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• 03•09•2002 •

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24 Aug - 4 Sept 2002





UKabc pages on preparatory processes:

Political Declaration and Extracts from ECO 7, 3 Sept 2002

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Draft Political Statement was published last night...

< >

Of particular note is the para on Trade that avoids mentioning TRIPs...

Para 39: We agree that an equitable, comprehensive, rule-based and predictable multilateral trading system is an essential means of implementing the Johannesburg Commitment.

ECO 7 recommends adding to this para 39:

"In this regard, we agree that there should be a review of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the Cancún WTO Ministerial meeting in 2003."

Full Text: < >

More from ECO 7, 3 Sept 2002

Report from Farmers' Convergence

At the NGO Forum at Nasrec, farmers are represented as a major group in the International Steering Group. Here, small-scale farmers have finally spoken, and are being heard. It will not, however, end with the summit. Through their organisations and PELUM, the farmers will build stronger alliances and partnerships, and continue to lobby government and international organisations for change.

A Farmer's Bad Dream

By PELUM's Small Farmer Convergence at the WSSD

PELUM Association is an indigenous network of civilsociety organisations in East and Southern Africa, learning, advocating and striving for food security, fair trade, community empowerment and ecological land-use management. Through workshops in preparation for the WSSD, the farmers have expressed the issues facing them through this little story.

I Mirembe, a small-scale farmer from Mubende, had a dream. I was on my way to Mubende Health Facility, pregnant with my third child. I was anxious following the loss of my two eldest sons to HIV/AIDS who used to help me in the field. When I got to the clinic, there was no qualified doctor. Only someone who did not have a clue what he was doing.

I did not know where to go instead. Of course, we had no phone, and our roads were in a poor condition. In this dream, although I had a wealth of experience of farming and indigenous knowledge, I had very little money and could not afford alternative services.

And as I waited for the nurse, I prayed that the child in my womb would one day have access to training and extension services in agriculture to be able to afford a better life than mine. It was hot, but there was no shade under which I could rest as all the trees had been cut or burnt down for charcoal In this heat, I really needed to drink something. But the nearest source of water 12 kmaway was dirty. Our crops were drying because of lack of water, now, this is unbearable! I suddenly find myself waking up with burning thirst..

The only difference between my dream and my reality is that I am not pregnant. And I think to myself:

"What can I do for my children and their children?" Who can I tell about my bad dream? Who will listen to me?

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Daniella Rosche (Greenpeace)

Daniella Rosche with leaflet she was arrested for
distributing at Earth Summit
(from Greenpeace site)

Extracts from ECO 6, 2 Sept 2002

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Full Text: < >

Congratulations to Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, St. Lucia (CARICOM), Tuvalu, and, especially, Ethiopia (and, yes, the G77 + China and the EU too) for eliminating that abhorrent "WTO consistency" text.


The agreed text on biodiversity is weaker than the language "have instruments in place to stop and reverse the current alarming biodiversity loss… by the year 2010" adopted by the same ministers in April 2002 at the 6th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. At a minimum, governments should re-commit to what they agreed to only six months ago. However, the text still refers to a target, and with the US accepting this, it would seem a logical next step for them to ratify the convention. The paragraph on access and benefit- sharing may represent a positive step as long as the role of the WTO in the "Means of implementation" does not interfere with the negotiations called for in this paragraph.

The agreement on rebuilding fish stocks (paragraph 30 (a)) may well undermine the past 10 years of international agreements on sustainable fisheries and the protection of marine biodiversity, in particular the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement. It also appears to treat the minimal obligations for fisheries conservation in the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea as being merely voluntary, and only to be implemented by 2015 "where possible". The setting of a date to rebuild the world's fisheries and marine ecosystems is a laudable goal, but the target chosen to rebuild fish stocks, "maximum sustainable yield", almost guarantees the continued depletion of the world's fisheries and marine biodiversity.

At the same time there is good text calling for the elimination of subsidies that contribute to illegal and unregulated fishing and excess fishing capacity and for the development and use of the ecosystem approach and networks of marine protected areas to protect biodiversity in the marine environment.


While the agreed text acknowledges that agriculture is inextricably linked to poverty eradication, that's where it ends. It does not sufficiently recognize the scope and scale of challenges facing current agricultural production systems, either environmental or social. It contains no action plan to ensure that agricultural production systems are transformed to become vehicles for food security, environmental sustainability, or poverty reduction. It contains no commitments to provide new resources to combat declining levels of public support for agriculture transformation.

Finally, the Summit has dropped positive references from Bali to support new and emerging opportunities to diversify and develop agricultural niche markets (i.e. fair trade and organic) - arguably the best examples of sustainable agriculture around. Finally, the text does not define sustainable agriculture so as to address the question of GM crops, leaving open the possibility that the precautionary principle is undermined, and GM crops considered "sustainable" solutions for poverty and environmental degradation… All in all, a poor showing, and hardly Summitworthy.


Scrap the text and start again! Eco has consistently held that governments must recognise that globalised market liberalisation does not lead to equitable, just or environmentally sustainable development. Economies must be managed as a tool to achieve sustainable development.

Sustainable development must circumscribe trade and WTO rules - not the other way around. Unless this relationship is clearly set out by the Summit, the legal precedent set will spell the demise of the Kyoto Protocol, the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, the Stockholm POPs convention, and virtuually every other agreement in future. Not to mention the fact that WTO rules would continue to take precedence over sustainable livelihoods and human development.


The current draft has no reference to the precautionary principle, and the target date of 2020 refers to risk management, rather than the phase-out and elimination of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). This is clearly weaker than the POPs Treaty agreed in Stockholm last year.

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Extracts from ECO 5, 30 August 2002



Full Report: < >

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The spirit of Rio certainly does NOT live on in Joburg. The legally binding conventions agreed ten years ago contain more substantive language on principles than the non binding draft Johannesburg Implementation Plan. Sad but true.

Governments need to re-read agreements they have already signed up to- hopefully before they head back into the negotiating sessions.

Biodiversity: Down the Drain?

The CBD was one of the three international framework Conventions signed at Rio in 1992. It has been ratified by 185 countries, most, if not all, present here. Commitments made by party states to this Convention include:

The Precautionary Principle is included in the Convention on Biological Diversity and its related Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol develops the principle in this case to facilitate implementation by stating that, "Lack of scientific certainty due to insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge regarding the extent of the potential adverse effects of a living modified organism on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the Party of import…shall not prevent that Party from taking a decision…in order to avoid or minimize such potential adverse effects." In spite of this, the current bracketed text includes waffle words such as, "[based on sound science, risk assessment and principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development [and other [relevant] international instruments]]. The bracketed text in paragraph 23 is the same as the CBD.

The 2000 Conference of Parties in Nairobi adopted the ecosystem approach as the primary framework for action under the Convention. In paragraph 23 of the WSSD text, the bureaucrats' here have bracketed the ecosystem approach. Have 185 countries been overruled?

Negotiators Trading away Precaution?

At the 1992 Earth Summit, the Precautionary Principle was adopted in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration, bringing to the global stage an emerging paradigm shift. Following Rio, a number of conventions and other soft law agreements incorporated the precautionary approach into their provisions, and still other agreements were actually negotiated on a precautionary basis, including the Climate Change Convention. Precaution is embedded in a growing number of legally binding international agreements, involving toxic chemicals, fisheries, climate, fish stocks and biodiversity.

However, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, where precaution should be at the very heart of agreements-including with respect to natural resources, chemicals and trade- governments are trading this principle away.

Precaution was a part of Rio. This is an implementation conference. When do we get to implementation?

