Here at Food & Water Europe, we’re not only celebrating the New Year, but also the 10th anniversary of our sister organisation, Food & Water Watch.
Together we have grown into a powerful advocate for healthy food and clean water for all, with nearly 1 million supporters in the US and thousands here in Europe demanding that our democracy work to improve people’s lives and protect the environment. Thanks to YOU, our allies, activists and grassroots partners, we’re proving that when we bring people together, we can overcome even the most powerful corporations.
You are a wonderful part of our celebrations, and I want to share just some of the important victories you made happen right here in Europe:
1. Put the Human Right to Water at the core of the political debate
We helped collect nearly 2 million signatures across Europe, which triggered the debate at the EU and blocked new attempts from the European Commission to promote privatisation of water management. We successfully campaigned with allies to get the European Parliament’s support for the implementation of these human rights in EU legislation.
2. Sent fracking packing
We worked together with movements across Europe to build up resistance against fracking, which is sending most of the frackers back home. We successfully campaigned to have a majority of the European Parliament support a moratorium on fracking. After we exposed early-on the hype about shale gas, the European Parliament has finally realised that shale gas cannot contribute to addressing the EU’s energy challenges.
3. Reinforced Europe’s resistance against GMOs
We exposed how prominent vested interests are cooking the books to make GM crops look good. We joined farmers, consumers and environmentalists campaigning to halt GM cultivation in Europe and celebrated that 19 EU countries — representing more than two-thirds of both European citizens and their cropland — that now are officially opting out of GM crops. And we pushed to block any new GM crop approval for cultivation in the EU.
4. Stood against attempts to commodify nature
We have opposed attempts to promote biodiversity offsetting and objected to privatising nature in both Europe and the UK. We closely monitored and attacked any move to promote commodification and financialisation of our common goods, like water.
5. Kept drinking water under public control
We supported grassroots movements fighting against water privatisation on the ground. We co-ordinated European solidarity with Greek citizens fighting privatisation imposed by austerity measures. We also joined citizens in cities like Paris to get their water back from corporate giants Veolia and Suez.
6. Helped build the anti-fracking movement
We coordinated the Global Frackdown as a day of international decentralised actions to make the voices against fracking heard. Just this year, more than 1250 groups in 64 countries supported our call for a ban on fracking, because fighting climate change while allowing fracking is irreconcilable. The campaign to keep fossil fuels in the ground will finally be on the agenda of the climate talks in Paris.
7. Protected European food safety
We campaigned to keep clones out of our food chain and fought the expansion of factory farming by pressing the EU to take responsibility for the damage done by imported industrial soya and by joining local opposition to new megafarms.
8. Mobilised against bad trade deals
We joined the movement that gathered the support of 3 million people to demand that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) be scrapped. Our official objection to an Investor/State Dispute Mechanism (ISDS) in TTIP helped set a record with 150,000 responses, overwhelmingly opposed to ISDS because it puts corporations before citizens. We raised awareness about the impacts that TTIP and other trade negotiations can have on public water and managed to get the European Parliament’s support to exclude water from all trade negotiations.
9. Built a movement
We are proud to be part of the growing European movement standing up to corporations that put profits before people. When our food, our water or our territories are threatened, we will be there to advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
10. We found you!
More and more people are involved in the political process and are amplifying their voices to oppose fracking, keep water under public control, kick out GM crops and animals and roll back corporate control. We are strong and we are growing — and we are independent of corporate and government influence. Together, we are breaking down larger systemic problems into winnable campaigns so that we can build for bigger victories in the future.
We couldn’t have won any of these victories without you. I am so grateful that you are standing with Food & Water Europe.
Here’s to 2016 — the first of the next 10 years!