Policy Charter of the VI ADECRU General Assembly
At this time when the people of Mozambique continues in a post-election suspension and rural communities are going through a dramatic and suffocating uncertainty, we, 21 members of the Academic Action for the Development of Rural Communities (ADECRU) of Mozambique, representing 45 members and more than 200 supporters, met for the VI Annual General Meeting 2014 in the town of Muxungué, in Chibabava District, Sofala Province, between the 19th and 22nd of December.
During the four days, we discussed, analysed and approved among other issues, the following: the organisation and politic-associative coordination; Narrative and Financial Reports of 2014; Operating Plan and Budget of ADECRU for 2015; review, amendment and approval of ADECRU Statutes; election of members of the governing bodies of ADECRU and the situation of rural communities and the country in the past 10 years.
The sharing and exchange of experiences among members during the four days is part of a collective organisational building and coordination process of the supporters and governing bodies of ADECRU with rural communities, based on a broad dialogue and inter-community interactions aimed at strengthening the self-organisation and productive inclusion of rural communities, members and activists, deepening the political-ideological and strategic principles that guide and underpin ADECRU’s struggle for the development of rural communities and our country.
With regards to the situation of rural communities and the country, we would like to highlight the following:
1. The history of the past 10 years and the present reality show that Mozambique has been the victim of ‘donor obsession’ and multilateral financial institutions on the one hand, and on the other, the connivance and patronage of the ruling elite, unequivocally proving irrefutable evidence that the Mozambican authorities have failed in their main objective of representing the people and ensuring sovereignty, peace, national governance and interests and priorities and, lastly, development. 20 years after a broken Peace, the country is going through the last and violent phase of finalisation and continued strengthening of the strategy of implementation of (un)structural (dis)adjustment policies in Africa that contributes inevitably to greater impoverishment of the population and rural communities.
2. Statistics show that between 1996 and 2009, the average annual reduction in the rate of poverty in Mozambique was 1.17%, but current data show that in the period that followed and up to the current year, the set rate of poverty reduction of 2.6%, has not been met, on the contrary, the rate of reduction fell, reaching negative rates when measured against the baseline year (1996). In 2011, the poverty rate stood at 54.7%, while the government goal as set down in the PARP (Poverty Reduction Action Plan) is a reduction to 42% in 2014 and below 40% in 2015, a reality that is demonstrably far, showing the total failure of the Government. Furthermore, data from the Demographic and Health Survey (IDS - 2013) show that 43% of children under 5 years of age have low height for their age (classified as children suffering from moderate chronic malnutrition), 44% suffer from acute chronic malnutrition (low weight for their age), 20% suffer from severe chronic malnutrition rates well above those accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), with irreversible consequences for the country.
3. The existence of a model of governance and development that is exclusivist, hegemonic, dominant, exploitative, oligarchical and imperial based on economic growth by means of extraction and export of commodities and infiltration and settling of large financial and corporate groups, which exacerbated the struggle for access and carving up of natural resources over the past decade.
4. The emergence and spread of corrupt, unequal, unjust and oligarchic structures at national, regional and international level, which usurp and capture the sovereignty of the country and all national interests, transforming Mozambique into a platform and battleground between conflicting capitalist, exclusivist and mercantilist interests, from various corners of the world.
5. Infiltration and expansion of global multilateral financial institutions and giant transnational corporations, many of which are funded by the most imperialist states of the world, which convert ecosystems, biodiversity, land, water, natural resources, diversity and cultural and common historical heritage and the lives of populations into goods.
6. A new wave of attacks and expansion by neoliberal policies bent on a new conquest and mercantile expansion and domination of the territories, the looting and depletion of natural resources, public property, cultural and historical heritage, the increasing degradation of the life of communities, exclusion and marginalisation of the populations, the dismantling of their rights and usurpation of their secular sources of livelihood.
7. The return of mercantilist and grandiose companies, disguised as philanthropic endeavours to deliver Mozambique and Africa from hunger and misery, ignoring the failures of several similar initiatives implemented in the past by the same multilateral agencies and imperialist powers, represents one of the most abusive and aggressive forms of exploitation of our country and continent, which has been undermining domestic investment and the interests of overwhelming majorities of peasants and rural communities.