But There's Been No Back- Sliding on Trade!

The latest draft Means of Implementation text on Trade and Finance mentions:

4"The Doha work programme" 22 times.

4 "In a manner consistent with WTO rights and obligations" three times ( in crucial places!)

4"Public-private" 14 times.

In sharp contrast, where are the earlier references to:

4Promoting initiatives to ensure coherence between the rules of the multilateral trading system and multilateral environmental agreements "consistent with the goals of sustainable development." (see Bali text para. 122 (c))?

4Apply "in decision-making" the precautionary principle as established in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development "and further developed in international law in order to protect health and environment." (see Bali text para. 45 (e) alt.)?

4An "international mechanism" to stabilise commodity prices for coping with the instability of commodity prices and declining terms of trade (see Bali text para. 82)?

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Extracts from ECO 3, 28 Aug 2002

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The Perils of Setting a Biodiversity Target

After Monday's lengthy discussions on the importance of biodiversity, based on the useful WEHAB paper on the topic, it may come as a surprise that the only meaningful implementation target on the issue is in deep trouble.

And the trouble is coming from a surprising source. Even the US, famously recalcitrant on many other targets, has indicated its willingness to accept the goal of reversing the current decline in biodiversity by the year 2010.

But now the G-77, which of course includes the most megadiverse nations, is having second thoughts. The group has offered an alternative biodiversity text that eliminates any notion of reversing the decline of biodiversity entirely, and has also questioned the ecosystem approach. This is all ironic on three accounts: the same countries have of course accepted the goal and the approach in the CBD itself, and the ecosystems approach is essential for poverty alleviation.

Some explanation is called for. It appears a number of countries are concerned that the financial boon they hoped would issue from the CBD's access and benefit sharing provisions has not, in fact, occurred. Perhaps they are waiting to see what efforts, in addition to the recent decision to increase the Global Environment Fund replenishment, the rich countries are willing to put forward.

But blocking a target on these grounds will ultimately be self-defeating, because without a specific goal, the effort to mobilize financial resources for biodiversity conservation will be even harder.

There is a ray of hope, however. In late night discussions of the natural resources chapeau, the EU, displaying the kind of determination we'd dearly like to see on other issues, has defended both a biodiversity target and the ecosystem approach. So it's still possible that the heads of state of the world's most megadiverse countries will not, at the end of the day, have to explain the extinction of the WSSD's only real biodiversity target.

EU-US: Sleeping With the Enemy?

There is more about this Summit that is reminiscent of Seattle than the circling helicopters and search-lights. Increasingly, it seems, we are negotiating a trade text, with other issues relegated to the periphery. Are environmental and poverty reduction interests once again being hijacked by the short-term demands of trade ministries and special- interest lobbyists?

As reported in Monday's Eco, the US Trade Representative and EU DG Trade cooked up a closed-room deal a few weeks ago. Many delegates (including G77 and European environment ministry officials) negotiating in good faith didn't realize that the text they were first presented over the weekend was underpinned by this deal. This is supposedly the first ever multi-stakeholder Summit. And yet the single most important document generated in the run up to the Summit is a secret paper negotiated behind closed doors! Remember the attempt by US and EU trade officials to subvert the development of a biosafety protocol in Seattle - through the establishment of a Biotechnology Working Group in the WTO.

The poor understanding of and disinterest in trade officials of sustainable development issues was striking in Doha. Here it threatens to strike a heavier blow. It could result in an action plan for poverty reduction and environmental conservation that leaves MEAs at the mercy of the WTO and rich countries free to subsidise unsustainable production and consumption - with devastating consequences for the poor. The deadlock resulting from the apparent EU-US pre-agreement has prompted the erosion of some of the best remaining text since Bali; the G-77 and the new EC-US bloc are now reduced to trading amongst one another their responsibilities to the environment and the poor. Language to cut environmentally harmful subsidies is dropped in return for removal of language in support of biodiversity conservation, for example. This rift between the sustainable development and trade agendas was only too apparent in Seattle. Once again, we are witnessing a widening gap - ironically, through t he negotiation of a text at a World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The EU-US alliance here in Joburg is weird considering that Washington appears to be on the brink of war -a new trade war with Europe. Announcing the opening salvo, the UK's Independent on Sunday (25 August 2002) reports that "…US trade representative, Robert Zoellick, is putting in a complaint to the World Trade Organisation claiming that the EU moratorium on GM imports and crop-testing is a restraint of trade. His action is being backed by Monsanto, the US biotechnology group that has been at the centre of the development of GM crops."

This news brings us back to an issue at this summit: the relationship between trade and environmental rules. Since its creation two years after Rio, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been used to challenge the right of any country to take measures to protect its environment and its people. When a country feels threatened economically by a trade-restricting measure of another country, it may request a legally binding ruling by a WTO dispute settlement panel. The trouble is that WTO dispute settlement panels do not have competence on environmental issues, especially concerning the decision-making importance of the precautionary principle - the science-based approach enshrined in Principle 15. The threat of WTO sanctions against environmental measures also has had a so-called chilling effect on the development and ratification of major environmental agreements, most notably the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and the Biosafety Protocol on GMOs.

Since the GM food controversy received attention and public concern in the mid- 1990s, the WTO has been one of the main weapons used by the US to fight GM crops and food having a special regulatory treatment. In February 1999, the US together, with Canada and Australia, formed a cartel of grain-producing countries known as the Miami Group to prevent the adoption of the Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Their goal was to prevent, with threats of WTO sanctions, the adoption of a protocol recognising the right of any country to say no to GMOs on the basis of the precautionary principle. They managed to delay the adoption of the Biosafety protocol, and tried instead to create a WTO working party in Seattle. The tactic sank together with the Seattle conference, and the Biosafety protocol was adopted eight weeks later at a meeting in Montreal in January 2000. The US (which is still not a party to the CBD, and therefore is not entitled to sign its Biosafety Pro tocol) continues to undermine this instrument.

As an example, when Sri Lanka decided in 2001 to ban GMOs in food and agriculture in order to protect its biodiversity and competitiveness in world markets (given the increasing consumer demand for GM-free food), the US Embassy in Colombo threatened with economic retaliations, including a WTO dispute settlement panel. The thought of being condemned by the WTO and having to pay a fine for compensation is scary for a small country like Sri Lankan, and the Sri Lankan parliament was forced to "suspend" the law against GMOs.

A dispute against the EU takes more effort, even for the US. The news of this new US-EU trade war should trigger a reconsideration of the EU position at this summit. The US has already proven a false friend with steel tariffs. While the EU and the US plot together to impose the WTO agenda here in Joburg, the Bush administration is plotting against the EU behind its back. If it wants to protects itself against the arbitrary nature of the US, the EU would be better off proposing here in Johannesburg that negotiations on trade and the environment take place under the aegis of the UN ECOSOC, and not within the WTO where there is an obvious bias against sustainability and environmental measures.

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The Johannesburg Declaration on Biopiracy, Biodiversity and Community Rights

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This declaration was developed before and during the Second South-South Biopiracy Summit in Johannesburg. Please distribute and sign on by the end of the Earth Summit. It can then be presented as an outcome of the Summit.

Please distribute widely. An English and Spanish version is available. We will shortly distribute a French version. You can also access the declaration on the following website:



The Johannesburg Declaration on Biopiracy, Biodiversity and Community Rights

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We, representatives of local communities, civil society organisations and NGOs from around the world, gathered around the world and at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, held in August and September 2002, discussed issues relating to the privatisation of our biological resources and the protection of the rights of holders of indigenous knowledge and technologies, especially as related to biodiversity.

