9-Misc: "CGIAR's a GMO 2"
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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------
TITLE: Trouble in Paradise: Civil Society Denounces CGIAR for Denial,
Diversion and Delay on GM Contamination in Mexican Centre of
SOURCE: ETC Group, Canada/USA, News Release
DATE: Oct 31, 2002
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
Trouble in Paradise:
Civil Society Denounces CGIAR for Denial, Diversion and Delay on GM
Contamination in Mexican Centre of Genetic Diversity
For the first time in its more than 30-year history, the Consultative Group
on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) - a network of public and
private donors that supports sixteen agricultural research centres around
the world - held its annual meeting outside the confines of the World Bank
in Washington, DC. The CGIAR is the largest public sector agricultural
research effort and is mandated to serve the developing world's poor. The
chosen site for this week's annual meeting was the Shangri-La Hotel in The
Philippines, home to the nearby International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI), one of the research centres in the CG system. Also for the first
time in its history, the CGIAR's annual meeting took place within earshot
of farmers' protests and street demonstrations critical of the CG's
governance structure, research orientation and lack of accountability to
Third World farmers. The CGIAR learned that even Shangri-La can be tainted
by protests, police barricades and water cannons!
The weeklong meeting was a time of strenuous soul-searching for members of
the CGIAR's Committee of Non-governmental Organizations (the NGO-C). The CG
System established the NGO-C in order to get input from civil society. Over
the past year, half of the NGO-C's members have resigned. The NGO-C was
evaluating its relationship to the CGIAR in the midst of farmer protests at
IRRI on Tuesday, and further protests on Wednesday by several hundred
people attending the Peoples' Street Conference in front of the Shangri-La
Hotel. The protests were organized by a coalition of Southeast Asian civil
society and farmers' organizations, especially MASIPAG and KMP (a peasant
farmers' movement that is a member of Via Campesina) and SEARICE.
On Thursday, October 31, during an official session devoted to discussions
of civil society's relationship to the CG, the NGO Committee's interim co-
chair, Patrick Mulvany of the Intermediate Technology Development Group
announced that the NGO Committee would freeze its participation from CGIAR
in the coming year. The primary reason cited for the freeze, among others,
was the CGIAR's failure to act since the discovery - more than 13 months
ago - that GM maize had contaminated the crop's centre of diversity in
Mexico. The Mexican-headquartered International Maize and Wheat Improvement
Center (CIMMYT) is one of the centres in the CG system and is mandated to
help eradicate poverty and conserve maize diversity. CIMMYT has failed to
respond to civil society's repeated requests that it weigh in on the
reality of GM contamination. Instead, the Institute has limited itself to
pious pronouncements about the need for scientific clarity and promises to
help in any way short of action. In spite of the Mexican government's
official recognition of GM contamination, the new Director General of
CIMMYT, Masa Iwanaga, refused yesterday to acknowledge GM contamination in
the maize centre of genetic diversity during a discussion of major
challenges confronting the research centres.
The NGO Committee's freeze means that the NGO-C will not replace vacant
seats on the Committee. In addition, the Committee will not accept money
from the CGIAR and will not agree to sit on the Executive Council or any
other committees, or participate in CG programs.
For an institution whose mandate is to increase food security, alleviate
poverty and protect the environment, the abdication of the NGO-Committee is
a resounding vote of no confidence from civil society. Equally disturbing,
at the very time that the CGIAR is embroiled in controversy over GM
contamination, the CG system is gaining increasing influence and membership
from the Gene Giants. For example, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable
Agriculture (wholly owned by Syngenta - the world's largest agrochemical
corporation) became the newest member of CGIAR this year. The Syngenta
Foundation's Executive Director is a member of CIMMYT's Board of Directors.
