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Echoes from elsewhere|
An introduction to Echoes magazine in reactions, facts and issues from all over the world.
Writes acting WCC cluster director Aruna Gnanadason, "We who have had the privilege of working with her and knowing her many skills will miss her and the great contribution she made to our common work. We remember her as a dynamic woman leader of the Church, but also as a woman of immense compassion and strength. She was an asset to the work on justice, peace and creation and to the Indigenous Peopleís programme - to each of which she brought humour, sensitivity and great commitment.
We had been negotiating with her to work with us on the internationally constituted Reference Group for the soon-to-be-launched Decade to Overcome Violence, which had its first meeting in May this year, when we heard the news of her death. We have lost her contribution to this process.
A mighty tree has fallen, and for this there can be no substitute. We can only be faithful to her memory by living up to the example she was to us all."
A report released by the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) reveals that Terminator and Traitor technology are riding a fast track to commercialisation.
Terminator technology, the genetic engineering of plants to produce sterile seeds, is universally considered the most morally offensive application of agricultural biotechnology, since over 1.4 billion people depend on farm-saved seeds.
"After Monsanto and AstraZeneca publicly vowed not to commercialise terminator seeds in 1999, governments and civil society organisations were lulled into thinking that the crisis had passed. Nothing could be further from the truth," said RAFIís Executive Director Pat Mooney. "Despite mounting opposition from national governments and United Nationsí agencies, research on Terminator and Traitor (genetic trait control) is moving full speed ahead."
And despite massive protests, the US Department of Agriculture supports and defends its anti-farmer patent and research on suicide seeds.
The Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Jacques Diouf recently declared his opposition to Terminator. In publicly rejecting Terminator, Diouf has come to the defence of the 1.4 billion people who depend upon farm-saved seed for their survival.
Among the national governments that have announced their intention to oppose Terminator technology are Panama, India, Ghana, and Uganda.
According to RAFI, the future of Terminator/Traitor Technology rests with national governments and multinational corporations. The pressure points for political action are, first and foremost, with national governments around the world. Second, pressure should be applied at key international fora such as through the BioSafety Protocol at the Convention on Biological Diversity, and intellectual property negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.
"Terminator has grabbed the spotlight, but we are equally concerned about the closely related genetic trait control technologies (Traitor Tech) which enables a plantís genetic traits to be turned on or off with the application of an external chemical - the companyís proprietary chemical," adds Ribeiro. "Although the USDA and Delta & Pine Land are the high-profile crusaders, the goal of genetic trait control is industry-wide," concludes Silvia Ribeiro, RAFI Programme Officer.
In May, 2000 RAFI released a status report on Terminator and Traitor patents, which will examine the current goals of private and public sector institutions that are promoting bioserfdom with genetic trait control technology.
For more information:
Silvia Ribeiro, RAFI
Julie Delahanty, RAFI
Rafael Alegria, General Coordinator, Via Campesina
Neth Dano, Executive Director, SEARICE,
Gary Goldberg, CEO, American Corn Growers Association,