Youth

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CSM Youth Working Group

Coordinators

Margarita Gomez – La Via Campesina (LVC) Argentina

Nzira Deus – World March of Women (WMW) Mozambique

Draft CSM Youth Vision

September 2019

We the Youth constituency of the CSM gathering smallholders and family farmers, indigenous peoples, fisherfolks, agricultural and food workers, women, landless, consumers, pastoralists and urban food insecure defend the explicit recognition of the different constituencies within youth. As food producers and contributors to the economy and communities Youth entails a plurality of understanding, experiences, knowledge, and expectations towards the future. We are political subjects and have the right, capacity, and agency to build spaces of solidarity, inclusion, and dignity. We learn from and exchange with different struggles, movements, institutions and alternative voices. Through practicing and sharing our diverse knowledges and cultures, including indigenous knowledges and practices we build resilience against growing corporatization while co-creating life-affirming worlds and futures by building strong connections to the land, water, seeds, plants, and all living beings to achieve food sovereignty for all.

By the inclusive space of CSM and CFS we want to lay down the basis for strong human rights-based policy dialogues acknowledging the participation and rights of Youth as a cornerstone of public policies on food security and nutrition and ensure an active and inclusive engagement of young women and men across all sectors through our traditional knowledge and livelihoods.

The world is at a crossroads. The number of food insecure and malnourished is rising, the current food systems are broken, communities and the planet ecosystems are facing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity and the climate change has become a crisis, dramatically changing communities’ relation with natural resources and territories, forcing millions to leave their homes and families. We cannot ignore longer these huge challenges. What will be left for us as a youth and future generations?  And what is our active role in reversing this dramatic trend, also in the CFS?

This requires the establishment of coherent public policies conducive to the self-determination of Youth and our full inclusion in the governance of our families, communities, and organizations. It is needed that appropriate public policies ensure a sustainably integration of Youth in policy decision-making processes, on all levels, local, national, regional and global, are adopted. In this sense, the essential role of Youth as an economic, social and cultural actor for inclusive development for local communities as well as the leadership, agency, autonomy, and diversity of Youth in food security and nutrition and food sovereignty related policy process need to be recognized and defended on a constant basis. In this way, young women and men will be able to integrate into the family and socio-professional group, feel useful through civic action and benefit from it. Strengthening our social capital as an active part of our communities and territories and ensuring a clear focus on Youth agency and autonomy for our future will rebuild the status of Youth.

We cannot think about young people only as employees of the labor force: we feel proud to live in the countryside and be food producers, generate our own income and contribute to the economy by being job providers as well as seekers. A transformation in the perception of the Youth is highly required in order for Youth to take pride and make a respected living with fishing, gathering, hunting, farming, and pastoralism contributing to the economy; lowering the forced migration and contributing to the eradication of hunger in the world. To achieve that we all need to work together to assure decent income, dignified and remunerative livelihoods at home, decent work and working conditions responding to the needs, rights, and demands of our diverse youth constituencies promoting young people’s embeddedness in social relations in their families and communities.

To assure permanence, retention and return to the rural areas of young people, Youth needs to have access, control, ownership and autonomy over land, water, all natural and material resources and means of production to process and value their works and products through the local knowledge, popular education and training and capacity already existing within their communities.

We need public policies that allow us to advance in the way we define ourselves in terms of ways and means of production, in health, in education, in recreation, social services, access to local markets, to native seeds.

We are opposing the policies and practices contributing to social inequalities and the alarming rates of hunger and malnutrition in the world such as land grabbing, exploitation, discrimination, and destruction of our planet which continue to undermine the livelihoods of our generation as well as of future generations.

We advocate for strengthening the traditional livelihood and we defend the generation and implementation of community-based alternatives and solutions. Our vision entails just transition in food systems and transition, wide-spreading Agroecology as a way of production, lifestyle, way to care for human beings’ health, as an answer to climate change, loss of biodiversity and ecological destruction, as a way to integrate knowledge and ancestral practices. Here we need to stress and focus specifically on Women and women’s rights in agroecology as well as the role of women for transforming rural areas.

We require that the acknowledgment of our rights as Youth, as Women, and as a holder of human rights, as indigenous peoples, as peasants: the rights of our identities, in our lands and territories.

Making this vision operational in the CFS requires the CFS members and participants:

  • To promote, generate and provide access to ground-up, grassroot, community-based and diversified educational, training and capacity building initiatives for Youth enhancing participatory and inclusive engagement, leadership and self-determination. Integrate concrete examples from our territories and lessons learned from the practices of Agroecology and Food sovereignty to share important experiences of local economies.
  • Ensure access to financing programs, access to appropriate credit and technical support for permanence, retention and return to the rural areas of young people.
  • Protect, fulfill and recognize women’s rights, women’s autonomy and self-determination of their lives and bodies.
  • Address the high rates of youth unemployment and challenges of youth workers by providing opportunities for Youth to create job opportunities and own decent income and not be just workers.
  • Recognize and support the core role of small-scale food producers for food security and nutrition and a healthy, sustainable, socially just food system. Strengthen small and marginal farmers and artisanal and traditional fishing communities.
  • Apply a comprehensive and holistic outlook and understanding of the whole cycle of production and consumption and how it is affecting our present, future and Youth.
  • Fight the current model of production and consumption in food and agriculture, fisheries, livestock providing resources mainly to corporations and private sector and disregarding the local communities, Nature, traditional forms of livelihood and Youth. Promote practices that protect and enhance biodiversity as a public good as opposed to industrial innovations, technological and genetically engineered model of agriculture and food production for private profit such as biotechnology.
  • Alarm the huge crisis due to climate changes in the world for the local rural communities and Youth. Act accordingly by applying agroecological solutions and ways of production.
  • Stop the exploitation of oceans, rivers, lakes and marine resources; Fight land grabbing; corporate control and dematerialization of seeds and genetic resources;
  • Create awareness on the evil effects of conflicts, wars and occupations and the need to have youth involved in peace processes.
  • Build capacity to ensure youth voices and advocacy on structural causes of dispossession. Reinforcing the importance of autonomy over our own diverse and territorial markets.
  • Eliminate corruption at local, national and international governance. Ensure Youth involvement at all levels of decision making, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • Adopt stringent laws against criminalization and murdering of human rights defenders and community leaders. Perform defense of the territories on behalf of everyone in the communities including Youth.
  • Create an enabling environment and establish linkages, synergies and convergence processes between local to global struggles of peasants, pastoralists, fisher-folk, tribal and indigenous communities, and their rights.
  • Build and facilitate a united alliance of Youth promoting the concept of one fight as one voice. Ensure the crucial position of Youth as a vehicle of information for the entire communities.
  • Provide an inclusive, transversal and crosscutting approach toward Youth. Ensure strategic intersectional youth engagement by integrating representative of diversified youth in terms of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, culture, social and physical ability, constituency and continent, etc. Recognize the pivotal role of indigenous youth.
  • Ensure the right for youth organizations to self-organize, re-build trust and de-construct fear by generating hope.
  • The recently launched Global Action Plan for the Decade of Family Farming recognizes youth as one of the key pillars and agents for the next 10 years’ framework. The Action Plan states that “the future of food and agriculture lies in the hands of the next generation” of family farmers and rural communities. It also says that a “coordinated response to the complex challenges that youth face is more urgent than ever” and that there is an urgent need to improve youth capacities “for collective action” as the way forward to “reframe society’s perception of family farming as a dynamic sector with constant renewal capacity”. Governments need to take up this commitment seriously.

CSM Youth Working Group’s side event during CFS 46th:

The future of food and the visions of the youth: “We don’t inherit land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” (Native American Saying)

CSM Youth WG is organizing a side event on 18th October at 08.30-10.00 in Iraq Room (Building A Room 235) with the participation of IFAD and Costa Rica as panelists.

The world is at a crossroads. The number of food insecure and malnourished is rising, the current food systems are broken, communities and the planet ecosystems are facing an unprecedented loss of biodiversity and the climate change has become a crisis, dramatically changing communities’ relation with natural resources and territories, forcing millions to leave their homes and families. We cannot ignore longer these huge challenges. What will be left for us as a youth and future generations?  And what is our active role in reversing this dramatic trend, also in the CFS?

The recently launched Global Action Plan for the Decade of Family Farming recognizes youth as one of the key pillars and agents for the next 10 years’ framework. The Action Plan states that “the future of food and agriculture lies in the hands of the next generation” of family farmers and rural communities. It also says that a “coordinated response to the complex challenges that youth face is more urgent than ever” and that there is an urgent need to improve youth capacities “for collective action” as the way forward to “reframe society’s perception of family farming as a dynamic sector with constant renewal capacity”.

CSM youth comprises the voices of the youth constituencies most at risk but also most contributing to food security and nutrition. Through a consultative process, we are finalizing our vision, articulating our demands and needs, identifying the tools to fully realize them. We are not just an additional element of the labor market, we are agents of change, we are voices that need to be heard and we are fostering on the ground changes for a sustainable and just, rural and urban environment for all.

With this side event, we want to take the opportunity to present our visions, to highlight the urgent need of recognizing youth as a fundamental actor in the decision-making and policy debate and to stress once again that youth is not a monolithic agent but is a plural political subject inspired by its diversity and intersectionality.

We will use this space to address the issues that are at the core of our own path of empowerment and development: the access to territories, natural resources and means of production, including the ownership of land and natural resources such as water among others; the need of public policies that allow us to advance in the way we define, but also support our empowerment through health, education, recreation, social services, access to local markets and to native seeds; the need of promoting finance programs for the permanence, retention and return to the rural areas of young people as a way to revert the process of forced migration from rural areas; the need to have full recognition of our diversity and autonomy as young peasants, farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, rural and urban youth, workers, consumers, and especially as contributors to the economy; the need to have full recognition of our rights as youth.