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Declaration: Rights to water and land, a common struggle

Saturday 6 January 2018, by mcoul

Dakar in Tunis: Declaration of the Global Convergence of struggles for land and water

We, social and grassroots movements and civil society organizations, engaged in the defense of land and water rights, met in Dakar in October 2014 as part of the African Social Forum to fight and protest the grabbing of all natural resources, water and land, our commons, and the systematic violations of human rights that accompany them. The sharing of our ideas has led us to recognize the essential solidarity of our struggles, given the inextricable nature of the links between land grabbing, water and other natural resources. We met again at the World Social Forum in Tunis in March 2015 to continue this dialogue with movements and organizations around the world.
to broaden this convergence.

Today, more than 200 million hectares of land are monopolized worldwide by corporations, governments, elites, speculators, often backed by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the G8, and others. institutions and consortia. This domination by a minority on our common goods generates concentration, expulsion and enslavement of the populations. This is done in the name of environmental protection, under the pretext of stopping climate change, "clean" energy production, mega-infrastructure projects and / or in the name of so-called development, often promoted by public-private partnerships such as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa. Entire territories are thus emptied of their communities, while the loss of identity and the destruction of ecosystems make life impossible. Communities, whose rights and dignity have been violated, end up with unstructured families or transformed into refugee communities, forced to migrate, without rights, impoverished, hungry. It is estimated that 3000 people die every day for lack of water. Access and management of community living spaces are destroyed by military and armed groups that perpetuate war and occupation, criminal state law enforcement agencies, supported by economic, financial and political elites. This undermines local food systems and a large number of local producers who actually feed the vast majority of the world’s population.

When people resist, they are criminalized, imprisoned and murdered.

Thus, the enormous profits of an elite are built on the systematic violation of the human rights of the majority of peasants, inhabitants of popular or informal neighborhoods, fishermen, pastoral and nomadic communities, indigenous peoples and communities, rural and urban workers and consumers, especially young people and women, who are expropriated from their lands and livelihoods through violence, intimidation and torture.

Land grabbing is always accompanied by water grabbing by various means: non-sustainable crops consuming water, privatization of water distribution and management services (which steal this vital resource from those who can not pay for it), the contamination of groundwater by uncontrolled mining, the modification of river courses and the flow of water through the construction of dams and the resulting eviction of communities, the militarization of access points to water and territories, the expulsion of herders and fishermen from their living environment, for example through practices such as sand extraction on the coasts.

The criminalization of activists fighting for the protection of the commons is now a common phenomenon, though hidden by the authorities. Because land and water are increasingly scarce resources, and therefore crucial for the security of societies and the sovereignty of states today and tomorrow! However, this organization of scarcity, which is at the root of the water, land and food crises, is not a natural datum, it is constructed by political, geostrategic and financial issues.

In response to these threats to our lives and well-being, we resist and fight. We promote our rights and present real solutions. We believe that people’s control and access to land and water are essential for peace, to stop climate change and to guarantee basic human rights and a dignified life for all. The fair and equitable distribution of land and water, and gender equality are essential for our vision of food sovereignty, based on agroecology (as described in the Declaration of the International Forum on Nyeleni Agroecology February 2015), local food systems, biodiversity, control of our seeds and respect for water cycles. This vision applies to rural, urban and peri-urban populations and includes relationships between producers and consumers based on mutual solidarity and cooperation.

Our solidarity is based on the following convictions and principles, which unite our struggles:

  • Human rights to water, food and land are fundamental and essential for life. All men and women, adults and children, rich or poor, rural or urban must be able to enjoy it.
  • Water and land are not only vital natural resources, but also part of our common heritage, whose security and governance must be preserved by each community for the common good of our societies and the environment, today. and for generations to come.
  • Water, land and seeds are common goods, not commodities.
  • The legal and constitutional mandate we recognize for the state is to represent the interests of the people. Reason why the state has the duty to oppose any international policy or treaty that threatens human rights and their own sovereignty, including dispute settlement mechanisms between companies and states, such as those included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the majority of investment treaties.
  • Land and water management policies must promote the achievement of social equity, gender equality, public health and environmental justice.
  • The firm refusal of any form of foreign occupation and domination.

That’s why, together, as civil societies from around the world, we are committed to:

  • sensitize, train and organize communities in urban and rural areas to build a strong and united movement to fight for recognition and respect for our human rights to food, water and land, and territories;
  • defend in all jurisdictions the right of citizens and communities to free, prior and informed consent and full participation in the governance of natural resources;
  • synergize groups from all sectors engaged and fighting against land and water grabbing to form national and regional platforms to strengthen international convergence of land and water struggles;
  • recover our lands, waters and seeds; to recover the legitimate political spaces for which we fought as rights holders, such as the Committee on World Food Security and Nutrition; and to resist the grabbing of our language that aims to support false solutions, such as climate smart agriculture;
  • solidarity with and support for human rights defenders and those who oppose land and water grabbing, especially when they are criminalized;
  • to oppose all national policies and international treaties that favor the privatization and commodification of natural resources and the grabbing of land and water, including pre-paid cards for access to water; automatic tariff adjustment, and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between EU and ACP countries, both for goods and services;
  • denounce the World Bank’s business case rankings and biodiversity offsets, which rely only on the speculation register, to the detriment of human and social rights criteria and environmental, and promote land and water grabbing.

