By Eduardo Camín Nodal *
Depending on the time, the space and the social organization of the peoples, the management of land and territories has taken different forms. Some communities have prioritized the collective use of the land and continue to advocate it. For indigenous peoples the sale of "mother earth" is unimaginable.
It is essential to prioritize, beyond private property, the social function of land, land as a place of life. Property rights relating to land are generally conceived without regard for human rights. However, this is an essential question.
Rights related to land have a real impact on the enjoyment of the right to food, housing, health, work, a healthy environment, and development.
Without access to land, many communities are deprived of their livelihoods.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the enjoyment of all human rights depends on policies and legislation relating to the land. The absence of agrarian reforms and practices such as forced displacement, large-scale land grabbing, unequal trade rules, stock market speculation on food products, destruction of the environment, discrimination and exclusions against peasant families and other food producers represent a source of human rights violations.
It is in this context that the demand of the peasants in relation to the land must be analyzed. In a reflection on the current disastrous state of the environment, its pollution and destruction.
Francisco Chatel, a Latin American intellectual, exhorts humanity, asking it to "stop behaving as if nature belongs to it" and seeks answers to the following questions.
“Do you have to count on Nature or not? Take it into consideration, yes, but how? Ignore it and finish exploiting it to destruction, is this conceivable? And what is done, will it be done according to the populations? In a truly democratic way? This is what Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, states in his last report submitted to the Human Rights Council: On the environmental level, the “green revolution” of the 20th century with its industrial methods of agricultural production, “led to an increase in monocultures and consequently, a considerable loss of agricultural biodiversity as well as an acceleration of soil erosion.
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers polluted the fresh water, increasing its phosphorus content, which translated into an estimated increase in phosphorus entry into the oceans (…) greenhouse gas emissions (…) Increasing the yield alone does not Enough.
Any methodology to increase yields that ignores the need for the transition to sustainable production and consumption, and the reduction of rural poverty, will not only be incomplete but will also have detrimental impacts, worsen the ecological crisis and increase the gap between different categories of food producers.
There is an overproduction of food in the world.
If nearly a billion people go hungry, it is not because of a lack of food but because it is poorly distributed and the vast majority do not have the means to provide it. At first glance, the link between the right to land and the issue of food waste and quality does not seem obvious.
However, there is a correlation between them since fertile lands are under increasing pressure with the promotion of monocultures and the extreme use of chemistry.
These procedures not only destroy the environment but also use a lot of non-renewable energy and are very often used for bad purposes according to the logic of personal benefit and not of collective need.
* Journalist, International Head of El Hebdolatino Geneva