In this context, we denounce:
1. The mining and hydrocarbons industry based on a perverse energy model that is destructive of our environment, the violation of rights and social and environmental injustices, having converted our country in a well for the extraction of commodities and a focus of instability and social, economic and political uncertainty. The advance of agribusiness and the impacts of the expansion of monoculture tree plantations in the provinces of Niassa, Manica, Nampula, Sofala and Zambezia causes and promotes expropriation and land grabbing, human rights violations, violence and criminalisation of activists and community leaders and of social movements and organisations. Policies and agrarian programmes such as the Nova Aliança para Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional (New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security), the ProSavana Programmes, the Lúrio River Valley Development Project and PROSUL, forest plantations of eucalyptus and pine developed by Portucel, Lúrio Green Resources, Indústrias Florestais de Manica, represent a threat and danger to rural communities.
2. We denounce the arbitrary concessions of large tracts of land by the Council of Ministers, without there having been the least consultation with the affected communities, as in the case of Portucel, Lúrio Green, Chikweti, among other projects.
3. Multilateral global financial institutions and giant transnational corporations that ensure control of the major geostrategic and agro-ecological regions of Mozambique, holding more than 70% of the potential natural resources and the country's subsoil, located in the Development Corridors of Maputo, Limpopo, Beira, Nacala, Pemba and Zambezi Valley, the Rovuma Basin and the River Lúrio Valley, with the aim of making them agro-industrial capital flow and expansion regions, financial and export of raw materials for the global markets, thus deepening the serious problems concerning land grabbing, involuntary relocation and resettlement of millions of people, environmental degradation and socio-environmental conflicts.
4. We note with great concern and indignation that national issues on environmental matters relating to conservation and enjoyment of biodiversity and the country's commitments are being negotiated and treated without the effective and sovereign participation of the people and rural communities directly affected by the mining and hydrocarbon industries, being left to international agendas of governments, corporations and certain international agencies.
5. We witness the complete violation of national and international instruments for the protection of communities such as the Land Law, mining and environmental legislation, the Regulation of Resettlement Resulting from Economic Activities, as well as international instruments such as the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forestry and Fisheries of which Mozambique is a signatory State, and total disregard and violation of the principles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which enshrine the Human Right to Food (HRtAF), which is denied to more than 20 million Mozambicans and which Mozambique refuses to ratify.
6. Brutal exclusion and marginalisation of various segments of Mozambican society in setting national development and governance priorities, exponential increase in the land grabbing phenomenon, precarious living conditions, rape and the dismantling of fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens. Documented and properly systematised evidence shows that there is an increasing spread of cases of socio-environmental conflicts and violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, excessive influence of corporate power and interference in the functioning and decisions of the legally sovereign institutions of government and state.
We advocate for:
1. An inclusive, participatory and democratic development model based on inward-looking strategies that respond to the desires of about 25 million Mozambicans, enabling quantitative and qualitative changes in the economic, social, political and cultural development, once embodied in Agenda 2025. [We advocate further] that agriculture, as the base of national development and constitutionally enshrined, be seen from the perspective of development of small scale production systems, and that these be seen in their multi-activity dimensions in order to achieve food sovereignty.
2. The coal, gas, oil and all natural resources of Mozambique are part of communal assets of the Mozambican people and therefore cannot continue to be plundered to feed a hegemonic and failed development model of production, distribution and consumption, especially in the service of a few colonial countries. [We advocate] for communities no longer be seen as beneficiaries, but rather as key players in decision-making based on their inward-looking development perspectives.
3. We refuse to believe that there might be any possibility of coexistence in the same space between agribusiness and conservation agriculture practiced for millennia by rural communities and the populations that live there, because agribusiness implies deforestation, the use of pesticides and destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity. We are firmly opposed to the resettlement processes to make way for agribusiness, and we advocate that these be prohibited by law.
4. We hold the Mozambican Government and state responsible as we witness this pressure for land, forced resettlement of the population and destruction of their livelihoods and threats to access to water, forests, cultural heritage, and all the resulting socio-environmental conflicts.
5. We reaffirm our unconditional commitment to defence the land and natural resources, in favour of a sovereign land reform and for the safeguarding and protection of the community rights of the populations. We defend and reaffirm that the rights to land, water, health, education, housing and adequate food are directly linked, and for that reason, we will resist all initiatives aimed at alienation, mortgage, plunder and colonisation.
