Resource Rights

Local is Global – Defenders of water rights and justice in your municipalities, your cities, your parliaments

By Nikhil Aziz. 
Nikhil is reporting from the World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.


One of the events organized by civil society during the corporate-driven World Water Forum in Istanbul was "International Day" on March 19th. Various members of the anti-privatization sector of the global water justice movement organized this in collaboration with Turkish civil society representatives. For example, Our Water Commons, the Trans National Institute, Food & Water Watch, and regional networks like Red Vida (Latin America) and the African Water Network.

Water Wars, and Warriors, in Istanbul

The opening day of the World Water Forum (WWF) in Istanbul was emblematic of the undemocratic and unaccountable nature of the WWF.  The WWF, like the World Economic Forum, is a virtual country club. Dominated by multinational corporations like Veolia and Suez, international financial institutions like the World Bank, and governments, it is run by an unelected body, the World Water Council (WWC), which charges exorbitant entry fees and goes further to silence opposition by nefarious means.

The Developing World is Too Big to Fail

As the economic crisis spreads deeper and wider, so too do calls for various bailouts. The federal government has provided billions of dollars to rescue banks, car producers, insurance companies and other industries. Why not, then, bail out developing countries as well? So asks Kevin Gallagher of our colleague the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts university in an article from the Guardian. After all, if being "too big to fail" is the litmus test, then surely the Global South passes. He writes, "If the world's developing countries aren't part of a comprehensive global response to the crisis we will all be worse off.

Lessons from Northeast Brazil: "You can’t fight the environment"

I believe peasants from Northeast Brazil have a few important things to tell us about climate justice. For starters, the majority of the Northeastern region is dry. And it has been dry since the last glacial period. Also, the Northeast region where I come from is the largest and most populated semi-arid region on the planet, home to 20.5 million people mostly of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian descent.

Because of droughts and lack of water in the past, masses of hungry peasants were forced to migrate to other regions in Brazil.

Voices From Africa

Funded in part by Grassroots International, the Oakland Institute announces a new report: Voices from Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa. This report issues a direct challenge to Western-led plans for a genetically engineered revolution in African agriculture, and presents African perspectives and solutions rooted in first-hand knowledge of what Africans need.

Via Campesina calls for Peasant Rights

On February 23, Grassroots International partner, the Via Campesina met with representatives of the United Nations in New York City to discuss ways to address the chronic problems faced by peasant communities around the globe.

The growing violation of resources rights of peasants by development policies - especially mega-projects whose main goal is to speed up the extraction and export of resources for corporate profits - is an issue that demands immediate attention.

Take Action: Community Activists in Chiapas Face Harassment and Intimidation

Human rights and community leaders in Mexico continue to experience threats - including death threats. They ask for help from global activists to protect their lives and their community work.

Current threats follow previous repression, including the unjust prosecution of local organizers of the Civil Resistance against the high cost of energy in the southern state of Campeche.  Last December, in response to an emergency action, letters of solidarity with Sara Lopez and Joaquin Aguilar brought authorities in Campeche to the negotiating table.

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Haitians Organize to Cancel Debt

Grassroots International's partners in Haiti have joined with their Global South counterparts to demand an end to forcing countries to pay exorbitant debt to Northern countries whose failed economic policies helped cause the crisis in the first place. 

The following is a summary of the Declaration of the Assembly of Movements struggling to overcome Debt domination put forth in Belem, Brazil: 

In a World of Crises, Disastrous Governance

It has become clear that the numerous crises we face today are a result of disastrous global governance formulas that try to accommodate powerful interests, instead of addressing the real issues.

And these formulas are getting old. Discredited in the public eye, global institutions led by a handful of nations, and dominated by corporate agendas, are losing ground. 

Gaza Under Fire

For years, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) has been turning food aid that feeds dependency on its head. Their Farm to Table program purchases food for hungry families from local Palestinian farmers to address critical humanitarian needs and provide local farmers with needed income. Like nearly all organizations working in Gaza, PARC's operations came to a swift halt on December 27, 2008, when Israeli Defense Forces began bombing the region. Their buildings were severely damaged, along with the rooftop and backyard gardens at the core of the urban farm program.