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European Green Deal

Two years on: the UNDROP must be built into the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the CAP strategic plans

By Staff - La Via Campesina, January 13, 2021

Two-years after the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP), considerable work remains to implement and guarantee the rights it sets out – the Green Deal, Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) and the CAP national strategic plans are the place to start.

For European Coordination Via Campesina, the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the European Green Deal can only be reached by integrating clear measures to implement the UNDROP, including within the CAP national strategic plans. Peasant agroecological methods and family farming offer ready-made, proven solutions to climate and biodiversity issues. A clear shift of European Policy in support of these practices would help to avoid the various human rights, economical and social issues facing small-scale farmers and agricultural and migrant workers, many of which were highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID19 pandemic.

The UNDROP represents an opportunity to transform food systems in an holistic way, with the long-term vision needed to tackle climate change. These key rights, if respected and used as a framework, would lead the EU towards achieving the Green Deal goals. To give just a few examples, proper implementation of Article 14, to ensure healthy working conditions for peasants and migrant workers, could have prevented the unsafe working conditions of slaughterhouse and other agrifood workers around Europe in the recent pandemic.[i] Further subsections of Article 14, relating to the use and handling of toxic and harmful chemicals, along with the right to traditional peasant seeds highlighted in Article 19, are key to achieve the EU’s goals on pesticide reduction and preventing the pollution of natural areas.[ii] If the rights laid out in Article 17, relating to access to, use of and control over land, were protected, the land grabbing and concentration that contributes to significant losses of biodiversity could be tackled and the EU’s focus on next generation farming (a key topic of today’s Agricultural Outlook conference) given a bigger focus.[iii]

The clear parallels that can be drawn between the outcomes of the proper implementation of the UNDROP and the goals of the Green Deal and F2F Strategy highlight the important role that peasant farmers, who represent the backbone of EU agriculture, have to play within the urgent agriculture transition.

This legal tool offers a ready-made, rights-based roadmap for EU Institutions and Member States to ensure the objectives laid out for the future of EU agriculture, so that they can be achieved in an effective and democratic way that will truly “leave no one behind”.

Moreover, at both European and national levels, the many organisations that have been fighting to implement and ensure these rights for decades, such as ECVC, it’s member organisations and allies, can offer expertise on policy proposals towards a paradigm shift and achieve real change for our food systems and consequently to society and the planet. Instead of focusing on purely profit-oriented, technical and digital solutions that in the end promote further intensification through intensive livestock farming and monocultures, allowing large scale food-industry to maintain the status quo and putting the costs of the long term impacts of those model of productions on the shoulders of the future generations, it is now time for fair food and agricultural policies promoting healthy economies and fair models of production and distribution that guarantee the right to quality food for all citizens.

The EU must ensure that the Farm to Fork Strategy is in line with the UNDROP declaration and use these tools, resources and knowledge to act now, before it’s too late.

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