Stand for the peasants of the south
Confront the Agribusiness of the north

We, representatives of agrarian communities, social movements,  women’s groups, Dalit groups and other civil society organisations in India gathered in New Delhi o­n 15 March 2005 to deliberate o­n "A  Peoples Agenda for the G-20" resolved to place the following  resolution before the Ministerial Meeting of the G-20.

Recalling with pride the historic success achieved by the people’s  movements at the Seattle and Cancun Ministerial meetings of the WTO  in 1999 and 2003 respectively;

Recognising that over the years the incidence of farmers’ suicides  in India and other developing countries has shown an alarming  increase and the deepening and complex economic and social crisis  in the farming sector is largely a result of the approach  underlying the AOA framework.

Acknowledging the significance of the emergence of the G-20 in the  context of the Cancun Ministerial of the WTO Welcoming the forthcoming G-20 Ministerial Meeting at New Delhi o­n  March 18, 2005

We urge the G-20 Ministers to take note of our concerns and adopt a  people’s agenda as elaborated below for their deliberations and  decisions.

We are convinced that the July framework agreement adopted in July 2004

1) maintains or expands the key mechanisms of "domestic support" or  subsidisation of EU and US agriculture, the so-called Blue Box and  Green Box;

2) creates a new restrictive category-that of "sensitive  products"-to hamper market access for developing country products;

3) makes o­nly conditional commitments to eliminate export  subsidies;

4) pays lip service to the developing countries demands for the designation of "special products" and other forms  of special and differential treatment and

5) Extracts market opening commitments from developing countries in  agriculture as well as in NAMA (Non Agricultural Market Access) and Services.

We believe that the WTOs Agreement o­n Agriculture (AOA) is predicated upon the preservation and perpetuation of the  domination of the agribusiness of the North. It was conceived and  crafted in the interest of temperate zone, large scale, capital  intensive, trade oriented, agribusiness centered, peasant  insensitive and mass livelihood threatening agriculture.

In India and as in most of the G-20 countries, agriculture is the  main source of livelihood for majority of the people. The process  of integrating developing country agriculture with the world  agriculture market is already proving disastrous for poor and  vulnerable peasantry. Thousands of farmers, many of them among the  world’s poorest people, have lost their livelihoods as a result of  this process of integration. The agrarian distress has reached  serious proportions and the food security of billions of people is  endangered.

The AOA paradigm visualises a kind of "final solution" to the agrarian question through the virtual extinction of the 3  billion strong peasantry of the third world. The functioning of the  AOA so far and the manoeuvres witnessed during the pre and post  Cancun period leave little doubt that the apparent moves by the US  and the EU accepting a measure of discipline o­n export subsidies  and domestic support are o­nly a smokescreen to camouflage the prime  objective of the so called global discipline o­n agriculture which  is to capture the markets of the third world and to render the  third world countries totally dependent o­n agribusiness of the  North. This is being refurbished through the enforcement of the  global discipline o­n protection of Intellectual Property Rights  whose scope now extends to seeds, plant varieties, micro organisms,  microbiological and non-biological processes of production of  plants and animals. What is worse, the smokescreen is being used as  a lever to extract concessions from developing countries in NAMA  and the services areas of the negotiations.

This is unacceptable. It is time that peasants of the third world  unite to expose this nefarious game. It is time that they repudiate  the AOA paradigm and compel their governments to explore afresh an  agriculture trade agreement derived from the basic objective of  protecting and furthering the interests of their peasantry and  preserving the food sovereignty of their peoples. Such an agreement  should be part of a wider paradigm of economic cooperation among  developing countries.

We therefore demand that the G-20:

1) Reject the July framework as the basis for agricultural talks in  the run-up to the December 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting for  the reasons stated earlier

2) Call upon Brazil and India to leave the non-inclusive grouping  of the Five Interested Parties (FIPs) and work towards the disbanding of the FIPs. Instead they should work towards the consolidation of G-20 and its  close coordination with G-33 and G-90 with a view to evolving  strategic solidarity of the South as a whole in the WTO  negotiations not o­nly o­n agriculture but also in NAMA and Services.

3) Insist o­n the developing countries right to use Quantitative  Restrictions (QRs) to selectively de-link their agrarian economies  from the paradigm of AoA. Such a right must be built into the AoA in the same way as the  right to use QRs was built into the GATT in order to enable the  developing countries to secure their external financial position.

4) Launch forthwith a collective exercise to fashion an arrangement  for promoting inter se agricultural trade of developing countries.  It should be informed by the philosophy, approach and modalities of  the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) among developing  countries. It should be derived from the basic objective of  protecting and furthering the interests of their peasantry and  preserving the food sovereignty of their peoples. It should  explicitly take o­n board diverging tendencies and interests of all  developing countries.

5) To be transparent in the negotiations and to take elected  representatives, agrarian communities, social movements and other  civil society groups into confidence at all stages in the  discussions.

For achieving our objectives as set out above, we resolve to work  with like minded groups and movements in the run-up to the Hong  Kong Ministerial Meeting of the WTO.

If your organisation wishes to sign o­n to this statement please write to Benny Kuruvilla