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ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

7 November 2002

RESISTING THE ‘GE OR DIE’ ULTIMATUM

A growing global alliance is emerging to resist the 'GE or die' ultimatum given to Southern Africa.

It already includes more than 100 development, farming, environment, religious, and social justice groups, including such diverse organisations as the World Development Movement, the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Greenpeace UK, the Deccan Development Society, the New Economics Foundation, and the Five Year Freeze.

Amongst the countries represented are Ghana, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Japan, Zambia, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Denmark, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Ecuador, Italy, Chile, the US, Spain, Bulgaria, India, the Philippines, Nepal, the Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, Finland, the UK, Germany, and New Zealand

PLEASE READ THE STATEMENT - IT'S VERY CLEAR AND SUCCINCT

Check out the peoples earth decade website from where this is taken
http://www.peoplesearthdecade.org

***

Resisting GE or Die Ultimatum

http://www.peoplesearthdecade.org/media/article.php?id=63
Thursday 7th November 2002

A coalition of NGOs have formed to register their opposition to the way in which US AID is foisting biotechnology on Africa during a time of famine.

These groups are to challenge current aid practices especially those of US AID and the WFP. Aid should be given in cash so that local produce can be bought supporting the regional economy and not disrupting local markets.

The US currently uses Aid as an extra subsidy for its own farmers and as a means to consolidate its biotech industry's control of global agriculture. A statement has been prepared and signed on to by 110 NGOs [see list].

Please read the statement and let us know if your group agrees with the principles. Please circulate to other groups who may be interested in signing on and ask them to forward their response to us at PED.

If AID was always given in cash then Zambia would not be in the position it is in now: having to choose between GE contamination or possible starvation for its people.

Statement

The right to reject GM Food Aid

Genetically modified (GM) food has been added to food aid since 1996. It has been reported that this has been done without the prior informed consent of recipient nations. In southern Africa the World Food Programme (WFP) and its largest donor ˆ the US Agency for International Development (USAID) ˆ have presented recipient nations with a stark choice; eat GM or starve.

The undersigned coalition of development, environment and consumer NGOs urge all parties to support the rights of recipient nations.

* We support a recipient country‚s right to refuse GM food aid. The Biosafety Protocol establishes this right.

*Southern Africa should not be forced to choose between starvation and GM food aid when there are plentiful supplies of non-GM food.

* We call on USAID to Œuntie‚ its food aid policy and stop insisting on donating GM food in kind.

* We condemn the pressure applied by the US on poor countries to accept GM food aid.

* We are concerned by reports that the WFP has failed to obtain prior informed consent from recipient nations before distributing GM food.

* Nations should be free to apply the precautionary principle and choose aid that is appropriate and culturally and socially acceptable to its people.

* We recognise scientific opinion is divided on the safety issues of GM crops, especially when fed to hungry people as a staple diet and to those whose immune systems are weakened by illness, such as HIV/AIDS.

* We believe that GM food grains will contaminate local crop biodiversity and may harm local food production, deepen food insecurity and damage export markets.

* In the absence of internationally agreed pre-market assessments, we believe legal liability for unforeseen consequences of GM food, currently being offered as food aid, should be borne by the donor community.

The concerns of recipient nations about GM food have been dismissed as trivial when weighed against the threat of starvation. But it is a false choice. The choice presented does not recognise the rights of nations, the long-term implications of genetic engineering or the ready availability of non-GM food. We urge European countries ˆ who themselves exercise the precautionary principle with GM crops ˆ to ensure USAID and WFP act responsibly and deliver non-GM food aid to nations that request it.

