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History of IPC WG on Land, Forest, Water and Territory

The Land Working Group was formally created as a result of the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, where the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty was formed and where among its principles and axes of work is access to land, resources, building alliances, new visions, redefining concepts from the struggle for Food Sovereignty, Popular and Integral Agrarian Reform, to peasant and popular feminism to reaffirm the cosmovisions of Indigenous Peoples, peasants, pastoralists and artisanal fisher folks.

The Working Group contributed to the elaboration of a new international instrument, the Tenure Guidelines, approved by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). It plans the implementation of the Tenure Guidelines at the global, regional, national and local levels. At the last IPC General Assembly in South Africa in 2018, the Land Working Group changed its name to the Land, Forests, Water and Territory Working Group.

Wars have always existed, but now they are fought to obtain natural resources, to privatize water, coasts, rivers, seas, forests and within the forests cultural and biological diversity and entire communities. Wars have caused millions of deaths, but also millions of slaves, millions of people displaced from their territories, hundreds of thousands of immigrants leaving the Middle East and Africa for Europe, thousands more heading for the border between Mexico and the United States, living off indifference, racism, marginalization and exclusion.

The next generation may never meet peasants or native seeds and will live displaced from their homelands or ancestral territories. There are interrelated dynamics, dematerialization, digitalization and rogue capitalism that alter the nature of trade and markets. The digital is enveloping us with fascinating worlds and mirages, and as a great paradox and historical contradiction, it empowers feminism, the working classes, and immigrants.

But in that struggle for life, water and territory, the communities, the myths, the spirituality, the song to the seeds, the embracing of a tree, trees and asking permission from medicinal plants to cure ailments, listening to the silence of the rocks or the flow of the water have always been present. The territory is a space for life, a space for the next generations. It is a vital territory of communication of the whole ecosystem, spiritual and earthly, it is there where we love, dance, listen to the ancient voices of our ancestors and sow our loved ones.

The Working Group can be considered as a sacred place where visions of cultures, world views of peoples and social movements, exchange of information, planning of work, global and regional campaigns, political advocacy in our governments and institutions with the aim of enforcing the rights of Mother Earth, territorial rights, life. In the territory we define our political structures, our life, our dreams and our resistance. Monitoring land grabbing processes, but also defenses and exchange of experiences, based on human rights instruments and the right to food and dignity of the people.