Thank you, CIDSE, for your work on landgrabbing, extractive industries, indigenous rights, agro-ecology and the shifts we need for care and justice!

October 31, 2017

We are very grateful for CIDSE’s continued work in the important area of care of the earth, people, and carbon reduction through agroecology!

The Telegraph
The Telegraph 
19 October 2017

This month, from 25 – 27 October, CIDSE will participate in the First Agroecology Europe Forum, to be held in Lyon, France.

Agroecology Europe is an association which aims to promote agroecology, creating bridges between farmers, social movements, civil society, policy-makers, academics, other actors in the food sector and the wider society. For two and a half days, participants at the forum will share knowledge, views and experiences related to the concept and practice of agroecology, looking at challenges such as climate and environmental issues, social transformation, consumer and citizen expectations, while designing pathways to further promote, innovate, foster knowledge sharing and formulate policy recommendations that can allow agroecology to flourish and be supported.

In the context of the work that CIDSE carries out to address food sovereignty and climate justice, agroecology has been identified as a key pillar of a more just and sustainable food system, and a comprehensive solution to the climate and food crisis/challenges. Building on the experiences and the work advanced so far by farmers, social movements, civil society organizations, academics and other actors across the world to develop the concept of agroecology, CIDSE has engaged in the process of clarifying what agroecology means and how it looks like through a series of principles based on evidence from the ground.

Clarifying the concept of agroecology would hinder co-optation attempts and misuse of the term by proposers of the current status-quo, therefore contributing to the debate around agroecology and strengthening social movements and like-minded-organizations in the fight against false solutions. It also aims to deepen and strengthen CIDSE’s work at different levels – advocacy, program, campaigns – to convene dialogue, and assess current practices and promote alternative policies.

CIDSE will be present at the Forum holding the workshop “Exploring Agroecology Principles”. In a world-café style, the workshop will aim to discuss, confront views and share experiences from the Global North and South and deepen key elements of the principles, along different dimensions of sustainability including the relationship between agroecology and social justice, gender equality, climate resilience, youth in rural areas and economic viability.

The workshop is co-organized and facilitated by the CIDSE member organizations that take part in the Climate and Agriculture thematic work and will count with partner speakers from different backgrounds and areas of work, in particular the Red Nacional de Agricultura Familiar (Colombia), La Via CampesinaUrgenci (France), The Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (Conventry University, UK) and MIJARC World.

Conference statement on “Land grabbing & just governance in Africa”

Written by  CIDSE 
Credit: AEFJN
Conference participants. Photo credit: AEJFN

28 January 2016

In 2015, CIDSE contributed to the organisation of a Pan-African Conference on Land Grabbing and Just Governance in Kenya, together with Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), its American counterpart (AFJN) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). The event took place in Kenya from 22 to 26 November and gathered over 100 participants.

The conference highlighted the state of land grabbing in Africa, with the presentation of case studies of resistance across the continent, as well as Church responses and its increasing engagement in the issue of land grabbing. It also aimed at developing strategies to support and strengthen local communities in their struggles to stop this threat to food security and build resilience.

The conference concluded with the adoption of a joint statement and a commitment of a plan of action.

(see below pdf versions of both documents available in EN – FR. Portuguese versions to follow shortly.)  


We, the participants of the Nairobi conference on “land grabbing and just governance in Africa” coming from over 100 organisations from different faith traditions and civil society groups in Africa, Europe and Americas, met in Limuru (Kenya) from the 22nd to 26th of November 2015. This conference took place a few days ahead of the visit of Pope Francis, and we all feel supported and mobilized by his bold stance against land grabbing when he warned that “For them (indigenous communities), land is not a commodity, but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for [industrial] agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.”[1].

We recognize that land grabbing – as well as the structural issues that are tied to it – and just governance commit us to walk together from grassroots to global level. From an African perspective land is something sacred and we believe that an important part of any future success in our fight against land grabbing lies in our ability to build deep connections with our land.

We reclaimed the narratives around land issues from the biblical and African traditional spirituality of the land and from actual cases of land violations.

We oppose land grabbing of investors, traditional leaders and governments talking on behalf of the people and assuming that everybody has something to win from land grabbing and its subsequent investments.