Maybe industry's influence and the CGIAR's failure to act on GM
contamination is the reason many people had trouble deciphering the welcome
sign in front of CGIAR's Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Shangri-La
The sign read: CGIAR's AGM '02
Many thought it read: CGIAR's a GMO 2 (GMO = genetically modified organism)
For further information, contact:
Silvia Ribeiro, ETC group, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope Shand, ETC group, email@example.com
For background information about GM contamination in Mexico, please visit
the ETC Group web site: http://www.etcgroup.org
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------
TITLE: Subject: CGIAR openly adopts corporate agenda
SOURCE: AgBioIndia Mailing List
DATE: Nov 5, 2002
------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------
Subject: CGIAR openly adopts corporate agenda
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) - the
governing body of the international agricultural research centres -- has
for all practical purposes re-christened itself. It has unabashedly adopted
the corporate research agenda and has announced Syngenta Foundation as a
new member thereby unashamedly accepting that it ceases to follow the
original mandate of conducting agricultural research for 'public good'.
CG(I)AR, as we view it, now stands for: 'Consultative Group on (Industrial)
At its 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM02) that was held at Makati Shangri-
La in Manila from Oct 30-Nov 1, and the first to be held outside Washington
DC, the CGIAR chair, Ian Johnson, who also is a vice chair of the World
Bank, did not even blink his eyelids for once while annoucing the names of
four new members -- Malaysia, Morocco, Israel and Syngenta Foundation. In
fact, the addition of the new members was not even discussed at the the
Executive Committee and nor were any other committees informed as a matter
The CGIAR's NGO Committee, however, refused to tow the official line that
expresses complete faith in biotechnology. The NGO Committee is convinced
that the CGIAR has deviated from its path of 'public good' and is now
completely in the fold of the industry (as well as the World Bank). It has
therefore decided to freeze its relationship with the CGIAR pending a
review of its research agenda. We know, following the World Bank strategy,
the CGIAR will now try to dismiss the NGO Committee and form another
committee with 'pliable' members.
If the CGIAR is to take on board Syngenta Foundation, we would like to know
the relevance of the public exchequer funding international agricultural
research? Why should the tax-payers money go to support the research agenda
of the multinational corporations? If that be so, why can't we dismantle
CGIAR and handover the 16 international research centres to the host
governments? We have nothing against the MNCs involvement with genetic
engineering. But why should we pay the CGIAR for following the private
industry's research agenda?
We bring you below the NGOC Statement. Also attached is the unity statement
of the Philippine farmers and the NGOs who had assembled and demonstrated
at Shangri-La, Manila and also in front of IRRI at Los Banos.
1. NGO Committee Statement
2. Unity Statement of the Peoples' Street Conference
1.NGO Committee Statement 30 October 2002
Statement by the NGO Committee of the CGIAR
The NGO Committee of the CGIAR held its biannual meeting in Manila in
advance of AGM02.
In this review of the activities of the CGIAR, the committee recognised the
efforts made to open spaces for Civil Society interaction and partnerships
at Centre and System levels and appreciated the efforts by a number of
Centres to strengthen integrated natural resources management programmes.
However, it became clear, in this review of the current trends in the
CGIAR, that civil society expectations of the System as a whole in
fulfilment of its mandate, are not being realised.
The CGIAR mandate is to produce public goods for the benefit of poor
agricultural producers in developing countries and to safeguard the genetic
resources taken from farmers' fields and held in public trust by the CGIAR
gene banks. The NGOC observes that the CGIAR is deviating from this mandate
and is adopting a corporate agenda for agricultural research and
development. CGIAR's consideration of Syngenta Foundation's membership is a
clear indication of the trend towards the corporatisation of public
agricultural research. Furthermore, the quest for partnerships with the
private sector undermines the public role of CGIAR.
The NGOC notes that the CGIAR and its Centres have:
Failed to support an immediate moratorium on the release of GM crops in
their centres of origin and diversity in the light of GMO contamination in
Mexico and the potential contamination of other centres in the years ahead.
These GMOs include seeds, grains and food aid. The CGIAR has also failed to
initiate scientific work to assess the risks and biosafety requirements
necessary to protect the genetic integrity of landraces on-farm, their
ownership and the livelihoods of resource-poor farmers in these areas.
Failed to uphold, in the face of threats of increased private control and
monopolisation of genes through IPRs, the principle of the FAO-CGIAR Trust
agreement that requires all germplasm and its genetic parts and components,
currently in the CGIAR gene banks to be kept in the public domain.
Actively been promoting genetic engineering technologies and products,
which are incompatible with farmer-led agroecological research, and will
lead to further marginalisation of farming communities. The CGIAR and some
Centres have been promoting biotechnology as the answer to world hunger.
