By Sara Leal*
IPAM (Amazon Environmental Research Institute) launches today (5/18) the mini-documentary Voices from the South: for a more inclusive EU-Mercosur Agreement. The film, made within the scope of the IPAM’s Amazoniar project in partnership with Fern and ISA (Instituto Socioambiental), records the meeting of peoples and traditional communities from the South American bloc with authorities of the European Union to discuss the Free Trade Agreement between the two blocs of countries.
The visit of the delegation – made up of representatives of organizations, collectives, and indigenous and traditional communities from Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay – to the European Union was intended to give voice to the populations that will be directly and indirectly affected to the EU-Mercosur agreement and their concerns about the consequences if the treaty is signed.
The delegation met with members of the European Parliament and the Brazilian embassy in Belgium, and also visited family farmers to exchange experiences. According to the Defender of Forestry and Trade at FERN in Brussels, Perrine Fournier, the group’s presence was fundamental. “Finally [they] were able to participate in the discussions surrounding the agreement.”
Representative of family farming in Altamira and Professor at the Federal University of Pará, Ana Paula Santos Souza was one of the members of the group. “Family farming, indigenous peoples, riverside communities, quilombolas, and their diversity of practices and products have a lot to contribute. The Parliament needs to listen and our representatives also need to take these messages”, she says in the documentary.
The senior researcher at IPAM, Paulo Moutinho, emphasizes the initiative is a breakthrough. “We may be starting to break a paradigm here. In other words, that commercial agreements can be questioned by societies, especially those that are often excluded and that have to be at the forefront”.
The documentary Voices from the South: for a more inclusive EU-Mercosur Agreement is available on the IPAM YouTube channel with subtitles in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
It’s not just about trade
To serve as a source of information about how the ways of life, production, human rights, and the territories of these communities could be affected by the Agreement, Amazoniar launched in February of this year two initiatives as a result of a series of consultations and interviews with representatives of organizations, collectives and indigenous and traditional communities in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
They are a policy brief entitled “It’s not just about trade”, a document that summarizes the main topics addressed during the consultations; and a series of four interviews, carried out within the framework of the Amazoniar project, with guests from different organizations in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
*Communication Coordinator at IPAM, email@example.com