As Africa is the main target of land grabbing worldwide, our main concerns gravitate around the scourge of land grabbing and its impact on food sovereignty and the sovereignty of African states. It has come to our attention that foreign multinationals are the major catalysts of this shameful mass acquisition of prime farmlands that is on course of ripping Africa and its future generations of its livelihoods and identity. Most of the land handed out to them is being used to produce goods for export, mainly non-food goods such as minerals and raw (agricultural) materials for foreign industries as well as to develop infrastructure. We are also aware that locals, governments and financial institutions play an important role in this phenomenon.

Currently many public policies and frameworks developed by African governments and major powers – such as the G8 and international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Economic Forum – facilitate directly or indirectly massive land acquisitions which are exploiting earth resources and land in an unsustainable way.

The dominant narrative by land grabbers on how to cope with the main challenges of our time – climate change, poverty, food security – is flawed.  

Throughout the conference we had the opportunity to build, step by step what our vision of a society of life in abundance looks like. We are indeed seeking for frameworks that allow:

  • Communities to keep or regain access, control and ownership over their land and other natural resources in order to feed their families, their communities and eventually, to feed the world
  • The right to food and to water to be fully realized as an indivisible part of human rights local community-owned and driven investments to flourish 
  • Communities to invest other levels of the food chain (stocks, processing, distribution, …) in their own countries
  • An increase in resilience of rural communities avoiding rural exodus and forceful and inhumane evictions
  • Gender equality and provides opportunities to youth
  • Communities’ right to protect their identity and cultural heritage

While we also recognize the need to assess our responsibilities in this phenomenon as traditional spiritual chiefs, churches and leaders, we appeal to all decision makers, individuals and civil society organisations to make their best efforts in order to achieve this vision through organizing communities, awareness raising, non-violent mobilization as well as through any other available means.  We also appeal to decision makers to:  

  • Reinforce Africa’s autonomy on its own development and not to be subject to short-term profit driven foreign agenda led by international institutions, governments and multinationals working hand in hand
  • Put communities, small scale food producers and women at the center of policies that impact them and to include them in the decision-making process
  • Govern responsibly African land and resources so that future generations can enjoy the fruits of the earth
  • Stop all forms of harmful massive land acquisition having a negative impact on food sovereignty, people livelihoods and the environment
  • Fully support the work of the UN intergovernmental working group on a legally binding treaty on transnational corporations, business and human rights.
  • Hold companies accountable for human rights violations, illicit financial flows out of Africa and any violation of labour and environmental laws
  • We want to highlight that many existing legal frameworks already include provisions that allow such recommendations to be met and that the first step is to strengthen their implementation.

While we appeal to different actors, we, participants of the Limuru (Kenya) conference, commit ourselves to work towards positive change of mindset. We have defined commitments that we will individually and collectively fulfil, with a strong conviction that together we shall win.[2]


[1] Pope Francis, Encyclical « Laudato Si’ », 146
[2] See the commitment document also approved by the conference
See also press release issued on 23 November 2015. (available in EN – FR – PT)

Download attachments:

Extractives in Latin America: which responses at the grassroots, EU & international levels? Written by  CIDSE-COMECE-Pax Christi International
Extractives in Latin America: which responses at the grassroots, EU & international levels?

17 October 2017

Invitation to Panel Discussion organised by Pax Christi International, CIDSE and COMECE. Brussels, 31 October 2017, 10.00 – 12.00

– Ms. Mikeas Sánchez Gomez, representative of the Zoque indigenous community and member of the Indigenous Movement of the Zoque Believing People in Defense of Life and the Earth (ZODEVITE) of Chiapas (Mexico), Pax Christi nternational’s peace prize winner.
– Ms. Martha Ines Romero, Latin American and Caribbean Regional Coordinator, Colombia, Pax Christi International.
– Mr. Stefan Reinhold, Corporate Regulation & Extractives Officer, CIDSE
– EU official (to be confirmed)

Many Latin American communities are heavily affected by the activities of extractive industry companies who exploit oil, gas, gold, silver, iron, copper, tin, and others. Worryingly, the situation has deteriorated in recent years, as extractive activities are substantially increasing and expected to grow even more in the coming years. This increase, mostly by transnational corporations, generates irreversible and negative impacts on livelihoods, ecosystems and the human rights of local communities, often causing conflicts. While many Latin American governments have been supporting the practices of extractive corporations through economic incentives and legal changes, alternatives exist. To reflect on these, a representative of the Zoque indigenous community in Mexico will provide an example of her community’s struggle. The other panelists will then address the issue of respect for human rights by European companies and the role the EU should play in this. In particular, the panel will reflect on the relation between trade and investment regimes and the global Business & Human Rights framework, and especially the opportunities opened by the UN binding treaty negotiations.

