Are we continuing to fuel Biodiversity Loss?

Industrial scale bioenergies, including biofuels are rapidly expanding, creating massive new demand for wood, vegetable oil and agricultural products. Already these demands are inflicting serious and irreversible impacts on forests and other natural ecosystems, soils and water resources. Expansion of industrial monocultures, including tree plantations, to meet this demand occurs at the expense of biodiversity and food production, while also contributing to “land grabs”, undermining the rights of peasant farmers and indigenous peoples, and hampering efforts to achieve food sovereignty and agrarian reform. The CBD Secretariat's report rightly acknowledges many of these negative impacts. However, in line with COP10 decision X/37, it focuses predominantly on 'tools', i.e. standards and certification, to address the often complex direct and indirect negative impacts, without assessing whether those tools are credible instruments. Standards and certification schemes per se have not been effective and are no match for countering the drivers of bioenergy expansion: targets, mandates and subsidies, especially in Europe and North America. To effectively address the negative impacts, those incentives need to be eliminated.

Information concerning Innovative Financial Mechanisms (IFMs): Offset Programmes

With Decision X/3, A, paragraph 8(c) "invites parties, relevant organisations and initiatives.[...] to submit information concerning innovative financial mechanisms that have potential to generate new and additional financial resources as well as possible problems that could undermine achievement of the Convention's three objectives [...]". This submission focuses on experiences with offset programmes, showing examples and concerns that have arisen from them and that are relevant to ideas of developing biodiversity offset systems or similar mechanisms.

Why we should continue to oppose the inclusion of agriculture in the climate negotiations

The World Bank is pushing hard to extend the life of carbon markets. It sees agriculture as an essential part of the strategy. That is just one reason why we should continue to oppose the inclusion of agriculture in the climate negotiations. For those who are accredited to the Climate Convention, the deadline to respond regarding a programme on agriculture is 5th March. For all of us it's important to understand clearly what is behind all the talk of "climate-smart" agriculture and "sustainable intensification".

Who’s in Charge?

Corporations are treated as if they are people or "persons" under the law. The first Corporations were charities. The first Corporations to act for commercial ends did so fraudulently. But what are Corporations? Where did they come from? How did they become so powerful?

GM-Gene Flow (b)

It is our conclusion that too little is known at present about the evolution, ecology, biochemistry and pathogenicity of viruses to allay the concerns about horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from plants containing viral transgenes.

Argentina and GM soya

Soya is not bringing wealth to Argentina. "We are being occupied by the seed multinationals that have patented life and are forcing us to pay tribute to them," says Jorge Eduardo Rulli, one of Argentina’s leading agronomists. "The more we produce the poorer we become."

Golden Rice, Patents and Vitamin A Deficiency

‘Golden Rice’ first caught the headlines in 2000. Genetically engineered with 3 genes from daffodils and bacteria, this GM rice has been designed to produce pro-vitamin A. Claimed by GM proponents and biotech industry as the answer to vitamin A deficiency (VAD), others see it as a diversion from relatively low-cost, but effective, initiatives, which can help people to achieve a better diet almost immediately. Furthermore, the experience of Southern farmers is that intensive rice production with the use of high chemical inputs ended their integrated farming systems. Such systems included other food sources such as fish, snails, water fowl and green leafy vegetables to provide a wide range of essential nutrients including (pro)vitamin A. ‘Golden Rice’ has still not been tested for environmental or food safety nor assessed for socio-economic impacts.

Hungry Corporations

This book demonstrates that a handful of companies have gained an alarming level of control over the food chain through the industrialisation of agriculture, the forces of globalisation, and the vertical and horizontal integration of business. These corporations are deeply involved in the current push for genetic engineering in agriculture. Industry argues that genetic engineering is the technology of the next industrial revolution and that it can help resolve the problem of hunger.

Terminator Technology

Monsanto's latest flagship technology makes a nonsense of its claim that it seeks to feed the worlds hungry. On the contrary, it threatens to undermine the very basis of traditional agriculture - that of saving seeds from year to year. What's more, this “gene cocktail" will increase the risk that new toxins and allergens will make their way into the food chain.

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