The Vitoria Statement in Support of the Struggles of Local Peoples Against Large-Scale Tree Plantations

The following Statement was issued on 24/11/05 in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil at an international meeting on building support for local communities against large-scale tree plantations and GMO trees. This meeting was co-sponsored by World Rainforest Movement, FASE-ES and Global Justice Ecology Project.

The city of Vitoria in Brazil, owes its name to the “victory” of the colonialist Portuguese against the original indigenous inhabitants of the land. Today, the same name has a totally different meaning. The indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani peoples have retaken the lands that were stolen from them by the giant pulp mill corporation Aracruz Cellulose. They have been joined in the struggle against the company and its plants by other local communities and organizations from civil society who, through uniting in the struggle, have weakened the company’s power. They have thus become a symbol of victory for peoples all over the world who are fighting against similar corporations.

Peoples throughout the world are also uniting at the local, national and international levels to put pressure on large scale tree plantations that have been depriving them of their livelihoods and destroying their lands.

These struggles have brought us together in Vitoria, in Espirito Santo, Brazil to strengthen the local peoples’ movements against corporations that are advancing large scale monoculture tree plantations.

With that aim:

  • We support the struggles of local peoples for land rights and access to land
  • We support the struggles of local peoples who are defending their right to water, biodiversity, soils, foods, medicines, fuel, etc that come from the land.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples for autonomy and self-determination.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against pulpwood plantations and pulp mills.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against oil palm plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against carbon sink plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against biomass plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against the certification of large scale tree plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and opposition to the introduction of GMO trees which would greatly exacerbate the impacts on local communities from large-scale tree plantations. We therefore call for a global ban on the release of GMO trees into the environment.

Large scale tree plantations, whether GMO or not, are the end result of a set of global economic mechanisms put into play by a series of international actors that make it possible for corporations to take over peoples’ lands, water and biodiversity in order to increase profits. In addition to the pulp and paper corporations, the international entities working to disenfranchise local peoples in support of corporate profits and the neoliberal model include International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank; organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; commercial banks; and forestry consulting firms, all of whom act with the support of national governments.

We therefore demand that national governments end this destructive development model and act to support the rights and livelihoods of local peoples, rather than repressing them.

We call on the people of the world to join the struggles of local peoples who are defending their rights, lands, water, and biodiversity.


World Rainforest Movement

Robin wood e.v., Germany

The Corner House, United Kingdom

Global Justice Ecology Project, Usa

Rivani Noor, Community Alliance for Pulp Paper Advocacy/CAPPA, Indonesia

Marijke Torfs, Usa

Kaisu Tuominen, Finland

Red de Acción Ciudadana por los Derechos Ambientales, Temuko, Chile

Alfredo Seguel, Konapewman, Chile

Alejandra Parra, Kolectivo por los Derechos Ambientales, Chile

Lorena Ojeda, Koyam Newen,, Chile

Angélica Hernandez, AGRA (Agenda Regional), Chile

José Aylwin, Observatorio de Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, Chile

Mauricio Peñailillo, Junta de Vecinos Botrolhue Sur, Chile

Sandra Leijer, Unión Comunal de Juntas de vecinos de Temuko, Chile

Rony Leiva, Txapelaiñ taiñ kimun, Chile

Richard Caamaño, ODECU (Organización de defensa del consumidor y usuario), Chile

Chris Lang, World Rainforest Movement, Germany

Antonis Diamantidis, World Rainforest Movement, Greece

Ivonne Ramos, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador

Isaac Rojas, COECOCeiba, Costa Rica

Lucio Cuenca, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, Chile

Witoon Permpongsacharoen, TERRA-PER (Project for Ecological Recovery), Thailand

Jutta Kill, Sinks Watch

Wally Menne, Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa

Maria Selva Ortiz, REDES – Friends of the Earth, Uruguay

María Isabel Cárcamo, RAPAL, Uruguay

Gupo Guayubira, Uruguay

FASE/ES - Federação de Órgãos Para Assistência Social e Educacional, Brazil

MST/ES - Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – ES, Brazil

FASE Bahia - Federação de Órgãos Para Assistência Social e Educacional, Brazil

CDDH-Teixeira de Freitas/BA – Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos – , Brazil

Comissão de Meio Ambiente da CUT RJ, Brazil

Associação do Geógrafos Brasileiros - Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil

Associação do Geógrafos Brasileiros - Niteroi – RJ, Brazil

Bicuda Ecológica, Brazil

APEDEMA-RJ Assembléia Permanente das Entidades em Defesa do Meio Ambiente, Brazil

Verdejar Proteção Ambiental e Humanismo, Brazil

Thomas Rodriguez , United Kingdom

Alexandre Menezes, United Kingdom

Espaço Cultural da Paz – Teixeira de Freitas/BA, Brazil

Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana - Sínodo do Espírito Santo a Belém, Brazil

AGB/ES – Associação dos Geógrafos Brasileiros – Seção ES, Brazil

CDDH-Serra – Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos Serra, Brazil

Celeste Ciccarone- Antropóloga - DCSO/UFES, Brazil

CEPEDES – Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul/Ba, Brazil

Fórum Estadual de Mulheres/ES, Brazil

Movimento Nacional dos Direitos Humanos/Regional Leste, Brazil

MPA – Espírito Santo – Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores, Brazil

Waldo Motta – Poeta – Vitória/ES, Brazil

Antonio Locateli - Professor e mestre em Ciências da Educação – Pinheiros/ES, Brazil

Comissão Quilombola do Sapê do Norte, Brazil

Marcos Borba, Brazil

CPT / MG - Comissão Pastoral da Terra de Minas Gerais, Brazil

ECOSC – Equipe de Conservacionistas Santa Cruz, Brazil

Núcleo Amigos da Terra, Brazil

Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil

Fernando Schubert – Estudante de Psicologia – UFES/ES, Brazil

DCE – Diretório Central dos Estudantes – UFES/ES, Brazil

Lígia Moysés Nascimento – Radialista/ES, Brazil

Pastoral Indigenista – Aracruz/ES, Brazil

Marta Aguilar, Uruguay

Julio Sire, Uruguay

Matthew McDaniel, The Akha Heritage Foundation

Soumitra Ghosh, National Forum Of Forest People and Forest Workers, India

Mumbai - Porto Alegre Forest Initiative