Venue: COMECE office, Square de Meeûs, 19/1, B-1050 Brussels  Please register by 26 October by clicking here.  In case of questions, please contact Alice Kooij Martinez, Pax Christi International’s Senior Advocacy Officer ([email protected])

CIDSE written statement for the 3rd Session of the IGWGCIDSE written statement for the 3rd Session of the IGWG

20 October 2017

CIDSE contribution to the Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights for their third session (Geneva, 23–27 October 2017)

CIDSE welcomes the elements for the international legally-binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights put forward by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. They present a holistic view of the challenges requiring international action. It is now for States to consider the different elements and to formulate constructive proposals for further elaboration of these elements and of the actual text of the Treaty.

This submission highlights a number of areas which governments will need to take forward for more thinking and work. This will be part of the necessary steps to best to move from elements to Treaty text.

As an international family of Catholic social justice organisations, we have been participating in national level policy discussions to ensure that businesses respect human rights throughout their operations and strongly encourage our own governments to participate actively in the UN session of the Inter-Governmental Working Group.

Contact: Denise Auclair ([email protected]

CIDSE written statement 3rd Session IGWG Oct 2017

Joint statement in support of strong 2050 climate strategies Written by  CIDSE  24 October 2017

Signed by businesses, civil society, investors, public authorities and trade unions.

Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face today. If we do not act urgently and ambitiously, the impacts will be catastrophic.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries have committed to keeping global temperature rise to well below 2 °C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C, above pre-industrial levels. The Agreement also invites all countries to produce ‘long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies’, something that the European Commission has sought to reflect in its proposal on Energy Union Governance.

We believe that these long-term strategies are an essential part of the EU’s leadership, and response to the climate change challenge. These strategies should provide long term policy certainty for investors and guide a cost-effective and just transition to prosperous, carbon neutral economies that provide sustainable business opportunities, good jobs, cleaner air and better health for all. The strategies are a crucial means by which we can ensure people are part of this opportunity for economic and societal transformation.

To this end, we call on the EU and its Member States to ensure that their 2050 strategies are as strong as possible, in the following ways:

  • Strategies should be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We believe the EU should be aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest;
  • To maximise certainty for investors and society as a whole, Member State 2050 targets should be legally binding, as should the process for developing, implementing, reporting on and reviewing the strategies, and the plans to deliver them;
  • Strategies should be reviewed regularly, ideally by an independent body, and revised upwards to reflect the latest climate science and technological advancements;
  • Strategies should take a ‘whole economy’ approach that covers all sources and sinks for greenhouse gas emissions and should address broader economic, social and environmental issues;
  • Strategies must be developed, implemented and monitored openly and transparently, in partnership with businesses, civil society, employers, investors, trade unions, sub-national, regional and local authorities and other relevant stakeholders, and be publicly available;
  • Strategies should clearly state the bodies responsible for delivering them, and the timelines in which they should do so, as well as outline sources of funding;
  • Strategies should inform and determine the substance of more detailed shorter term plans, targets and milestones, for example those for 2030.

We also call on the EU institutions to support this endeavour by:

  • Embedding these principles in legally-binding form in the new Energy Union Governance Regulation, to ensure that such 2050 strategies are developed and delivered;
  • Producing guidance for Member States for their 2050 strategies. The Commission should set an example for Member States in its own revision of the EU’s 2050 roadmap;
  • Helping Member States share best practice in order to ensure they all have the strongest strategies possible;
  • Urging all countries to develop such strategies, thereby ensuring that this is a global effort, and assisting poorer countries in the development, implementation and monitoring of such strategies.

Signed by:

ACT Alliance EU
Allianz Klimagerechtigkeit (Austrian Alliance for Climate Justice)
Anglian Water
Campaign Against Climate Change
Carbon Market Watch
Change Partnership
Clean Air Action Group
The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group (CLG)
Energy Cities
European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE)
European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E)
European Heat Pump Association (EHPA)
European Partnership for Energy & the Environment (EPEE)
European Renewable Energy Research Centres (EUREC)
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
European Youth Forum
Framtiden i våre hender (Future in our hands)
Green Budget Europe
Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (ILGCC)
Philips Lighting
SEE Change Net Foundation
The Climate Group
Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G)
Wind Europe
WWF European Policy Office

If you want to sign the statement on behalf of your organisation please get in touch with Leia – [email protected]