Pandemic Research for the People (PReP)
Capital investments invade forest frontier spaces for timber, urban development, mining, and industrial agriculture (livestock, monocultural crops, and the displacement of peasants by land grabbing). These processes fragment forest ecosystems and expand the number of multi-species interactions. Viruses transfer into human populations and the accelerated mandates of global trade and travel move flora and fauna (including infected humans) around the globe.
Mainstream science calls for ever more surveillance of forests, criminalising residents that live in and depend upon forest products. In combination with agroindustry, it also promotes “sustainable intensification” whose underlying logic is that the deployment of Green Revolution technologies on existing farmland will preserve forests. Nevertheless, profits from increased production drives agricultural expansion.
In contrast, agroecologists promote a “forest matrix” model that views people as integrated, essential components of ecological systems where food production is linked with conservation. This ecological framework dovetails with ongoing Indigenous, Black, and peasant land defence processes. Agroecology is a process of adaptation and mitigation that produces low energy, biodiverse ecosystems far more likely to be resilient in extreme weather events and to better regulate epidemiological cycles.
Top-down pharmaceutical responses to infectious disease outbreaks treat disease as an isolated, external agent targeting vulnerable human populations. Integrating agroecology as an infectious disease response approaches infectivity and disease spread as a possible (but not inevitable) symptom of complex human – nonhuman interfaces structured through racial-colonial regimes of global capital. For PReP, agroecology is crucial to combatting infectious disease, all while placing autonomy over land and livelihoods in the hands of the global peasantry.
Mega salmon industry in Chile pollutes, affects health and destroys local fisheries!
The salmon farming industry in Chile has been occupying and destroying protected areas and Mapuche, Kawesqar and Yagán ancestral territories for decades. The industry’s abusive use of antibiotics and antiparasitic produces resistance to antibiotics vital to medical treatments for humans while affecting marine ecosystems. This process decreases the natural resistance of native species and increases the diseases that can affect them.
The salmon mega-industry has introduced at least 20 viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens into the aquatic ecosystems of southern Chile. These events cause serious social and economic impacts on coastal gathering communities, especially in the Chiloé archipelago. Clams and other filtering bivalves are contaminated with neurotoxic and gastrointestinal toxins, leading to the sanitary closure of these areas to local fishermen and collectors.
After creating areas of “environmental sacrifice” and a case of ecocide, the foreign and Chilean-owned corporations export their billion-dollar products, certified as “environmentally friendly and socially responsible”. The fundamental problem is the productivist and extractivist model of nature exploitation, which permanently endangers life, health and biodiversity in our territories. Our protected areas and ancestral territories will not be sacrificial zones for the destructive salmon colonialism!
Nyéléni process, towards a Global Food Sovereignty forum 2025
Voices from our allies
Claudio Schuftan, People’s Health Movement (PHM) and World Public Health Nutrition Association (WPHNA), Ho Chi Minh City
Nyéléni 2007 was a key pace setter to public interest civil society organisations’ (CSOs) and social movements. It set a new tone for placing our demands to duty bearers. Fifteen years later, the time has come to reinvigorate the process to, not only sharpen our demands, but also to gather new forces to do so – thus showing the importance of the Rome meeting that took place last June (2023).
PHM fully agrees that the challenge is not to come up with a new Declaration created from above. It is the process of the next 18 months that will bring the struggle to the bases so that the outcome will be truly globally representative and will hopefully create the necessary counter-power. PHM is a network of networks of health and human rights activists, currently with an e-presence in 70+ countries. It was established in the year 2000 and is active on both global and national issues. Its current secretariat is based in Colombia. PHM has a working Food + Nutrition thematic group very much in tone with Nyéléni supporters and activists, given the undeniable relationships between health and nutrition. In our work, our group links food sovereignty, agroecology, climate justice and the right to food to the right to health. We will take the Nyéléni process to our 3700 subscribers of the list server phm-exchange both to inform our constituents of progress and to collect their inputs to collectively work towards a 2025 Declaration. We are definitely all in.
The same is true for the work of WPHNA, a professional association of public health nutritionists, of which I am a member of its executive committee. WPHNA fully embraces the Nyéléni Principles. Our membership is around 500 worldwide. We are also definitely in.
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