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Roots Newsletter September 2021: The seeds we plant grow roots

Espanol // Française // русский

Image taken from “The Seeds we Plant Grow Roots” publication.

Dear friends,

Despite the fact that our world is still largely in turmoil due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the three big UN summits scheduled for the end of 2021 now look set to go ahead in one form or another. This makes our briefing on the corporate capture of UN spaces especially relevant, as travel restrictions and vaccine inequity will limit civil society participation even further, leaving corporations unopposed to hijack policy-making agendas. If we are unsuccessful in advocating for the postponement of these summits, we look forward to mobilizing with you (mostly virtually) on the key dates.

Our livestock campaign has focused its energy over the past few months on events taking place around the UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS), by joining an international movement to reclaim food systems from corporate control, and participating in an online pre-summit that aimed to “catalyze and amplify a counter-narrative to the official proceedings”. We have also been keeping a close eye on preparatory meetings for the upcoming CBD COP, where the adoption of the new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) might become a huge step backwards in terms of rights-based, gender just biodiversity conservation. Although the CBD COP has been postponed until next year—partly due to pressure from GFC and other NGOs— there will still be a virtual high-level event on 12 and 13 October, and it is uncertain whether rightsholder groups like Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and women’s rights groups will have a legitimate voice at it.

With the UK Government determined to make sure UNFCCC COP26 goes ahead regardless of the dangers still posed by international travel, our climate campaign has been working to counter the net-zero narrative dominating policy-making spaces. We co-published “The Big Con” with numerous allies that sets out how corporations and governments are swindling us with their mitigation strategies based on false solutions, a subject that will gain increasing attention as the COP draws closer. The climate campaign was also active in support of our member groups in Portugal and Mozambique, where we spearheaded an international letter in opposition to a coal-to-biomass conversion, and brought media attention to the impacts of eucalyptus plantations for pulp and paper production. More recently, we supported international efforts to prevent the Asian Development Bank from financing dirty biomass developments through its new energy policy.

On the subject of travel, our Extractive Industries, Tourism and Infrastructure (ETI) campaign published an extensive report on the impacts of tourism on forests and communities. The publication contrasted so-called “mass tourism” with community-led alternatives, with six national-level case studies contributed by our member groups and an examination of the industry’s aviation-related impacts.

Our Gender Justice and Forests campaign celebrated International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by showcasing the work of two of our Indigenous-led member groups in Africa, and the contribution of the women’s rights groups that they support to forest conservation. We were also proud to participate in the publication of “The seeds we grow plant roots”, a wonderful collection of stories resulting from a participatory, feminist storytelling evaluation of the Women2030 program, which features stories from our member groups FECOFUN in Nepal and Fundaexpresión in Colombia.

We were also pleased to share with you our Annual Report for 2020, which described the key moments and achievements of our campaigns throughout an unprecedented 20th year for the coalition. On a more sad note, in the past few months we have said goodbye to more inspiring representatives of our members groups, who will be greatly missed by all. Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of Elias “Papo” Echeguren, the coordinator of our member group Sobrevivencia (Amigos de la Tierra) in Paraguay, Nimal Hewanila, founder of the Nirmanie Development Foundation, one of our member groups in Sri Lanka, and Neimatullo Safarov, from our member group Noosfera in Tajikistan.

Finally, on behalf of the whole coalition we would like to thank Isis Alvarez for all of her hard work and commitment to GFC over the past ten years. Isis is stepping down as the coordinator of our Unsustainable Livestock Campaign at the end of this month, and we wish her all the very best for the future.

In solidarity,

The GFC team


The seeds we plant grow roots – A booklet of impact stories from the Women 2030 Program (1 July) Community-led versus mass tourism: What are the implications for forests and communities? (10 June)

Meat Atlas 2021: Gender, poverty and livestock farming (9 September)

Gender justice at the heart of forest conservation for Indigenous women in Africa (8 August)

Annual Report 2020 (16 June)

Exposing Net Zero greenwash: New report details Big Polluters’ next Big Con (9 June)

Corporate contagion: How the private sector is capturing the UN Food, Biodiversity and Climate Summits (21 May)

From the blog

The importance of integrating gender in sustainable forest governance: findings and recommendations from the GLA1 Gender Assessment (17 May) The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a massive step back in time (4 May)


Postpone COP26! CLARA members call on UN to speed up climate action, but delay the negotiations (9 September)

Asian Development Bank: Don’t finance dirty biomass! (31 August)

Remembering Neimatullo Safarov (28 August)

Remembering Nimal Hewanila (18 August)

Thousands mobilize to call for food systems that empower people, not companies (5 August)

Pulp and paper giant denounced as the first delivery of eucalyptus arrives in Portugal from Mozambique (14 July)

Open Letter opposing the Energy Charter Treaty and the proposed inclusion of biomass energy in it (7 July)

Over 60 groups publish open letter in opposition to a coal-to-biomass conversion in Portugal (21 June)

People’s movements call to reclaim food systems from corporate control (6 June)

World Bank urged to drop a $50 million loan for factory farm expansion in Ecuador because of health, social and environmental impacts (21 May)

ICCA Consortium announces upcoming report on Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ territories of life (19 May)

Civil society organizations and experts call draft new global action plan on biodiversity conservation disappointingly weak and unacceptable (7 May)

Remembering “Papo”, Elias Diaz Peña Echeguren (6 May)


The Impacts of Industrial Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa & Why We Need to Shift Development Finance Away from It (27 July)

Smoke and Mirrors: How the UNFSS is promoting corporate food systems and other false solutions; the case of industrial livestock production and nature-based solutions (27 July)

Share your news!

We encourage all of our members to send us your news, whether it be an event, a blog, a testimony, a photo essay or your press releases. We can help to share your campaign materials!
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9 Sep, 2021
Posted in Roots