Mindful that the content and spirit of this declaration is a culmination of a decade of resistance to the privatisation of our food, water and biodiversity;

Recognising that human beings are an integral part of the web of life on Earth and that our well-being is derived from and depends on the health of our ecosystems and species;

Determined to ensure that human actions do not destroy this web of mutually enhancing ecological relationship;.

Conscious and proud of the fundamental role played by local communities, indigenous peoples, farmers and in particular women, and their traditional knowledge in the conservation and management of biological diversity to ensure food and health security in the past, the present and the future;

Mindful of the inextricable links between bioprospecting and genetic engineering;

Reminding everyone that the current dominant models of development driven by economic liberalisation and corporate control, reinforce social inequalities throughout the world and undermine the sovereignty of nation states to take care of their people;

Aware that the increasingly powerful multinational companies are destroying local communities and their natural resource base by privatising biological, land and water resources and that a potent instrument in this destruction is the patenting of living organisms;

Realising that communities have not benefited from bioprospecting, that it has not delivered on its promises as a tool for biodiversity conservation, social justice, and poverty alleviation, and that it has legitimised the unfair appropriation of biological resources and knowledge.


That local communities, indigenous peoples and farmers are custodians of biodiversity, and that they have the inalienable right and responsibility to continue to manage, save, exchange and further develop the biodiversity under their custody, over and above any external commercial interests.

Similarly, we consider food sovereignty - the right of people to sufficient and healthy food at all times and access to natural resources - as a central principle, which should not be subject to other interests or considerations. People also have a basic right to accessible and affordable healthcare and to the biological resources from which they derive health benefits.

We oppose the current push towards globalisation that is driven predominantly by commercial interests and which undermines our cultures and our capacity to sustain and control our livelihoods.

We oppose biopiracy and the patenting of our biological resources and knowledge because it goes against our human and cultural rights and identity. We firmly believe that benefit sharing is possible without patents.

We believe the protection of human subjects in genetic research is a human rights issue, requiring carefully crafted social policies and laws which are stringently monitored and enforced to protect individuals and groups from exploitative research and practices.

We declare our opposition to the patenting of life and to the patenting of crops and seed, because we are concerned about the removal of control of food production from local communities and farmers to multinational corporations.

We declare that genetic engineering in food and farming presents serious and irreversible environmental and health risks.

We believe that community rights over biodiversity and indigenous knowledge are collective in nature, and therefore cannot be privatised or individualised. Intellectual property rights as applied to biodiversity and traditional knowledge are private and monopolistic in nature and therefore incompatible with community rights. IPRs cannot exist within a traditional knowledge system and attempts to bring these two worlds together are misguided and unacceptable.

In this context, we declare that the initiative of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to develop systems for the protection of traditional knowledge is highly inappropriate. WIPO should work to stop biopiracy that occurs because of biodiversity patents, and not to define the rights of communities which should be done by the communities themselves.


Concern over food and health security and the environment should take precedence over international trade interests. The WTO is not the place to decide on these issues. Neither should regional or bilateral trade agreements affect local biodiversity management.

Governments should have the central responsibility to develop and implement policies, legislation and research and to redirect these towards a holistic approach to development, the promotion of local control over resources, and the active participation of local communities, farmers and indigenous peoples in decision making.

We call on the international community to initiate a process to negotiate a legally binding agreement under the CBD to prevent biopiracy, to ensure national sovereignty over biological and genetic resources, and to protect the rights of indigenous and local communities over their resources and knowledge.

Access to biological and genetic resources and knowledge should only be permitted with the prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities, on the basis of the terms and conditions they set. This should be a prerequisite for benefit sharing. Groups and individuals potentially impacted by genetic research have a right to full and transparent disclosure of the benefits and risks of such research, and to either give their consent or refuse to participate.

Biodiversity based and sustainable agricultural systems which are under the control of local communities, should be adopted and promoted as the principal mode of agricultural and other food production.

Our governments should ensure an environment free of GMOs in our countries and in our farming systems and should support our efforts to raise awareness amongst farmers and consumers about the real and potential impact of GE to the environment and to human health.

There should be a total ban on the patenting of life forms and the use of any IPRs on biodiversity and traditional knowledge. We want to see the strengthening of community rights and Farmers Rights in the relevant international agreements and at national level to ensure that local communities and farmers can continue to save, exchange, nurture, use and further develop biological resources.

African governments should to take steps to implement the African Model Law for Community Rights at the national level. We also urge the global community to support the implementation of this law and to desist from any activities or policies that directly or indirectly undermine its adoption and operation by African countries.

We call on WTO members to amend TRIPs to reflect that all life forms and living processes cannot be patented in any member state. We also call on WTO members to allow countries maximum flexibility to establish sui generis systems of protection for plant varieties that protect the rights of farmers and indigenous communities to their resources and their traditional knowledge."


To strengthen our efforts and campaigns to stop the patenting of life forms and to secure our right to an environment free of GMOs.

To strengthen and promote the role of local communities, indigenous peoples, farmers and women in biodiversity conservation and use, and to protect and insist on their rights to do so.

To protect and enrich our local knowledge systems about biodiversity and to actively promote diversified integrated farming and food production systems based on biodiversity in our communities and organisations.

We promise to be as generous as the Earth, clear as the water, strong as the wind, and as far and as close as the sun. And we pledge to exchange our seeds of knowledge and wisdom passed on from generation to generation.

This declaration is a compilation of two recent civil society declarations:

The Valley of 1000 Hills Declaration, made KwaZulu Natal, South Africa in March 2002, by 40 community and NGO participants from Africa.

The Rio Branco Commitment, made in Rio Branco, Brazil in May 2002, by 100 community and NGO participants from around the world.

It also reflects the viewpoints expressed by the majority of participants at the Second South-South Biopiracy Summit, hosted in Johannesburg in August 2002.

Send signatures to:

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Statement of solidarity with Southern African nations over GM food and crops

Delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, We the undersigned, as representatives or advocates of the people of the Global South, hereby declare our condemnation of the coercive techniques being used by the United States of America to force the nations and people of the South to accept genetically modified food in food aid shipments.

We condemn the United States' use of Food Aid as a tool of propaganda to force acceptance of GM food and crops by Southern nations on the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

Peasant farmers and indigenous peoples in many Southern nations are opposing GM crops and condemning GM contamination of their land whilst the recipients of food aid are protesting the dumping of GM food that have not undergone independent safety testing.

We decry the bio-imperialism of dumping food aid in Africa, the endangerment of food sovereignty and security and the deviation from principles of self-determination*.

It further subsidizes the US farm system, provides a handy market for dumping grain not wanted elsewhere and is a thinly disguised attempt to pollute the sub continent's grain stocks with patented genetically modified varieties.

We support the governments of Zambia and Mozambique for protesting about the inclusion of genetically modified shipments of maize in food aid.

The United States' Department of State is clearly using emergency food aid shipments for starving people in southern Africa as a political tool to force acceptance of genetically modified foods. This exploitative policy makes it clear that the United States is not interested in staving off famine.

The United States is forcing the people of southern African nations to accept genetically modified food aid or risk widespread starvation, and has been unwilling to listen to the legitimate concerns.

Genetically modified crops, such as GM coffee and Bt cotton - and the corporations that market them - will only exacerbate rural unemployment and social and economic inequalities, and spur further environmental degradation.

We encourage governments and people around the world to initiate a boycott of genetically modified food products from the United States to demonstrate support not only for southern African nations who are being used as political pawns in a dire situation, but to show support for all the countries of the world that have been threatened with trade sanctions by the United States for regulating or labeling genetically modified foods.

