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The source for this hails from inside the Library Document Center section of site. As such, the Spanish translation not incomplete. Whoever can help by creating the missing part, please e-mail it to dave. Many thanks.

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Via Campesina Seattle Declaration

December 3, 1999

Agriculture out of WTO -- Towards an alternative to neoliberal policies and institutions such as WTO, Worldbank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Via Campesina believes that we are experiencing a historic moment of international struggle. Massive mobilizations carried out throughout this week were the climax of years of intensive work of social movements and non-governmental organizations and they led to a near complete standstill of the WTO negotiating process. A de facto moratorium has now been established. Furthermore, we made an enormous leap by reaching millions of people directly and indirectly through the media with our actions. We are convinced that our resistance will continue to grow over the next years. This process is irreversible.

On Thursday evening (December 2, 1999) in a desperate attempt to save the Ministerial Conference the United States and the European Union showed their real faces: united against the rest of the world. The so called conflict between the US and the Cairns Group on the one hand, and the EU, Japan, Korea, Norway, and Switzerland on the other hand, was constructed to mislead and divide public opinion. The governments of the main economic power (EU, US) together with the transnational corporations (TNCs) are forcing their agenda onto peasants, farmers and indigenous communities around the world. We will never accept this arrogance.

Clearly, agriculture and food have become key issues and there is a need for profound change of the neoliberal policies and global institutions such as the WTO, IMF and WB. As a consumer leader put it: "eating has become a political act". The Via Campesina adds: "producing quality products for out own people has also become a political act."

The neo-liberal agricultural policies have led to the destruction of our family farm economies and to a profound crisis in our societies and threatens the very coherence of our societies: the right to produce our food for our own consumers, with great diversity in production and consumption according to cultural preferences. This touches our very identities as citizens of this world.

The clearest example of the violation of our identity is the fact that TNCs are imposing genetically engineered food. In a recent move the US and the EU tried to bring the discussion on biosafety and GMOs -- in essence, whether we have the right to protect ourselves against the importation of GMO products -- in the WTO through a "Biotechnology working group". We consider this as a scandalous and provocative violations of our rights as citizens.

Via Campesina rejects the neo-liberal policies that push countries into cash crop export production at the expense of domestic food production. These policies contribute to low commodity prices that are far lower than the real cost of production. Developing countries are forced to adopt these policies in order to pay their external debt. These countries must also open their borders to the importation of food which leads to even greater debt. The governments of the rich countries are giving massive subsidies without limit per farm in order to compensate price cuts and allows the TNCs to buy cheaply. This way these public funds are a direct support for industry and not for farmers. This is a vicious circle which benefits only the TNCs.

There is no doubt that the WTO is an instrument that places greater control and profits in the hands of the TNCs. The WTO is a totally inappropriate institution for democratic decision-making and policy formulation on important issues such as food sovereignty, health and environmental legislation, management of genetic resources, water, forestry and land, and the organisaton of agricultural markets.

A profound reform of the WTO in order to make it respond to the rights and needs of people would mean the abolition of the WTO itself! We do not believe that the WTO will allow such a profound reform. Therefore, the Via Campesina, as an international movement responsible for the agricultural sector, demands that agriculture should be taken out of the WTO. Perhaps more appropriately, let's take the WTO our of agriculture. We invite other sectors to demand the same.We, as societies, must create an alternative to the current neo-liberal policies and to institutions such as the WTO, WB and the IMF. We must civilize these international policies and institutions. The Via Campesina invites social movements to initiate a participatory process with national governments to further develop an alternative model. This alternative should include the following:

  • Establish alternatives to the neo-liberal policies and institutions such as the WTO, WB and the IMF.

  • Continue to mobilize public opinion to pressure TNCs and large trading powers.

  • Strengthen the UN and develop new instruments within the UN system to increase transparency and democratic control. These institutions should represent the priorities and needs of people and ensure food security and fair trade.

The Via Campesina has the following demands:

  • A moratorium on further WTO negotiations.

  • Remove all negotiation in the areas of food production and marketing from the WTO.

  • To create genuine international democratic mechanisms to regulate food trade while respecting food sovereignty in each country.

  • To stop all discussion on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

  • To secure food sovereignty in each and every country giving priority to food production fo its people, social aspects and environment.

  • To cancel the obligation of accepting the minimum importation of 5% of internal consumption. All compulsory market access clauses must be cancelled.

  • To give each country the right to define their own agricultural policies in order to meet their internal needs. This includes the right to prohibit imports in order to protect domestic production and to implement Agrarian Reform providing peasants and small to medium-sized producers with access to land.

  • Stop all dumping. Protect the production of staple domestic foods.

