What is the Struggles for Land and Natural Resources Forum 2021?

The grabbing of agricultural land and natural resources by capitalist companies is accelerating. The expansion of agribusiness and extractivist companies is growing, through the plundering and appropriation of the best lands, forests, rivers and seas, destroying the different forms of agriculture, livestock, agroforestry and fishing. Marginalised and impoverished, social groups - families and rural communities - all over the world are experiencing an exodus to the urban periphery.

The objective of short-term financial profitability in agricultural and forestry production and fisheries is contradictory to the equitable sharing of the benefits of ecosystems and the wealth created from them. It also contradicts the preservation of soil fertility, biodiversity and climate.

We, farmers' networks and associations, propose to open a new space for global exchange. Our objective is to contribute to the enlargement of citizens' alliances, which are necessary at this scale to advance national and international regulations, which must protect and support rural and forest communities and their use of resources in the face of monopolists.

We hope to contribute to bringing together rural citizens' movements, urban citizens' movements and researchers in a collective reflection on the major issues related to access to and use of land and natural resources, and on the mobilisations and actions needed.

We propose to organise this reflection in five successive exchanges during the year 2021, on the following themes

  • Land reform and the conditions for maintaining an equitable distribution of land rights over time 
  • Women and youth access to land
  • Local land governance
  • The landless and the future of the commons
  • The regulation of transfers of rights to land and natural resources and other ways of concentrating these rights

In different and complementary ways, these themes reflect the major problems encountered by rural and forest communities. They question the ways in which land and resource use rights are defined and distributed, how wealth is created and shared, and more broadly, how people live and organise themselves around the common ground that is terrestrial plant areas. 

The objectives of the Forum

The organizers of this forum, from the five continents, faced with the urgency of the situations of land grabbing, but also of all the natural resources whose fair distribution is vital for our humanity, felt that it was necessary to meet throughout the world, in order to build common responses to the appropriation of land and resources by private companies and States.

To do this, we have set ourselves clear objectives:

  • Strengthen and expand alliances between movements and organizations and increase their political weight: This forum aims to open a space for debate between the very different types of communities in the world directly affected by issues of access to natural resources. These communities would benefit from getting to know each other better and exchanging ideas, so that the necessary political weight for social transformation can be built up. Thus we hope to contribute to bringing together rural citizens' movements, urban citizens' movements and researchers in a collective reflection on the major problems related to access to and use of land and natural resources, and on the mobilizations and actions needed. We are also marked by the need to look at the gender issues of peasant communities. Indeed, the use, marginalization and ownership of land vary widely according to gender. It is now essential to include this perspective in our analysis of the issues raised by access to natural resources.
  • To share experiences and build common responses. We believe in the growth of movements through the sharing of experiences, to advise and inspire the means of struggle. This is why the forum will be built little by little, online, during the two months that will follow each thematic webinar. The discussions will evolve with the proposals of each person and the final syntheses will be made on these bases.
  • Propose binding tools to demand changes from the grabbers who no longer represent us (states) and who are handing us all over to the interests of a few (private companies), without consultation, and in a violent way. Important tools have been put in place against land grabbing, but most of them are not binding, and do not prevent inequalities from growing in the long run. This is why this forum represents an opportunity for these participants to align themselves with the power levers that could be put in place, both locally and internationally.