We reaffirm our politic-associative stance:
The Community and collective nature of our struggles requires the institutional strengthening of ADECRU and its basic structures, inspiring the building of a popular movement with national and international activity working to denouncing these practices and promote the visibility of conflicts and proposals by the people. The experiences, reflections that we built with rural communities and ADECRU activists before and during the VI General Assembly this year showed that the focus points of our community and human cause represent the challenges and daily struggles that emerge and evolve in defence of rural communities affected by mining, monoculture tree plantations, violation of rights, inequalities, social and environmental injustices and the neoliberal model of capitalist development.
ADECRU thus reaffirms their engagement and commitment to organise families living in rural communities for an alternative resistance to defend the rights, dreams, aspirations and dignity of peoples and rural communities, driving the focus of public awareness and a sovereign agenda for development based on solidarity and fairness. On the other hand, we remain firm in building and strengthening our strategic alliances and renewing our engagement and community struggles, ensuring that communities are protagonists and more engaged in sovereign and sustainable development. We are aware that this requires organisation, militancy, political and pedagogical coordination and political training based on a militant awareness and interaction between the various Coordinating bodies.
The main objective of our struggle strategy is communication, inclusion, mobilisation and education of the people, inspiring people to democratic involvement and productive inclusion in building a people's power and a sovereign agenda for socio-political, economic and cultural development of rural communities. This involves:
1. Driving the focus of public awareness for democratic involvement and productive inclusion of various players in building a sovereign community agenda for socio-political, economic and cultural development of rural communities.
2. Advocating for compliance and building a community agenda of human rights and fundamental freedoms of rural communities and the Mozambican people, fighting for social, economic and environmental justice and against all forms of injustice and inequality, especially within marginalised sectors.
3. Promoting the democratisation of production and sharing of knowledge and expertise by conducting research, mobilisation and partnership to build a people's power and a sovereign schedule development of rural communities.
4. Contributing to an increase in civic consciousness and democratic engagement in defence of social and economic rights and the popularisation of social services and the development of social infrastructure in rural communities in the country, with emphasis on health, education, agriculture, transport and housing.
5. Ensuring that rural communities have access to and control of natural and historic resources, as well as those arising from assets, focusing on the land, forests and water.
6. Contributing to greater mobilisation and self-organisation of small farmers and rural communities in their territories in order to promote and strengthen the principles and activities of the community and inter-community economy as an alternative resistance to hegemonic models and building of viable alternatives.
7. Intensifying the mobilisation of all segments of society committed to the people’s struggle, by multiplying practices and actions for the promotion of dialogue and coming together among rural communities where the battle for the occupation and division of land and natural resources is expressed in the form of socio-environmental conflicts, with disastrous consequences for the health and life of the people so that corrupt, unequal, unjust and oligarchic structures of the present hegemonic and imperial model of development are annihilated and transformed.
8. Fighting for the rights, interests and sovereign aspirations of rural communities for the control and collective control of lands, water, natural resources and cultural and historical heritage common to all peoples and in defence of biodiversity and ecosystems.
The VI ADECRU General Assembly welcomes, encourages, sympathises with and unconditionally supports all the current tireless struggles of the people in the country and the world in defence of dignity, social justice and access to and productive control of nature’s assets, including: earth, water, historical and cultural heritage. The brave actions for demands and the sacrifices that have been borne to eliminate exploitation and oppression represent a demonstration of commitment to which deserve our militant solidarity with all those involved.
We also want to have it emphasised that our hope for victory of the oppressed peoples and victims of neoliberal policies is inexhaustible and we channel all our efforts and support to attain it. Our hopes are also for the success of this struggle and in solidarity we will join our hopes with the hopes of the poor and dispossessed of Mozambique and around the world, putting all our strength and intelligence at the service of the inevitable triumph and building of justice based on the power of the people, putting men and women on equal terms of human dignity.
Muxungué, December 2014
ADECRU Politic-associative Coordinating Council
Academic Action for the Development of Rural Communities-ADECRU
Mobile: (+258) 823 911 238 / (+258) 825 132 059