The NGOC urges the CGIAR to listen to and take seriously the voices from
the Peoples' Street Conference. NGOC calls on the CGIAR to respond
positively to the demands in Unity Statement which we support, especially
with reference to those points that reinforce CSO Declaration for Durban
with its comprehensive set of proposals that was presented to MTM 2001.
That Declaration emphasised the need for transforming the CGIAR Centres
into regional research support systems to assist farmer-led agroecological
research and the need for safeguarding the genetic resources in the CGIAR
gene banks. These should be the top two priorities of the CGIAR. We regret
that the majority of programmes being developed through the Challenge
Programme process are not reflecting these priorities.
In the light of these concerns the NGOC, in dialogue with a wide range of
Civil Society Organisations including those in Manila this week, is
reassessing its relationship with the CGIAR.
[Statement also endorsed by Abou Thiam, Assetou Kanoute, Devinder Sharma,
Dwi Muhtaman, Eyasu Elias, Mariam Jorjadze]
2. Unity Statement of the Peoples' Street Conference
30 October 2002
We, the farmers, representatives of farmers organizations, peoples'
movements and civil society from throughout the Philippines and around the
world who gather here for the People's Street Conference against the Annual
General Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) uphold this statement of unity.
The Street Conference is an independent initiative to claim space for
critiques of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
(CGIAR) and for the presentation of alternatives.
The CGIAR, including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has
consistently failed to meet the needs of poor farmers throughout the world.
>From the start of the Green Revolution, the research centers of the CGIAR
have promoted a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to research that
ignores the knowledge and experience of farmers, farming communities, and
indigenous people. The agriculture promoted by the CGIAR, with its
dependence on pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals, is
environmentally and socially unsustainable. Farmers have been plunged into
debt, their health and the health of their families has suffered, their
knowledge, culture and social systems have been exploited, and the agro-
environment of their farms has been severely degraded.
Despite decades of effort by civil society, by farmers and farming
communities both requesting and demanding reform of the system, the CGIAR
has shown itself unable or unwilling to reform. Despite participation in
conferences, on committees, writing papers, and letters, despite
interviews, speeches, briefings and meetings, by millions of farmers
throughout the world, we do not see any significant change in the CGIAR
approach. For this reason we are forced to take to the streets.
The following issues are of particular concern to us:
1. Accountability and governance: The CGIAR has never been accountable to
whom it claims to serve. This is reflected in its governance structure
which is fundamentally controlled by four rich countries of the North. It
has never attempted to solve its problems of accountability and continues
to refuse attempts to genuinely involve farmers' organizations in its
2. The Green Revolution to the Gene Revolution: The Green Revolution
continues to cause immense damage. Far from learning from the mistakes of
the Green Revolution, the CGIAR are frantically chasing the tail of the
latest mythological 'one-technology-fixes-all:' genetic engineering. GMOs
are associated with genetic privatization through patenting and IPR;
genetic contamination; market rejection; threats to farmers' rights through
increasing monopolization in agriculture; negative health effects;
environmental damage, and a deepening of the structural inequalities
between rich and poor. The failure of the CGIAR to defend genetic diversity
in the light of contamination is disgraceful.
3. Trusteeship and biopiracy: The inability of the CGIAR to protect
material it holds in its genebanks from biopiracy is a betrayal of the
trust of farmers and farming communities. The FAO-CGIAR trust agreement has
been handled inadequately and must be fundamentally restructured.
Germplasm, its components and derivatives must be kept free of intellectual
4. Worker health and safety: The relationship between CGIAR centers and the
national workforces facilitates exploitation including, in some instances,
immunity from national labor laws. Illness and death of workers,
contractualization of labor, unfair dismissals and worker harassment
result. Workers have the right to stable, ongoing, safe employment with
adequate remuneration protected by national and international law.
5. Business as usual: The ever strengthening links with the private sector
and capitulation to private sector values and agendas brings into question
the independence and integrity of the CGIAR. The stated aims of
corporations (to make money) and the CGIAR (supposedly to increase food
security) are completely different. Biopiracy, the undermining of public-
oriented research agendas and a continuing flow of knowledge and resources
from the South to the North are the result.