Finally, we urge governments of the world to reject the inclusion of any language in the WSSD declaration that presumes genetically modified foods will be a solution to world hunger

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US using WSSD to force GMOs on the world


The US is using the dire humanitarian disaster in southern Africa as a way of forcing GMOs and Genetic Engineering on the world. It sees the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as its platform to get moral approval of biotechnology, backed by three US-inspired pro-biotechnology reports. On Friday the US launched a trade war against the EU over its refusal to accept GM foods and seeds. The solutions lie elsewhere, as identified in ITDG's background paper "Preserving the Web of Life", released today in Johannesburg

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World Summit on Sustainable Development

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Draft Plan of Implementation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Extracts (paras 23 - Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development; 38 - Agriculture; & 42 - Biodiversity) from:

Note the lack of explicit linkages between Agriculture, Biodiversity and the Precautionary Principle. This leaves the door wide open for imposition of Genetic Engineering for 'Sustainable Development'.

Also See: Bali Prep Comm IV

NB the following sub-paras:

Precautionary Principle
Human activities are having an increasing impact on the integrity of ecosystems that provide essential resources and services for human well-being and economic activities. [As the natural resource base is vital for sustainable development, the current trend in loss of natural resources must be halted and reversed, where appropriate, at global and national levels by 2015.]/[Managing the natural resources base in a sustainable and integrated manner is essential for sustainable development.] In this regard, it is necessary to implement strategies [which apply the precautionary principle] [based on an ecosystem approach] to protect all [types of]/[classes of] ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources, while strengthening regional, national and local capacities. [Concerns related to the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources should be integrated in all sectoral policies, strategies and programmes as well as in sustainable development strategies or, where applicable, poverty reduction strategies. Relevant existing environmental agreements and related instruments should be implemented fully and in a coherent manner.]

38 (r) [Agreed] Invite countries that have not done so to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

42 (q) [Agreed] Promote practicable measures for access to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies based upon genetic resources, in accordance with articles 15 and 19 of the CBD, including through enhanced scientific and technical cooperation on biotechnology and biosafety, including the exchange of experts, training human resources and developing research oriented institutional capacities;

42 (t) [Agreed] Invite all states, which have not already done so, to ratify the CBD, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and other biodiversity-related agreements, and for those that have done so, promote their effective implementation at the national, regional and international levels and support developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, technically and financially in this regard.




38. [Agreed] Agriculture plays a crucial role in addressing the needs of a growing global population, and is inextricably linked to poverty eradication, especially in developing countries. Enhancing the role of women at all levels and in all aspects of rural development, agriculture, nutrition and food security is imperative. Sustainable agriculture and rural development are essential to the implementation of an integrated approach to increasing food production and enhancing food security and food safety in an environmentally sustainable way. This would include actions at all levels to:

(a) [Agreed] Achieve the Millennium Declaration target to halve by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people who suffer from hunger and realize the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families, including food, including by, promoting food security and fighting hunger in combination with measures which address poverty, consistent with the outcome of the World Food Summit and, for State Parties, with their obligations under Article 11 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

(b) [Agreed] Develop and implement integrated land management and water-use plans that are based on sustainable use of renewable resources and on integrated assessments of socio-economic and environmental potentials, and strengthen the capacity of Governments, local authorities and communities to monitor and manage the quantity and quality of land and water resources;

(c) [Agreed] Increase understanding of the sustainable use, protection and management of water resources to advance long-term sustainability of freshwater, coastal and marine environments;

(d) [Agreed] Promote programmes to enhance in a sustainable manner the productivity of land and the efficient use of water resources in agriculture, forestry, wetlands, artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, especially through indigenous and local community-based approaches;

(e) [Agreed] Support efforts of developing countries to protect oases from silt, land degradation and increasing salinity by providing appropriate technical and financial assistance;

(f) [Agreed] Enhance the participation of women in all aspects and at all levels relating to sustainable agriculture and food security;

(g) [Agreed] Integrate existing information systems on land-use practices by strengthening national research and extension services and farmer organizations to trigger farmer-to-farmer exchange on good practices, such as those related to environmentally sound, low-cost technologies, with the assistance of relevant international organizations;

(h) [Agreed] Enact, as appropriate, measures that protect indigenous resource management systems and support the contribution of all appropriate stakeholders, men and women alike, in rural planning and development;

(i) [Agreed] Adopt policies and implement laws that guarantee well defined and enforceable land and water use rights, and promote legal security of tenure, recognizing the existence of different national laws and/or systems of land access and tenure, and provide technical and financial assistance to developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition that are undertaking land tenure reform in order to enhance sustainable livelihoods;

(j) [Agreed] Reverse the declining trend in public sector finance for sustainable agriculture, provide appropriate technical and financial assistance, and promote private sector investment and support efforts in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to strengthen agricultural research and natural resource management capacity and dissemination of research results to the farming communities;

(k) [Agreed] Employ market-based incentives for agricultural enterprises and farmers to monitor and manage water use and quality, inter alia by applying such methods as small-scale irrigation and wastewater recycling and reuse;

(l) [Agreed] Enhance access to existing markets and develop new markets for value-added agricultural products;

(m) [Achieve substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade distorting domestic support for agricultural products;]

(n) [Agreed] Increase brown-field redevelopment in developed countries and countries with economies in transition, with appropriate technical assistance where contamination is a serious problem;

(o) Enhance international cooperation to combat illicit [use of]/[drug] crops, taking into account their negative social, economic and environmental impacts and the need for countries strongly committed to combating cultivation of these crops to gain enhanced access to international markets for regular goods in order to help them to cope with the substantial economic loss such illicit crops engender;

(p) [Agreed] Promote programmes for the environmentally sound, effective and efficient use of soil fertility improvement practices and agricultural pest control;

(q) [Agreed] Strengthen and improve coordination of existing initiatives to enhance sustainable agricultural production and food security;

(r) [Agreed] Invite countries that have not done so to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

(s) [Agreed] Promote the conservation, and sustainable use and management of traditional and indigenous agricultural systems and strengthen indigenous models of agricultural production.




42. Biodiversity, which plays a critical role in overall sustainable development and poverty eradication, is essential to our planet, human well-being and to the livelihood and cultural integrity of people. However, biodiversity is presently being lost at unprecedented rates due to human activities; this trend can only be reversed if the local people benefit from the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, in particular in countries of origin of genetic resources, in accordance with Article 15 of the CBD. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the key instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources. [Achieving a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss [by 2010] includes actions at all levels to]/[With a view to having instruments in place to stop the current alarming biodiversity loss [by 2010], actions are required at all levels to]:

(a) [Agreed] Integrate the objectives of the CBD into global, regional and national sectoral and cross-sectoral programmes and policies, in particular in the programmes and policies of the economic sectors of countries and international financial institutions;

(b) [Agreed] Promote the ongoing work under the CBD on the sustainable use on biological diversity, including on sustainable tourism, as a cross-cutting issue relevant to different ecosystems, sectors and thematic areas;

(c) [Agreed] Encourage effective synergies between the CBD and other multilateral environmental agreements, inter alia, through the development of joint plans and programmes, with due regard to their respective mandates, regarding common responsibilities and concerns;

(d) [Agreed] Implement the CBD and its provisions, including active follow-up of its work programmes and decisions through national, regional and global action programmes, in particular the national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and strengthen their integration into relevant cross-sectoral strategies, programmes and policies, including those related to sustainable development and poverty eradication, including initiatives which promote community-based sustainable use of biological diversity;

(e) [Agreed] Promote the wide implementation and further development of the ecosystem approach, as being elaborated in the on-going work of the CBD;

