The 8th conference of La Via Campesina:

A call for inclusion of women, youth, diversity, struggles against patriarchy, solidarity and the recognition of peasants’ rights

The 8th conference of La Via Campesina (LVC) was held in Bogotá, from 1 to 8 December 2023, under the slogan: Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity. The conference was the first since the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 500 delegates from 81 countries and 182 peasant organisations attended the gathering. In the lead up to the conference, the 5th Youth Assemblythe 6th women’s assembly and a new space for “men against patriarchy” were also held. The meetings made it clear that inclusion will be a priority in LVC’s strategies and work for the years ahead.

LVC members recognise that gender equality, support for victims and greater participation of women in political and decision-making spaces must be pursued to stop and dismantle patriarchy.

They also recognised that, in order to fight against patriarchy, it is necessary to overcome cultural and legal obstacles that exist in some countries, where the struggles of LVC members and their allies must be reinforced in order to change the contexts of inequality that especially impact women and diversities.

One of the main conference resolutions was for greater focus on concrete actions to increase the participation and representation of youth in political and decision-making spaces. An important step in this direction was the decision taken at the conference to increase the number of youth representatives in the International Coordinating Commission of La Via Campesina (ICC) to one youth per region, up from the previous policy of one youth per continent.

Like most of La Via Campesina’s events, the misticas generated lots of excitement and energy among the participants. In Bogotá, the misticas were integrated into the launch and performance of the official song of the 8th conference: “Back to the field”. These and other cultural events and celebrations held during the conference helped to build and deepen connections, friendship and unity among the diverse struggles that the members of LVC are engaged in around the world.

The 8th conference was a space to celebrate 30 years of LVC as a movement. During the past three decades, LVC has been the leading promoter of food sovereignty and peasant rights. It has worked with other movements and allies to confront the crises of capitalism, climate, COVID-19 and violence, among others, that affect peasants worldwide.

The conference was also a space to call for solidarity to achieve social justice and human rights. The solidarity expressed towards the Palestinian people who are suffering from a genocidal war against them, as well as other peoples in conflict, be it in Iraq, Chiapas, Myanmar, Ukraine, Libya, Syria or Eritrea, among others, was very important.

For the local organisations that are part of LVC, such as FENSUAGRO, the conference was a boost to their peasant struggles, especially as they are in the midst of an agrarian reform process that aims to give them more than 60,000 hectares in two years and as the Colombian government recently recognised peasants as subjects of rights and special protection through a modification of Article 64 of the Constitution.

For GRAIN and the more than 50 allied organisations that attended the conference it was an important moment to express our commitment to work hand in hand with LVC in a coordinated manner in all regions, to help achieve peasant demands and to contribute to the strengthening of the movement by providing information, research, training, cooperation and solidarity.

The final declaration of the 8th conference touches on the following issues:

  • Celebrating 30 years of LVC as a peasant movement
  • Confronting the global crises affecting peasants and the world’s peoples
  • Strengthening solidarity as a cornerstone of social justice and human rights
  • Continuing to build and strengthen food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity
  • Working for the full realisation of peasants’ rights.
  • Strengthening LVC through internal processes, solidarity and alliances

Globalise the struggle, globalise the hope!

This text was originally published by GRAIN. You can read it here.



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