Blog post by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project & North American Focal Point of Global Forest Coalition. Everyday this week she will be posting an update from the World Forestry Congress on this blog.
Buenos Aires-Campesinos, Indigenous and rural peoples, small farmers and organizational representatives from throughout Latin America came together in Buenos Aires, Argentina from the 16th to the 18th of October for the “Festival de las Pueblas Que Viven Con los Bosques.” The festival was organized by Friends of the Earth Argentina, Via Campesina and others to discuss advancing the Latin America movement against monoculture expansion, one of the greatest threats to people who depend on the forest.
The three days of the festival coincided with the day for food sovereignty on October 16th and the World Forestry Congress (called by critics the World Plantations Congress), which started on October 18th.
The coincidental timing of the day for food sovereignty and the WFC allowed for the development of collaborative work between the food sovereignty movement, which is fighting soy monocultures, the forest protection movement, which is fighting the expansion of timber monocultures, with Indigenous and other communities that rely on intact forest ecosystems.
The expansion of both soy and timber monocultures in Latin America, especially Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile, has resulted in the displacement of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities and the wholesale destruction of forests and their biodiversity. Monoculture expansion has also resulted in the takeover of agricultural lands, with results including escalating poverty and food insecurity. In Chile, the loss of Mapuche agricultural lands to timber plantations has led to poverty rates over 60% in Mapuche communities.
The linking of the food sovereignty movement, the anti-plantations movement and indigenous peoples, therefore, is a natural alliance.
The participants in the Festival concluded the three days of events and workshops with a rally and march against the Thirteenth World Forestry Congress, which takes place every six years.
The World Forestry Congress is a gathering of some of the largest actors in the forestry sector (including organizations like the World Bank and World Wildlife Fund) the overall theme of which is the justification of the industrial forestry model and the exploration of new avenues for profit-making from forests–including such topics as bioenergy from wood, and putting forests into the carbon market–both of which are major themes at this year’s World Forestry Congress.
Stay tuned for more updates from this forest trade show on this blog throughout the week.
Participants in the ‘Festival de las Pueblas Que Viven Con los Bosques’ march against the World Forestry [Plantations] Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to denounce the ecological and social destruction occurring throughout Latin America due to the expansion of monoculture timber plantations, which the timber industry wrongly refers to as “planted forests.” Photo: Petermann/ GJEP-GFC