(f) [Agreed] Promote concrete international support and partnership for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including in ecosystems, World Heritage sites and for the protection of endangered species, in particular through the appropriate channelling of financial resources and technology to developing countries, as well as to countries with economies in transition;

(g) [Agreed] To effectively conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, promote and support initiatives for hot spot areas and other areas essential for biodiversity and promote the development of national and regional ecological networks and corridors;

(h) [Agreed] Provide financial and technical support to developing countries, including capacity building, in order to enhance indigenous and community based biodiversity conservation efforts;

(i) [Agreed] Strengthen national, regional and international efforts to control invasive alien species, which are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss, and encourage the development of effective work programme on invasive alien species at all levels;

(j) [Agreed] Subject to national legislation, recognize the rights of local and indigenous communities who are holders of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and, with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices, develop and implement benefit-sharing mechanisms on mutually agreed terms for the use of such knowledge, innovations and practices;

(k) [Agreed] Encourage and enable all stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the CBD and recognize in particular the specific role of youth, women and indigenous and local communities in conserving and using biodiversity in a sustainable way;

(l) [Agreed] Promote the effective participation of indigenous and local communities in decision and policy making concerning the use of their traditional knowledge;

(m) [Agreed] Encourage technical and financial support to developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, in their efforts to develop and implement, as appropriate, inter alia, national sui generis systems and traditional systems according to national priorities and legislation, with a view to conserving and sustainable use of biodiversity;

(n) [Agreed] Promote the wide implementation of and continued work on the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising out of their Utilization of the CBD, as an input to assist Parties when developing and drafting legislative, administrative or policy measures on access and benefit-sharing, and contract and other arrangements under mutually agreed terms for access and benefit-sharing;

(o) [Negotiate the creation of an international regime to effectively promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity and its components;]

(p) [Agreed] Encourage successful conclusion of existing processes under the World Intellectual Property Organization Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, and in the ad hoc open-ended working group on article 8 (j) and related provisions of the CBD;

(q) [Agreed] Promote practicable measures for access to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies based upon genetic resources, in accordance with articles 15 and 19 of the CBD, including through enhanced scientific and technical cooperation on biotechnology and biosafety, including the exchange of experts, training human resources and developing research oriented institutional capacities;

(r) [Agreed] With a view to enhancing synergy and mutual supportiveness, taking into account the decisions under the relevant agreements, promote the discussions, without prejudging their outcome, with regard to the relationships between the obligations of the CBD and of agreements related to international trade and intellectual property rights, as outlined in the Doha Ministerial Declaration;

(s) [Agreed] Promote the implementation of the programme of work of the Global Taxonomy Initiative;

(t) [Agreed] Invite all states, which have not already done so, to ratify the CBD, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and other biodiversity-related agreements, and for those that have done so, promote their effective implementation at the national, regional and international levels and support developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, technically and financially in this regard.



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US using WSSD to force GMOs on the world?

Patrick Mulvany, ITDG

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26 August 2002


The US is using the dire humanitarian disaster in southern Africa as a way of forcing GMOs and Genetic Engineering on the world. It sees the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as its platform to get moral approval of biotechnology, backed by three US-inspired pro-biotechnology reports. On Friday the US launched a trade war against the EU over its refusal to accept GM foods and seeds. The solutions lie elsewhere, as identified in ITDG's background paper "Preserving the Web of Life", released today in Johannesburg



The US may use the dire humanitarian disaster in southern Africa as a way of forcing GMOs and Genetic Engineering on the world. It sees the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) as its platform to get moral approval of biotechnology, backed by Press Releases on three reports from the World Trade Organisation / World Health Organisation, World Food Programme and UN Economic Commission for Africa, released in the past few days. The PR spin for each says they promote GMOs, but detailed reading would suggest greater caution.

The USA has hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM crops stockpiled for lack of markets that even at grossly subsidised prices they seem unable shift. Food Aid is a desirable option for them and the famine in southern Africa provides the opportunity. They are also keen to ensure that the genetic engineering technologies used to create GM crops, for which their corporations hold most of the patents, become dominant in world agriculture. The poor performance of African agriculture, for many structural, economic and political reasons, is seized on as a reason to promote biotechnology.

Despite huge pressures, on Thursday the European Union (EU) rejected calls from Washington for it to reassure African countries that genetically modified (GM) food aid from the United States is safe, saying that they would not get drawn into this discussion between some of the countries of southern Africa and the U.S..

On Sunday it was reported in the UK newspaper The Independent that the US was considering launching a trade war against the EU over its refusal to accept GM foods and seeds: It said that US trade representative, Robert Zoellick, would be puttting in a complaint to the World Trade Organisation claiming that the EU moratorium on GM imports is a restraint of trade.

This is a state-sponsored public relations and opinion forming onslaught on behalf of biotech transnational biotechnology corporations.

As an organisation working closely with smallholder farmers in southern and East Africa, ITDG welcomes the European Union's continued efforts to keep Europe GM free. This resistance to the use of GMOs in food and farming should not be interpreted, however, as in any way furthering the crisis in the southern Africa, nor as a rejection of the overwhelming needs of the 14 million people in the region who are on the brink of starvation.

The answer is not GM Food Aid nor biotechnology. Dr Diouf, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), said at the World Food Summit: five years later in June that "The position of FAO is that in the short-term, biotechnology is not the priority to achieve the goals of the World Food Summit for 2015 [to have the number of undernourished people in the world]." Indeed, FAO at the WSSD is promoting ecological approaches to agriculture as the sustainable option.

The solutions lie elsewhere, as identified in ITDG's background paper "Preserving the Web of Life", released today in Johannesburg (copies available at the People's Earth Summit in St Stithians and on the Internet at
< >).

If Governments at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg could agree to three actions, it would go some way to reversing the economic decline in the Region, provide lasting solutions to food shortages and set African agriculture back on the right track:

  • Food aid can and should be provided as requested by recipient governments from non GM crops. There are substantial supplies that the World Food Programme and food aid donors could make full use of non-GM supplies that are acceptable, at a price. For example, Kenya and Tanzania have offered white maize to Zambia and GM-free maize could even be sourced in South Africa, thereby stimulating regional production and trade. Further afield, lower cost Indian supplies could be tapped - encouraging production in the South rather than the subsidised North.
  • Increased support to local sustainable agricultural production using agroecological methods, which maximise the use of agricultural biodiversity and are known to provide reliable sources of food, should be endorsed as part of the WSSD's implementation of Chapter 14 of the Rio Agenda 21, the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Summit's Plan of Implementation (see;
  • Publicly-funded national and international agricultural research should be increased and should redirect its efforts from mimicking the work of the biotechnology companies to finding sustainable, proven and productive agroecological solutions can serve the needs of poor farmers and improve the environment.


In June, the World Food Summit: five years later was used by the US to promote biotechnology. We predicted then that they would attempt the same in South Africa using Food Aid needs as the moral hammer with which to batter its opponents (see

Governments should not allow a similar hijack of the Earth Summit by US and biotechnology company pressures.


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G77: Don't Sell Out Our Small Farmers and Fishermen

By The Philippine Civil Society Counterpart Council for Sustainable Development

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Full Report:

The battle to end environmentally harmful and trade-distorting subsidies continues. At stake is the provision in various drafts of Chapter IX (Means of Implementation) which reads "Reduce or eliminate, as appropriate environmentally harmful and/or trade-distorting subsidies that inhibit sustainable consumption and production patterns in developed countries". On the one hand are the developed countries ganging up for its deletion, on the other is the G77 pushing for its retention. The most recent discussion on this provision also calls for developing countries to end such subsidies.

