Protecting, Respecting, or Violating Peasants’ Rights? UNDROP, the State and Sembrando Vida—Mexico’s Flagship Reforestation Project

Chadwick, Anna and Cardwell, Emma and Giraldo, Omar Felipe and Keller, Kate and López, Rosa and McClure, Julia and Rosset, Peter and Vallejo Reyna, Alberto (2024) Protecting, Respecting, or Violating Peasants’ Rights? UNDROP, the State and Sembrando Vida—Mexico’s Flagship Reforestation Project. McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law, 20 (1). pp. 1-34.

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Abstract

In this article, we critically examine Sembrando Vida—a Mexican social and economic development programme that pays individual farmers a subsidy to plant trees on their land—through the lens of a new instrument in the landscape of international human rights law (IHRL): the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). Sembrando Vida purports to simultaneously advance efforts to combat climate change and to enhance rural social development, and the programme leans heavily on its promise to learn from “Indigenous” and “peasant” lifestyles to enhance its legitimacy. We interviewed people impacted by the Sembrando Vida project. Here, we draw on the evidence we gathered to contest its presentation as a human rights-respecting development programme, and to demonstrate that the programme is undermining traditional agroecological practices that offer a more sustainable and equitable alternative to combatting climate change. By analysing Sembrando Vida through the lens of UNDROP, we demonstrate that a project that purports to learn from rural and peasant communities in their stewardship of nature is a form of mandate system that seeks to nurse rural communities, as opposed to fledgling nations, into a particular vision of economic health. Sembrando Vida is, predictably, remunerative for private investors and state actors trying to develop the poorer regions of Mexico through a number of disparate large-scale infrastructure projects that traverse constitutionally protected common lands.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Research Output Funding/yes_externally_funded
Subjects:
?? yes - externally fundedno - not fundedno ??
ID Code:
221293
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
12 Jun 2024 13:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
18 Jul 2024 00:02