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Newsletter AGTER. April 2019
Written by: Robert Levesque
Type of document: Newsletter
The world is facing a climate, biodiversity, and socio-economic crisis. Despite growing awareness amongst the general population, those in power continue to deny the reality of the situation. At this turning point in human history, we have two options: continue towards imminent collapse, or initiate an ecological and social transition. Achieving the latter will require us to modify existing paradigms, contradict dominant ideologies and put an end to capitalism and to the “homo economicus,” a goal that is as improbable as it is essential. AGTER’s mission and focus are highly relevant to the current situation, and the association has been working towards this paradigm shift since it was founded. We are directly involved in the pursuit of this profound change, which must take place at both the local and global levels if our planet is to remain livable.
At the end of 2018, AGTER co-produced a document entitled “Preserve and Share the Land” (see below). Land concentration in France has accelerated in recent decades. These processes of land accumulation, which are not measured or regulated by authorities, are completely lacking in transparency. Meanwhile, the dumping of bitumen and concrete on agricultural or forest lands is becoming more and more commonplace. In order to address this situation, AGTER and Terre de Liens propose that we restructure French land policy around two main pillars:
Zero artificialization (put a halt to the destruction of soil via concrete and bitumen) and
Land market regulation through departmental commissions for land use regulation, which would provide a public framework for encouraging local and democratic land governance that is guaranteed by the state.
It is essential that we recognize land as a Common Resource. It must be used in a way that is consistent with the interests of everyone.
Since early 2019, AGTER has been working to disseminate these proposals to an increasingly wide audience and to pass these ideas on to decision-makers in France. AGTER also intends to popularize conservation and land-sharing values at the European level and to spread them to other continents, building on the momentum created by the 2016 World Forum on Access to Land (FMAT) which took place in Valencia, Spain.
We invite you to review video footage of plenary sessions that took place during the FMAT, an international event that united more than 400 participants from 70 countries. We have also provided summaries of all the workshops on our resource site as well as many interviews with participants. www.agter.org/bdf/en/thesaurus_dossiers/motcle-dossiers-136.html
The French citizen’s collective against land grabbing, which Agter leads alongside the Confederation Paysanne, the Friends of the Earth, the collective Tany for the defense of Malagasy lands, ReAct and Grain (among others), works to publicize the negative effects of land grabbing. At the beginning of the year, it organized two conferences with representatives of communities affected by the plantations of the SOCFIN and Bolloré groups in Cambodia and Cameroon (video footage of these conferences will be available online soon).
Ekta Parishad, an Indian movement of landless farmers that is organizing a giant march to Geneva in 2020 (Jai Jagat: www.jaijagat2020.org/), presented on the condition of India’s landless populations at a thematic meeting that took place in 2018 (see video in English below).
Additionally, video footage of three other thematic meetings organized by AGTER are now available: 1/ on the Commons, 2/ on family farming, explored through the lens of economic anthropology and 3/ on the links between the agrarian crisis and the rise of Bolsonaro in Brazil.
We also invite you to listen to “Redistributing land: Utopia?,” a France Culture radio program that was attended by two AGTER members.
We have also included several articles written by AGTER members below. Lastly, two AGTER members contributed to a book that received the “Scientific and Technical Critic’s Prize” from the Cuban Book Institute in Havana in October 2018.
Translated from French to English : Jesse Rafert
Find here the full text AGTER newsletter of April 28, 2019