The most recent wording raises two issues. The first is its retention or deletion, and the second is the removal of the distinction between developed and developing countries. On the first issue, retention is beneficial to the South, as subsidies stifle their export producers' access to international markets. Moreover, some of the heavily subsidised Northern industries, e.g., the fishing industry, has depleted fish stocks of the South, often in breach of agreements, to the detriment of small fishermen in the South.

The second issue recognizes that the matter of subsidies is not purely divided along North-South lines. In general, it is. But it is also a national issue for some G77 countries who can afford to dole out subsidies to relatively large, export-oriented farmers or fishermen who may happen to be politicians or top government officials. Or they may be corporations lobbying hard for continued subsidies even in hard-up developing countries. Subsidy schemes benefitting small-scale farmers and fishermen may be justifiable, but are certainly rare.

The fear is that the G77 is willing to use its position as a trading horse once it is crunch time, accepting subsidies in exchange for some provisions on governance from the North. Another leverage to push developing countries into agreeing to wholesale deletion of the entire provision is the removal of the distinction between North and South, as suggested in alternative versions of the provision.

We call on G77 to look beyond the welfare of special-interest groups, and champion the small farmers, who constitute the majority of their constituents. Your unyielding support for the retention of this provision in the Implementation Plan would send an important signal with positive social and environmental impacts, not only in the South, but also in the North.

We call on Southern NGOs to immediately put pressure on their respective country delegations not to compromise on this issue whatsoever. Finally, we also call on developed countries to play fair by removing perverse subsidies. Instead, they should channel these funds to assist developing countries to attain sustainable development in line with what they promised in Rio.

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As one of its "Partnership" initiatives, the USA is to pump $53m into GM technology for African farming. CropLife and AfricaBio wet lips...

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The Initiative to Cut Hunger in Africa will spur technology sharing for small land holders, strengthen agricultural policy development, fund higher education and regional technology collaboration, and expand resources for local infrastructure in transportation, marketing and communications.

The United States will invest $90 million in 2003, including $53 million to harness science and technology for African farmers and $37 million to unleash the power of markets for smallholder agriculture.

The United States will collaborate with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), national and regional trade and science and technology organizations as well as global and African industry partners. Initial efforts will concentrate in Uganda, Mozambique and Mali.

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Peoples' Earth Summit Press Release

Why Africa SHOULD Reject GE Contaminated Food Aid

Embargoed: 12.00hrs 30/08/2002

WSSD, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Three international reports have been released promoting Genetically Engineered (GE) food in the lead up to WSSD. Each report is funded by parties with a vested interest for the success of GE food.

African nations have united against this biased research:

1. World Food Programme Report saying GE Food Aid should be accepted.

2. WTO - WHO Report saying GE is not harmful.

3. UN Economic Commission for Africa is pro GE farming and medicine.

Africa's Response:

  • Uganda and Tanzania have both offered Zambia GE free food. They argue that there is enough food in Africa to help Zambia. However, ineffective infrastructure hampers distribution of this food to drought-stricken areas.
  • The US is disposing of its rejected food on Africa. Africa will not allow itself to become a dumping ground. This is another form of colonisation: first through slavery, then economic colonisation and now the control of food and medicine through GE, creating total dependency through patented and terminated seed and medicines.
  • Food crops given as aid are often planted. This leads to contamination as Mexico has experienced. There must be solidarity across Africa for strict controls and decisions.

Solutions to Africa's regular droughts are not food aid from the North nor technology.
It is:

o Enhancing traditional systems of food production where farmers control their own diverse livelihood systems.

o Improving infrastructure so food can be transported from areas of surplus to areas of need within Africa as a priority

Zambia's Response:

Dr Lewanika, a scientific advisor to the Zambian government explains why Zambia rejects GE Food Aid and why other African countries should do so too:

  • Zambia has had public debates on the issue. The majority of small scale farmers said they would rather starve than use GE food. Hunger is a real issue in Zambia, however, there is still time to prepare and to provide GE free food.
  • Aid was not offered - money ($51 million) was given as a loan to the private sector to import maize from the USA. When this maize was imported Zambia was not informed that it was GE contaminated. It is important to get prior consent from a country rather than imposing GE contaminated food grain on a nation.
  • Currently, there is no regulatory system in place in Zambia to evaluate, accept or reject Genetically Modified Organisms. The debate about safety, human health and the environment still rages on. Until the issue is clear, Zambia chooses to take precautionary steps.

-- ends --

Notes to Editors: For more information contact Sangeeta Haindl on 0834 468 8523/Marise du Preez on 0825781833.

  • Dr Lewanika, Scientific adviser to the Zambian government.
  • Dr Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, Spokesperson for the African Biosafety Proposal.
  • Fred Kalibiwane, Organizer of the Farmers Convergence.
  • Million Belay, Steering Committee of the African Civil Society Group.

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Farmers' Convergence, Peoples' Global Forum, Johannesburg, August 2002

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We, the small-scale farmers meeting as a Small-Scale Farmers Convergence at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) from 22 August to 1 September 2002:

Affirm: that farming and fishing is our life. It is our culture.

Believe: that small holder [family] farming has provided food, employment, healing, spiritual inspirations and has been a central basis for social education and skills development over generations.

Know: that the earth was created with all that is needed for people, animals and all its sustenance and continuity.

Recognize: that the smallholder farmers are a majority, constituting 70 percent of the total world's population but have largely been unheard and un-noticed.

We therefore come here to speak as a united voice and alongside other civil society actors to: governments, the United Nations and the rest of the world so that our issues and recommendations will be an integral part of the deliberations and outcomes of WSSD.

Under the Small Farmer Convergence, 300 small-scale farmers from Africa, Latin America, Canada, Europe and Asia are here to:

  • Celebrate farming and fishing as a culture - our way of life;
  • Share our knowledge, experiences and strategies on enhancing biodiversity, seed multiplication, storage and exchange among ourselves;
  • Communicate to you so that we can be part of the answer to sustainable development; and,
  • Build a solidarity that will shape our common destiny in partnership with the earth and her people.

We, therefore, state:

  • That land, water, plant and animal genetic resources and minerals have been communally owned throughout generations and, therefore, should never be transferred to private ownership for selfish and profit driven gains. We have a stewardship responsibility handed over from past generations to tend the earth and leave it for future generations;
  • That the rich knowledge, best practices and technologies developed by us farmers in providing farming, healing, worship and marketing of our farm produce should never be alienated from us because they form the core of the our existence and livelihood. Research should focus and build on this knowledge and practice and must respond to farmers needs;
  • That avoidable conflicts and wars have dodged the small-scale farmers and poor communities in Africa for far too long. Those in authority have ignored the soft voices of women and children crying and others dying. The Western countries have gladly traded arms and propaganda to fuel these conflicts. We demand a stop to the merciless killing of innocent people. Farmers cannot produce food under these conditions;
  • Small-scale farmers have evolved systems of seed exchange and multiplication for future seasons and generations. This is key to food sovereignty at family and national levels.

We say NO to genetically modified foods. We do not need genetically modified seeds. Our indigenous seeds are superior for our taste and style of farming. We small-scale farmers farm for people and not for industry!;

  • That our first priority is to feed our communities before growing for the external market. We, therefore, call for internal market access in preference to external competitors. Capacity building, extension services and improvement of infrastructure in terms of roads, communication and markets must enhance this.