  • To prohibit biopiracy and patents on life (animal, plants, parts of the human body) including the development of sterile varieties through genetic engineering.

  • To allow countries the right to establish food quality criteria appropriate to the preference of its people.

Via Campesina calls upon international and national movements, and non-governmental organizations to build strong alliances to continue to fight these neo-liberal policies and to build alternatives. If we continue to work together we will succeed!

Let's globalize the struggle -- let's globalize hope.

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Declaracion De La Via Campesina En Seattle

Diciembre, 3 1999

Fuera la agricultura de la OMC. Hacia una alternativa para las politicas neo liberales e instituciones como la Orgranizacion Mundial del Comercio (OMC), Banco Mundial y Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI).

La Vía Campesina cree que estamos viviendo un momento histórico de lucha internacional .Las movilizaciones masivas, realizadas durante esta semana fueron el clímax, despues de años de trabajo intensivo de movimientos sociales y organizaciones no gubernamentales. Estas acciones han llevado a una paralización casi total del proceso de negociaciones de la OMC. De hecho, la Moratoria se ha establecido, además hemos dado un salto enorme, relacionándonos con millones de personas a través de nuestras acciones, tanto en forma directa como a través de los medios de comunicación.

Estamos convencidos que nuestra resistencia va a aumentar en los últimos años. Este proceso es irreversible.

El jueves 2 de diciembre por la noche, en un desesperado intento por salvar la Conferencia Ministerial, los Estados Unidos y la Unión Europea, mostraron sus verdaderas caras: están unidos con pocos países contra el resto del mundo. Por un lado, los Estados Unidos con el grupo Cairns y por otro lado la Unión Europea, Japón, Corea, Noruega y Suisa estaban creando un aparente conflicto para desviar y dividir la opinión pública. Los gobiernos que representan los poderes económicos más importantes: UE y USA, junto con las trasnacionales (TSA) están imponiendo su agenda sobre los campesinos y comunidades indígenas alrededor del mundo. Nunca aceptaremos esta actitud prepotente.

Claramente, la agricultura y la alimentación están siendo un tema clave y existe la necesidad de un cambio profundo de las políticas neo liberales e instituciones globales como la OMC, FMI y BM. Como ha expresado un líder del movimiento de consumidores: "comer se esta convirtiendo en un acto politico."

Las políticas agrícolas neo liberales han llevado a la destruccion de nuestras economías campesinas y han creado una crisis profunda en nuestras sociedades, amenazando la coherencia de las mismas: el derecho de producir nuestros alimentos para nuestros propios consumidores, con gran diversidad de producción y de consumo y de acuerdo con nuestras preferencias culturales. Esto afecta nuestra propia identidad como ciudadanos de este mundo.

El ejemplo más claro de la violación de nuestra identidad es el hecho que las TNS están imponiendo la alimentación genéticamente modificada. En una reciente acción los EE, UU, y la UE, trataron de trasladar la discusión sobre Bio seguridad y OGMs -- en esencia, si tenemos el derecho de protegernos contra la importación de productos OGMs -- dentro de la OMC a través de un grupo de trabajo sobre biotecnología. Nosotros consideramos esto, como una escandalosa y provocativa violación de nuestros derechos como ciudadanos.

Vía Campesina rechasa políticas neo-liberales que empujan a los países en una producción para la exportación, en detrimento de la producción alimentaria doméstica Los países en vías de desarrollo, están forzados a aceptar estas politicas para pagar su deuda externa. Estos países también tienen que abrir sus fronteras para la importación de alimentos, lo cual aumenta la misma deuda.Es un círculo vicioso que beneficia solamente a las TNS. Los gobiernos de los países ricos, están compensando, de manera ilimitada con grandes cantidades de fondos públicos, la baja de precios y permiten así a las TNS, comprar barato. De esta forma, los fondos públicos son un apoyo directo a la industria y no a los campesinos. Estas políticas contribuyen a bajar los precios, de tal manera que son mucho más bajos que el costo real de producción.

No hay duda que la OMC es un instrumento que dá más control y más beneficio a las TNS. La OMC es una institución totalmente inapropiada para la toma de decisiones y la formulación de políticas democráticas sobre temas importantes como la Soberanía Alimentaria, legislación ambiental y de salud, la gestión de recursos genéticos y cultura

Una reforma profunda de la OMC. para que responda a los derechos y necesidades de los pueblos, significaría de hecho, la abolición de la misma.Nosotros no creemos que la OMC permita una reforma profunda, por eso la Via Campesina como movimiento internacional responsable para el sector agrícola, pide que se excluya la agricultura de la OMC. Quizá es más apropiado sacamos la OMC de la agricultura. Invitamos a otros sectores

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