biodiversity!
NO to GREEN ECONOMY!
FIGHT IMPERIALIST LANDGRABBING AND PLUNDER!
STRUGGLE FOR LAND, JOBS, FOOD, JUSTICE !