We demand from international institutions, states and local authorities:

  • to recognize the indivisibility of human rights and their obligations for their realization, especially for vulnerable and marginalized groups, women and young people. They must systematically apply the human rights approach, refrain from violations, and prevent and prosecute human rights abuses;
  • put in place adequate policies for land reform, land reform, real restitution and equitable redistribution and sustainable management of land, water and other natural resources;
  • to adopt policies, including development and cooperation policies, that aim at empowering and empowering communities rather than being based on economic and geopolitical interests;
  • to respect, protect and fulfill the human right to water and sanitation which was recognized and clarified by the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly 69/2010, adopting the constitutional and legislative measures guaranteeing all and all the availability and accessibility of water and sanitation services, as well as the concrete justiciability of the human right to water;
  • to recognize, respect and protect customary collective rights on access, security and governance of land, water and natural resources, our commons, guaranteeing women’s rights;
  • to respect their obligations not to recognize illegal situations, including especially prohibited acts committed by occupying forces, and not to cooperate or interact with stakeholders involved in illegal situations or benefiting from them;
  • to ensure the free, prior and informed consent of the people and the full participation in any decision concerning the management of land, water or other natural resources. To not only hear but take into account our demands and our right to say No to land and water grabbing;
  • to implement the International Labor Organization’s Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • to explicitly endorse the promotion of human rights, including human rights to water, food and land, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals of the post-2015 UN Agenda;
  • Immediately implement the CFS / FAO Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests Tenure and the FAO Guidelines for Ensuring the Sustainability of Artisanal Fisheries, ensuring our participation as bearers rights; and to promulgate national laws that fully guarantee the justiciability of the provisions protecting the rights of individuals;
  • to support and adopt the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other Persons Working in Rural Areas, which is being developed at this time in the UN Human Rights Council;
  • to adopt and implement a binding treaty to prevent and punish the crimes of multinational corporations and other enterprises;
  • to adopt relevant international law measures and tools, within the framework of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), in order to concretely strengthen the human right to water and sanitation, to clarify and specify the obligations of States, and to prevent any form of water grabbing.

We call on civil societies, social and grassroots movements, NGOs and trade unions around the world to engage in this discussion and strengthen this statement and support these demands with all available means. Only by solidifying our struggles, from the protection of our rights to resources essential for life, can we make the voice of civil society heard in the negotiations towards the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal post. -2015, the implementation of international and regional guidelines on land and natural resources, and the COP 2015 to stop climate change.

By continuing to build this Convergence, we recognize and appreciate our diversity and the initiatives that are and will be proposed, and on which we will continue to debate and discuss. In view of this, we commit ourselves to disseminate this statement widely. We will share it with our communities in our territories, to continue to involve them in the process of building this Convergence.

Water and earth, same damage even fight!

Tunis, March 28, 2015


Notre Terre est notre Vie - lorsque les araignées unissent leurs toiles, elles nouent un lion

Lieu :

One line


La CGLTE OA Co organisé avec AFSA, AEFJN, CICODEV, ACT Alliance-EU, CIDSE, SECAM et RWA dans le cadre de la Conférence de la société civile VENRO Afrique-Europe, un webinaire sur :

  • Responsabilité sociale des communautés confessionnelles
  • Rôle des femmes dans le développement rural: agroécologie, sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle
  • Accaparement des terres et mécanismes de suivi et de contrôle des activités d’investissement de l’UE (UNDROP et ETO)
  • Financement de l’agroécologie: à quelles conditions peut-on financer des travaux pour les transitions agroécologiques

Forum Africain sur le rôle et responsabilité des femmes et des jeunes dans la gouvernance foncière

Lieu :

Centre International de Formation en Agroécologie de Nyeleni, Selingué, Mali du 05 au 08 Dec


Le Forum regroupera environ, 600 personnes constitués des autorités coutumières, des représentants des femmes et des jeunes du secteur informel, des représentants des communautés victimes d’accaparement des terres, d’OSC, des universitaires et des autorités administratives et politiques venant de l’Afrique.

Caravane Ouest Africaine, droit à la Terre, à l’Eau et à l’Agroécologie paysanne: une lutte commune !

Lieu :


Après celle de mars 2016, la CGLTE OA organise la deuxième édition de la caravane ouest africaine, Droit à la terre, l’eau et à l’Agroécologie Paysanne : une lutte commune ! du 10 au 30 novembre 2018
Guinée - Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo et Benin
Plus de 300 personnes participeront à cet évènement qui touchera plus de 10 000 personnes composées de Communautés, Organisations et Mouvements Paysans, Eleveurs, Pêcheurs… ONG, Défenseurs des droits humains, Femmes, Jeunes.