Signed on:

1. Third World Network, Malaysia

2. ISIS, UK

3. Greenpeace, UK

4. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, US

5. Adrian Dominican Sisters, USA

6. International People‚s Health Council, Nicaragua

7. GRAIN, Spain

8. R & R Foundation, US

9. SSJ Commission for Justice, US

10. International Academy of Ecology, Belarus

11. Genetic Food Alert, UK

12. The Gaia Trust, UK

13. Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

14. Organic Consumers Association, US

15. Center for Bio-diversitet, Denmark

16. United Church of Christ, Network for Environmental and Economic          Responsibility, US

17. Consumer Education Trust, Uganda

18. Center of Information and Advisory Services in Health, Nicaragua

19. Pesticides Action Network North America, US

20. Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First, US

21. Mothers for Natural Law, US

22. Community Nutrition Institute, US

23. Red de Comunicación de Morelos, Mexico

24. Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics, NZ

25. Washington Biotechnology Action Council, US

26. 49th Parallel Biotechnology Consortium, US/Canada

27. People‚s Education for a Sustainable Future, US

28. Centro Internazionale Crocevia, Italy

29. Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, US

30. Mankato Area Environmentalists, US

31. Organic and Fairtrade Tea and Spice Co., Germany

32. Intermediate Technology Development Group, UK

33. Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, US

34. Ecology Society of the Philippines

35. South Australian Genetic Food Information Network, Australia

36. Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE), Philippines

37. Pesticide Action Network, Philippines

38. International Indian Treaty Council, US

39. Tropical Forest, UK

40. Grupo de Tecnologia Alternatia S.C., Mexico

41. Allianza Chilena por un Comerio Justo y Responsible, Chile

42. Friends of the ŒThird World‚, US

43. Deccan Development Society, India

44. South Asia Network for Food, Ecology and Culture, India

45. AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity, India

46. Ecosouthwest, Bulgaria

47. GE-Free Bathurst, Australia

48. FoE, Spain

49. HIVOS, The Netherlands

50. Wisconsin Fair Trade Campaign, US

51. Seeds of Hope, India

52. International Group of Grassroots Initiatives, India

53. Pesticide Action Network Asia and Pacific, Malaysia

54. Anti-Globalisation Network, UK

55. Forum for Protection of Public Interest, Nepal

56. Swindon FoE, UK

57. MASIPAG, Philippines

58. Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust, Nepal

59. Biodynamic Agricultural Association, UK

60. Hatof Foundation, Ghana

61. Ecopeace, Zambia

62. XminY Solidarityfunds, The Netherlands

63. World Development Movement, UK

64. Anguilla National Trust, Anguilla, British West Indies

65. Confederación de Consumidores y Usuarios, Spain

66. Africa Faith and Justice Network

67. Pesticide Action Network, Aotearoa NZ

68. Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia.

69. The Edmonds Institute, US

70. Women, Food and Agriculture Network, US

71. Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, US

72. Green Part, Wales

73. Global Exchange, US

74. Justice and Peace desk - Diocese of Marbel, Philippines

75. UBINIG, Policy Research for Development Alternative, Bangladesh

76. The Daughters of Mary and Joseph, US

77. Both ENDS, The Netherlands

78. HDRA, UK

79. Organic Shrimp farm Poseidon CIA. Ltda, Ecuador

80. Jikyu Promotion Network, Japan

81. Environmental Justice Networking Forum, South Africa

82. Safe Food Coalition, South Africa

83. Center of Concern, US

84. Goede Waar & Co., The Netherlands

85. ANPED Northern Alliance for Sustainability, The Netherlands

86. The Soil Association, UK

87. The Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa, US

88. ETC-Ecoculture, The Netherlands

89. People-Centered Development Forum, US

90. The Gaia Foundation, UK

91. WTO Watch, Australia

92. The New Eden Foundation, South Africa

93. Environmental Monitoring Group, South Africa

94. Find Your Feet, UK

95. Five Year Freeze, UK

96. Farming and Livestock Concern, UK

97. FoE, Finland

98. FoE, Malaysia

99. FoE, Ukraine

100. Consumers Association of Penang, Malaysia

101. New Economics Foundation, UK

102. The Corner House, UK

103. Wildlife and Environment Society, South Africa

104. NOAH - Friends of the Earth, Denmark

105. Farmers' Voice, Bangladesh

106. Helvetas, Sri Lanka

107. Centro de Investigación y Capacitación Rural A.C. (CEDICAR), México

108. Habitat Council, South Africa

109. Cape Environmental Trust, South Africa

110. Maine Green Independent Party, US

111. Pesticide Action Network, Germany

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