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Their Land, Their Lives, Their Decisions

March 2005

From the 17th-19th of February, more than 80 participants from 11 countries gathered in Indonesia for the “Regional Conference on Rebuilding Peasants’ and Fisherfolks’ Livelihoods after the Earthquake and Tsunami Catastrophes” sponsored by the Via Campesina.

They came from fisher and peasant organizations, from groups representing the victims of the earthquake and the Tsunami and from non-governmental organizations committed to community-led development and rebuilding efforts. Grassroots was proud to provide financial support to allow some of the attendees to make the trip. (We are also proud to have collected and passed through more than $20,000 to support Via Campesina’s emergency relief and rebuilding efforts.)

The meeting was designed to allow these groups to share their successful strategies and to find new ways to meet the challenges that they face. They summarized their findings in the Declaration of Medan (Grassroots International is a signatory):

The victims, their communities and social organizations must be enabled to rebuild their livelihoods themselves. Victims of the tsunami, their communities and organizations have to be the key actors in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. Such rebuilding has to be controlled by the people themselves, should be democratic and non-discriminatory, and lead to improved and sustainable livelihoods.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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