Full access to the international market must be accompanied with consideration on equity, justice and the production environment;

  • That deliberate and urgent steps must be taken to develop and promote alternative renewable energy options, sustainable land-use systems and water management as a commitment to achieving sustainable development for all;
  • That poor communities, consisting mainly of labourers, landless people and small scale farmers and their families, have suffered most from HIV/AIDS. We are also concerned that common childhood diseases and other preventable diseases, such as malaria and TB, have continued to decimate our populations at an alarming rate. Health for all must be made a reality;
  • Our communal resources (land, forests, wildlife, minerals, water etc.) have been plundered by a few powerful people and private companies to the detriment of all. Further the pollution and degradation of the earth has been blamed on the poor communities, paying a blind eye to the big industries that are responsible for industrial waste and gas emissions.

Everybody must be responsible for ensuring a safe, clean and sustainable world.

  • That foreign debt has continued to cripple poor countries' economies with serious consequences on food security, health and education impacting most heavily on women and children. We therefore call for further debt cancellation and a re-dedication of these funds to services provision for poverty eradication.

As small-scale farmers we have some answers - we will show the way.

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Statement in support of the Zambian and Zimbabwean Governments' position to reject food aid contaminated by genetic engineering

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We, African Civil Society groups, participants to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, composed of more than 45 African countries, join hands with the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments and their people in rejecting GE contaminated food for our starving brothers and sisters:

  • We refuse to be used as the dumping ground for contaminated food, rejected by the Northern countries; and we are enraged by the emotional blackmail of vulnerable people in need, being used in this way.
  • The starvation period is anticipated to begin early in 2003, so that there is enough time to source uncontaminated food.
  • There is enough food in the rest of Africa (already offered by Tanzania and Uganda) to provide food for the drought areas.
  • Our responses is to strengthen solidarity and self reliance with in Africa, in the face of this next wave of colonization, through GE technologies, which aim to control our agricultural systems, through the manipulation of seed by corporations
  • We will stand together in preventing our continent from being contaminated by genetically engineered crops, as a responsibility to our future generation.


Contact detail:

Million Belay - Steering Committee of the African Civil Society Group

Tel: +27 83 296 2130

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Commission on Technology Transfer and Development

Friday 30 August 2002, 10.30 - 13.30, NASREC, Johannesburg

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Chair: Isabella Masinde, ITDG East Africa

Rapporteurs: Eric Kisiangani, ITDG East Africa, Stuart Coupe, ITDG UK

Situational Analysis

The livelihoods of the great majority of poor women and men in developing countries depend on micro- and small-scale enterprises of one sort or another. They must forge their livelihoods working in their fields, homes and small workshops, and by making vital decisions about the best use of their limited assets in order to survive on the tightest of margins. These women and men do not depend on employment in the formal sector, where Foreign Direct Investment is directed. Indeed, the formal sector accounts for a minority of the economically active population in most developing countries.

In every age of capitalism since the Renaissance, advances in technology have been accompanied with widening inequalities and deepening poverty. Also the impacts of technologies on the natural environment are not truly know for a generation after their introduction. Yet new technologies are being developed and commercialized at an increasing rate with no possibility for governments to have independent advice from the United Nations scientific monitoring teams concerning their adoption. The UN bodies, which used to undertake this role, were abolished at the behest of the United States in the early 1990s.

The meeting focused on two specific technology areas: energy technologies and agricultural technologies. These discussions showed how communities can be empowered by effective capacity building on technology choices, but that the WSSD Type II partnerships are very remote from these community-based efforts.

Priority Issues

The effective transfer of technological knowledge that meets the needs of people living in poverty has two critical dimensions:

  • the development of peoples' capabilities to acquire new knowledge and make their own choices about technology change;
  • the establishment of a supporting institutional and policy environment which fosters decentralized technological adoption in remote rural areas and in urban low income settlements, particularly information technology, energy services and agriculture and livestock innovations.

Specific Recommendations

  • The Draft Implementation Plan for WSSD (paras. 89 and 90) echoes Agenda 21's call for the transfer of 'environmentally sound technologies' and corresponding 'know how' to developing countries. The urgent action called for should also:
  • Ensure that financial and technical support is provided for the development of dynamic national systems of innovation in developing countries, with technology policies geared towards poverty reduction and environmentally sustainable development, integrated with poverty reduction strategies.
  • Provide support for technological R&D relevant to the poor, focused upon creating R&D capacity in developing countries, and support for investment in R&D and innovation by low-income producers themselves to develop their own technologies that are most suitable to local needs.
  • Ensure international and national regulatory frameworks that support the development of technological capabilities in developing countries, including the regulation of trade and investment by national governments, and intellectual property rights regimes that enable access to new technological knowledge and recognise existing knowledge.
  • Establish a Convention within the UN system to evaluate new technologies, especially in the rapidly evolving field of biotechnology.
  • Demand that Governments must ratify immediately existing UN agreements: the Biosafety Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. There must be no patenting of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

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Thursday, 29 August 2002, 10.30 am - 1.30 pm

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Section 1: Situational Analysis

Biotechnology is a broad and inclusive term for all technologies that manipulate biological processes. Modern biotechnology or genetic engineering, however, is the subject of great controversy as it involves the horizontal (as opposed to vertical, from parent to offspring) transfer of foreign genes to unrelated species that would never normally interbreed in nature. There is great concern about its impacts on human, plant and animal health, the environment and our ecosystems. There is also great concern about the socio-economic impacts of genetic engineering, particularly in terms of the monopolistic corporate control over agricultural production systems, and the job losses that will ensue through genetic engineering.

Global concern over genetic engineering resulted in the negotiations and final conclusion of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, an international agreement to regulate primarily the movement between countries of GMOs. The right of countries to make decisions based on risk assessment and the Precautionary Principle has been enshrined in the Biosafety Protocol.

The Commission was hosted by Biowatch, South Africa and Third World Network. Speakers at the Commission were Dr Vandana Shiva, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Environment; India, Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group, Mexico; Prof. Terje Traavik, Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology; Percy Schmeiser, farmer from Canada; and Fred Kalibwani, a farmer from PELUM, Zimbabwe.

Section 2: Priority Issues

  • Patenting of seed and enforcement of intellectual property rights by companies on seed (case study of Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto) removing Farmers' Rights to save seed
  • Contamination by GE seeds and crops of non-GE seeds and crops, with ensuing threats to centers of origin and diversity and co-existence being made impossible, as well as the implications for liability
  • Food security is paramount, irrespective of the technology chosen
  • Farmers' Rights, particularly over seed saving, and to choose whether or not to grow GE crops
  • Benefits and risks to farmers need to be assessed over the long term and in the larger context
  • Risks to human health and the environment, and the need for reliable, case by case risk assessment
  • Application of the Precautionary Principle in view of the lack of data and scientific uncertainty over the health and environmental impacts of GMOs
  • Independent and publicly funded science and research is urgently needed, given that commercialization has proceeded before adequate biosafety research has been conducted
  • Corporate control over agricultural production, and the limited relevance of the technology to the developmental aspects of farmers and developing countries
  • Capacity building and information needed, as many developing countries lack the capacity to evaluate the risks
  • Biosafety laws and regulation for developing countries must be underpinned by good science
  • Farmer innovation is able to develop crops and seeds that have advantageous traits
  • Sustainable alternatives, which are existing and viable, should be supported through research, policy and implementation

Section 3: Specific Recommendations

  • Information and capacity building for farmers
  • Independent and publicly funded research and risk assessments
  • Capacity building for biosafety regulations
  • Farmers choosing to plant GE crops must not put in jeopardy the choices of adjacent farmers choosing not to plant GE crops
  • The promotion of alternatives, such as non-GM alternatives, or less invasive techniques
  • Needs-driven and farmer-driven research and technologies
  • Keeping farmers' control over seed, and their right to save seed
  • Upholding the Precautionary Principle as long term risks are unknown
  • The total banning of terminator and genetic use restriction technologies

