Why we left our farms to come to Copenhagen–La Vía Campesina

Speech of Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina at the opening session of Klimaforum

I would like to share with you some facts about who the
emitters of green house gases in agriculture really are: new data that
has come out clearly shows that industrial agriculture and the
globalized food system are responsible of between 44 and 57% of total
global greenhouse gas emissions.

This figure can be broken down as follows:
(i) Agricultural activities are responsible for 11 to 15%,
(ii) Land clearing and deforestation cause an additional 15 to 18%,
(iii) Food processing, packing and transportation cause 15 to 20%, and
(iv) Decomposition of organic waste causes another 3 to 4%. It means that our current food system is a major polluter.

And to achieve that we need social movements to work together and struggle together to put an end to the current false solutions that are today on the table at the climate negotiations. This is a must, otherwise we will face an even bigger tragedy worldwide. We, as social movements, have to bring our own agenda onto the table, because we are the first climate victims and climate refugees and therefore climate justice is in our hands.

At the FAO Food Summit in 1996, governments committed themselves to reduce hunger by half by 2015. The reality is that the number of hungry people has recently increased dramatically. We do not want the same thing to happen with the climate talks and see the emissions increase even further regardless of what the governments negotiate within the UNFCCC.

We invite all the movements present in Copenhagen to join together to bring climate justice to the table. Climate justice will only be achieved through solidarity and social justice.

Copenhagen, 7th December 2009


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