6. The CGIAR have grossly failed to recognize and enforce farmers' rights
despite their rhetoric.
The CGIAR has shown itself to be unable to change. The use of nice language
and pro-farmer rhetoric to clothe the same unsustainable approach does not
constitute change. For this reason and the reasons listed above, the
Peoples' Street Conference calls for a dismantling of the current
international agricultural research system and the reorientation of public
funds into responsive, pro-poor, pro-farmer, sustainable approaches.
New models of agricultural research: The work of many of the farmers,
Peoples' Organizations and NGOs attending this street conference is
illustrative of the wide range of farmer-centered research that is being
pursued throughout the world including farmer-breeding initiatives,
participative research, and the maintenance and development of community
knowledge. Farmer-led and farmer-oriented approaches, however, are
chronically underfunded, unsupported and marginalized by the mainstream
approach to research.
Call to action:
It is imperative that agricultural research is farmer-centered, farmer-led,
pro-poor, and rooted in the principle of farmers rights, genuine land
reform and food sovereignty. Alternatives to the a mainstream approach to
agriculture must be strengthened and developed.
Funding for socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture must be
strengthened. We call upon donors to reorient their funding from research
on GMOs, hybrids and other damaging techno-fixes to agro-ecological, farmer
Public research on agriculture must be maintained free from the influence
(direct and indirect) of profit-oriented private companies. We call on all
the international scientific community to join farmers in conducting farmer-
led, farmer-oriented participatory research.
We demand that there be no patents on life or any kind of intellectual
property. The international scientific community must join peoples'
movements in explicitly rejecting patents on life, and in proactively
protecting plants, animals and agricultural processes from patents and
other forms of IPR.
The international research community must work to ensure adherence to human
rights, and labor rights in accordance with all national and international
None of these demands can be achieved without the full implementation of
farmers' rights at national and international levels. The international
research establishment must recognize and advance farmers' rights in all
its policies and actions.
The current system of international agricultural research, particularly the
CGIAR, has blighted the development of responsible public science by
diverting resources and subverting knowledge, technologies and agendas.
There has been a stifling of creativity, a marginalization of farmer
science and a tragic narrowing of analysis and goals of research. We call
upon ourselves, the international scientific community, donors, and
governments to start anew in agricultural research.
Uphold People's Control on Agriculture! Assert Farmer-centered Agricultural
Research and Systems!
1. Peasant Movement of the Philippines/KMP
2. La Via Campesina
3. Genetic Resources Action International Network/GRAIN
4. Farmers-Scientist Partnership for Development of Agriculture/MASIPAG
5. International Alliance Against Agrochemical TNCs /IAAATNCs
6. Advocates of Science and Technology for the People/AGHAM (Philippines)
7. Alliance of Farmers in Cordillera/APIT-TAKO (Philippines)
8. Assembly of the Poor (Thailand)
9. BIOTHAI (Thailand)
10. Brotherhood of IRRI Support Services Group/BISSIG (Philippines)
11. CEDAC (Cambodia)
12. Center for Environmental Concerns/CEC (Philippines)
13. South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment/SEARICE
14. Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya/SIBAT (Philippines)
15. EL KANA (Georgia)
16. Erosion, Technology, Corporation Group/ETC Group (Canada)
17. Forum for Bio-technology and Food Security (India)
18. Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development /IOHSAD
19. Patrick Mulvany, ITDG (United Kingdom)
20. Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment (Philippines)
21. LATIN (Indonesia)
22. Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific/PAN Asia Pacific
23. RRAFA (Thailand)
24. Peasant Movement of the Philippines-Cebu/KMP Cebu (Philippines)
25. Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon/AMGL (Philippines)
26. Alliance of Farmers in Isabela//DAGAMI (Philippines)
27. Pesticide Action Network Indonesia/PAN Indonesia
28. Health Alliance for Democracy/HEAD (Philippines)
29. Rural Missionaries of the Philippines/RMP (Philippines)
30. National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates/NNARA (Philippines)
31. National Fisherfolk Movement/PAMALAKAYA (Philippines)
32. Center for Genuine Agrarian Reform/SENTRA (Philippines)
| GENET |
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