During the course of the Global Forum, several groups also developed positions on biotechnology, GMOs and their impact on farmers and communities. These included:

1. Three hundred small-holder farmers, mostly from Africa, who held a Small Farmers Convergence, stated as the outcome of their meeting, that;

  • the rich knowledge, best practices and technologies developed by farmers should never be alienated from them as it forms the core of their existence and livelihood and that research should focus and build on this knowledge and practice and must respond to farmers` needs.
  • small-scale farmers have evolved systems of seed exchange and multiplication for future seasons and generations. This is key to food sovereignty at family and national levels.
  • they say NO to genetically modified foods, affirming that farmers do not need genetically modified seeds.and that their indigenous seeds are superior for their style of farming. Small scale farmers farm for people and not for industry;

2. The African Civil Society groups, composed of more than 45 African countries, responded to the GE Aid question in Africa by expressing in a statement their support of the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments and their people in rejecting GE contaminated food. They stated that their response to the crisis is to strengthen solidarity and self reliance within Africa and to reject the dumping of unwanted food and seed that compromises their markets and future generations.

3. At the Second South South Biopiracy Summit, the Johannesburg Declaration on Biopiracy, Biodiversity and Community Rights, called for an environment free of GMOs and a ban on the patenting of biological resources and knowledge It also called for the WTO members to amend TRIPs to reflect that life forms and living processes cannot be patented. It also declared that local communities, indigenous peoples and farmers are the custodians of biodiversity and have the inalienable basic right of access to biological resources from which they derive their livelihoods and that the privatisation of these resources are one of the major threats to food security.

Section 4: Conclusion

There was a diversity of views on the issues, with two main areas of disagreement. The issue of corporate control over agricultural production was raised as a worrying specter that would infringe on Farmers' Rights to save seed and cause dependence on the corporations for seed and chemical inputs. However, there were also views that farmers should have the choice to plant GE seeds and crops even if produced by MNCs. The majority were not convinced that MNCs such as Monsanto had any other purpose other than profit and would not necessarily take the interests of the African farmers at heart. The need for good independent research and risk assessment was strongly advocated, given the conflicting interests of MNCs.

The threat to Farmers' Rights and their freedom to choose is fundamental to food security. While a select few, supported by Monsanto and the biotechnology industry, called for the rights of farmers to choose to plant GE seeds and crops, this should not compromise the rights of farmers who choose to remain GE-free. The latter position was reinforced by the majority of participants, who again emphasized Farmers' Rights to save seed.

Other than these areas of contention, there was general agreement on the priority issues and specific recommendations, as outlined in Sections 2 and 3.

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Robert Vint, Genetic Food Alert 1 September 2002

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The US Government is using the Earth Summit to force African countries and other nations of the South to accept its GM food and crops. Acting on behalf of biotech corporations such as Monsanto, which now have representatives in key positions in the Bush administration and in intergovernmental bodies, the US Government will now only offer agricultural aid to Southern nations if it is for GM crops, only offer knowledge and technological assistance if it opens markets for US biotech corporations and only offer food aid that contains GM ingredients. $53 million of agricultural biotech 'aid' and $50 million of GM 'food aid' is currently being offered to Africa in an attempt to break a four year long almost continent-wide ban on GM food and crops. Back in 1998 all African nations (except South Africa) rejected Monsanto's attempts to force GM crops on the continent, their FAO delegates jointly declaring "we strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally-friendly, nor economically beneficial to us."

The most extreme form of coercion in the run-up to the Summit is the Bush government's attempt to force the famine-ridden nations of southern Africa to abandon their import regulations and accept unapproved GM 'food aid' by denying them access to non-GM supplies. $50 million cash was offered to private food corporations in Zambia on the strict condition that it only be spent on GM maize, that this maize must be bought from US grain corporations and that it must not be milled to prevent illegal planting. Zambia's President is instead currently buying up non-GM maize from Kenya and Tanzania.

This is part of an ongoing US strategy to undermine western consumer resistance to GM food by marketing the technology as the solution to world hunger and poverty. Such claims for the technology have been rubbished on many occasions by Third World experts and development organisations such as Christian Aid, Oxfam and Action Aid but continue to be widely reported as fact by politicians and the media.

The US Government has consistently dumped unsellable GM crops via USAID and the World Food Programme on many nations despite widespread and continuous protests for several years by recipients. There were objections from groups in Malaysia, Ethiopia and South Africa in March 2000, followed by protests in the Philippines (Apr 2000), India (Jun 2000) and Burundi (Sep 2000). In January 2001 Bosnia turned away 40,000 tonnes of GM animal feed and in May 2001, Ecuador rejected aid packages containing illegal GMOs after protests by children. Similar protests followed the discovery of illegal GMOs in food aid in Bolivia (Apr 2001), Colombia (May 2001), Guatemala (Jun 2002) and Nicaragua (Jun 2002). Since June this year there have been high-profile protests by southern African nations including Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The US Government has also consistently threatened with WTO sanctions any nation that has in any way regulated, restricted or labelled GM food or crops for 'creating barriers to trade'. For example they have threatened such sanctions against Sri Lanka (May 2001) and Croatia (Dec 2001) to break their moratoria on GMOs, against Mexico (Feb 2001) and Thailand (Jul 2001) to block their food label laws and against China (Mar 2002) to overturn their safety regulations on GM soya imports. Similar threats have also been regularly made against wealthier countries such as Canada, Argentina and all 14 nations of the EU.

Anger over this coercive marketing strategy has united Africa's non-governmental organisations which have issued several statements of condemnation at the Earth Summit. 126 organisations from 39 nations signed a Statement of Solidarity with the southern African nations resisting GM 'food aid'. Another joint statement, from African Civil Society groups, says: "We refuse to be used as the dumping ground for contaminated food, rejected by the Northern countries and we are enraged by the emotional blackmail of vulnerable people in need being used in this way", whilst a statement from four leading African food and agriculture experts says: "The US is disposing of its rejected food in Africa. Africa will not allow itself to become a dumping ground. This is another form of colonisation: first through slavery, then through economic colonisation and now through the control of food and medicine through GM, creating total dependency".

The US Government strategy was condemned yesterday by the UK's Chief Scientist, Professor David King, who denounced the attempts to force biotechnology into Africa as a 'massive human experiment' and 'questioned the morality of the US's desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries'.

For further information and references see < > and
"Force-Feeding the World: America's 'GM or Death' ultimatum to Africa reveals the depravity of its GM marketing policy" by Robert Vint at < >

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Tewolde Egziabher, hero of WSSD (Click to enlarge)

Tewolde Egziabher, Ethiopian Delegate (left) - hero of WSSD (click to enlarge)
Photo: Leila Mead by kind permission of ENB/IISD

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Tewolde Egziabher, Ethiopian Delegate - centre of jubilation at late night WSSD session that sidelined the WTO.

Greenpeace hailed this as WTO's 'First setback since Seattle'

In a late night intervention on Sunday (actually the wee hours of Monday morning) Tewolde Egziabher, Ethiopian Delegate, stimulated the first and only outburst of genuine delight and pleasure in the WSSD. His impassioned plea for removal of words ""while ensuring WTO consistency" gained enthusiastic support by "acclamation" - i.e. delegates clapped and cheered!

In the less florid words of the ENB report "In the evening session, a group of developing countries reversed their earlier position and, supported by some developed countries and economies in transition, recommended deleting the phrase "while ensuring WTO consistency." The Chair noted an overwhelming consensus, and the phrase was deleted with acclamation."

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