Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium -
29th November 2010
Thanks to the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and non-Violence received in 2009 Mr Francois Houtart was able to organize the First International Conference on Sustainable Development of Peasant Agriculture in Beijing, China, with participants from: Belgium, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
OUTLINE OF THE PROJECT
- Main reason: The present land concentration in the Southern continents is an equivalent of a real counter‑land‑reform. it is due to the introduction of an increasing economic logic, based on cash crops and monoculture. The result is a massive destruction of biodiversity and the progressive disappearance of peasant agriculture. One aspect of it is the development of agrofuel. Hence the necessity of studying the conditions of economic, social and cultural efficiency of peasant agriculture, on the base of concrete experiences and scientific research.
- Occasion: the reception by F. Houtart of the Madanjeet Singh Prize of UNESCO, which allowed to prepare the project.
- Previous contacts: participation to various seminars of La Via Campesina in Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua and various researches on agrofuels in the 3 continents. Book of F. Houtart translated into 6 languages, including Chinese.
- Method: to bring together academics, peasant movements and rural organization, in order to establish the main hypothesis of research and experimentation.
The first meeting in Asia is hosted by the Rural and Agrarian Institute of Renmin University in Beiging. The following countries will present papers (China, Vietnam, Mongolia, Korea, Taiwan, Sri lanka, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Thailand). The main background paper produced by Cetri and 2 country‑papers (Vietnam and Sri lanka) are given in annexe, as exemple.
- Among social movements and rural organizations: Mongolian Women Farmers, IBON (Phillipines), Chinese peasant cooperative, Monlar (Sri Lanka), Fian (India), La Via Campesina (assistant to the president), SPI (Indonesia)
- Among academic centres: Renmin University (Beiging), Hanoi University of Agriculture, Korean permaculture centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, Sriwijara University (Indonesia), Rural reconstruction centre (Nepal), Khao Kwan Foundation (Thailand).
- Expected result:
- A synthesis of the main papers and discussions on the future of peasant agriculture and its relations with cities, which will be put on the websites of La Via Campesina, the World Forum for Alternatives and Renmin University;
- A publication including the revised papers and the discussions;
- The constitution of an Asian Platform, between Asian social movements, Rural organizations and academic institutions, open to new members;
- An experience to promote the same initiative in Latin America and in Africa.
- Finances: Remin University is covering ali the local expenses. The Rosa Luxembourg Foundation is covering the expenses of the production of papers (6.000). Some participants will cover their travel expenses (Taiwan). The rest (about 14.000 euros) has been advanced by Cetri (on the UNESCO prize). A Chinese organization has promised 3000. We would like to ask the Programme of the CNCD, if possible, 5000. What can be recuperated by Cetri will serve to prepare similar meetings in Latin America and in Africa.