CBD / SBSTTA 11
11th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Technical and Technological Advice held in Montreal, 28 November- 2 December 2005
ECO @ SBBSTA 11
Campaign to ban Terminator Technology
“Let's Liberate Diversity”
European Seeds Seminar, Poitiers, 25 th and 26 th November 2005
RESOLUTION TO CALL FOR A
because of its European and Global Impacts on Farmers,
Terminator, a technology requiring multiple genetic modifications, will stop farmers from being able to save and reuse seed. It is designed to prevent farm-saved seed from germinating so that farmers have to buy new seeds each season. It has been developed to increase corporate control over seeds by the biotech companies. Terminator directly infringes Farmers' Rights, undermines food sovereignty and presents a threat to farmers' livelihoods and agricultural biodiversity.
The participants at the seminar:
Opposed the use of Terminator or any other GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) that would prevent farmers from saving and re-using seeds;
Rejected the false claim that Terminator technology could permit co-existence of conventional and GM crops – it cannot be a biosafety tool;
Criticised the investment in research on Terminator technology which diverts funds and effort from agriculturally useful investigation;
Called on peasants and rural peoples to actively expose and oppose Terminator technology and GM crops and intensify the struggle against imperialist globalisation and the agrochemical TNCs; and
Called on their governments to:
in upcoming meetings of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in March 2006.
Adopted at 16:15 on 26 th November 2005, by unanimous vote in the final Plenary
At the seminar there were about 140 participants from national and international farmers' organisations, NGOs, agricultural research organisations and national, regional and international civil society networks concerned with seeds, agricultural biodiversity, food and farming.
The Terminator patent, EP 0 775 212 B1, was granted by the European Patent Office on 5 th October 2005 to US-based Delta & Pine Land (D&PL Technology Holding Company LLC ) and the United States of America, represented by the Secretary of Agriculture. According to further data bank research the patent was already granted in similar versions in the USA, further applications were filed in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Turkey and South Africa.
Ban Terminator Technology
estebancio castro – International Indian Treaty Council
(from ECO 2)
The concerns of Indigenous Peoples over the use and patenting of genetic use restriction technologies “GURTs” (also known as terminator technology) for commercial purposes by multinationals is now a reality. Last month, Greenpeace and the Ban Terminator Campaign revealed that new patents have been granted to United States seed corporation Delta & Pine Land and, to the United States Department of Agriculture. Both were granted in Europe and Canada. This development will be an important issue for the upcoming Eighth Conference of Parties (“COP8”) to consider in Curitiba, Brazil.
For indigenous peoples who rely on agriculture to sustain their lifestyle and cultural practices, the seeds they harvest are seen as valuable environmental assets and an important component in the protection of land ecosystems which are considered to be non-renewable resources.
Agricultural traditional knowledge and sustainable agricultural practices by indigenous peoples and local communities are environmental resources of national significance, for which States members have a major responsibility to maintain and protect by effective policies and national law. Using GURTs in agricultural production will jeopardize Indigenous Peoples traditional knowledge systems, their seeds and crops. It is clear that GURTs are threatening the ability of Indigenous Peoples to use exchange and cultivate their own traditional seeds and crops. There are direct and indirect impacts to consider.
The International Indian Treaty Council (“IITC”) a non governmental organization with United Nations ECOSOC status at its 31 st Anniversary Conference hosted by the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations at Ermineskin Cree Nation, Canada along with other organizations and indigenous communities passed the following resolutions:
Calls on the Working Group on Article 8 j to advise the 8 th Conference of the Parties that GURTs is a dangerous technology that threatens biodiversity, Indigenous knowledge systems, small holder farmers and global food security;
Recommend to the Parties at the 8th meeting of Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8) to fully consider the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) Report on GURTS, and approve the Report's recommendation that governments develop national regulations to prohibit commercialization of GURTS;
It is the view of IITC that any field testing or any commercial use or other release of GURTs is a fundamental violation of the human rights of Indigenous peoples, a breach of our right of self-determination, and a threat to our rights of food sovereignty and food security.
Releasing GURTs may lead to irreversible degradation to the world's ecosystems, food sovereignty and food security for Indigenous Peoples. Today's knowledge of the impact of GURTs is uncertain. There is a need for extensive research on environmental impacts. State-parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity should guarantee food security and uphold the existing moratorium.
The full IITC resolution is posted at www.treatycouncil.org as well as at www.banterminator.org , with submissions to 8(j) on the potential impacts of GURTs from Indigenous peoples' organizations and communities, and farmers associations.
You are invited to join us for a side-event:
“V-GURTs (Terminator) as a biological containment tool” Friday December 2 13:15 – 14:45 Foyer Gallery 1 (Level 5)
Terminator Technology - Next Stop: 8j !
Lucy Sharratt - Ban Terminator Campaign
(from ECO 5)
As we move now to the January meeting of Working Group on Article 8(j) in Spain, and to COP8, we will again encounter the issue of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs or Terminator technology). Last time SBSTTA met, in February 2005, Terminator was on the agenda in form of the “Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group report on the potential impacts of genetic use restriction technologies on smallholder farmers, indigenous and local communities” (AHTEG report). Now 8j will consider the recommendations of the AHTEG report and send its own recommendations to COP8.
What is Terminator? Terminator technology refers to plants that have been genetically modified to render seeds sterile at harvest – it is also called Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTS. Terminator technology was developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the United States government to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting harvested seed. Terminator has not yet been commercialized or field-tested but tests are currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States.
The AHTEG report is highly critical of Terminator's potential impacts on Indigenous peoples, local communities and smallholder farmers and it recommends that Parties and other Governments “consider the development of regulatory frameworks not to approve GURTs for field-testing and commercial use.”
The AHTEG report, while not representing a consensus viewpoint, does provide a valid and important assessment of the potential impacts of Terminator on smallholder farmers, Indigenous peoples and local communities who are traditional stewards of biodiversity. In fact, the AHTEG included diverse representation from Parties, other governments, Indigenous peoples and local communities, international organizations, civil society organizations and the seed industry - including representatives from two companies and one government that hold patents on Terminator technology.
Many Indigenous communities will send representatives to 8j to communicate practical information about how they see Terminator would impact their social relations, economic well being, cultural and spiritual practices, and traditional knowledge. Indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations are asking Parties to take into account the concerns of Indigenous peoples, local communities and farmers and to act on this information.
The current evaluation of the potential impacts of GURTs is particularly critical now as seed and biotechnology companies continue to develop Terminator and are winning new patents (the latest were awarded to US seed company Delta & Pine Land and the US Department of Agriculture in October 2005 in both Europe and Canada).
Companies are also now incorrectly promoting the technology as a potential ‘biosafety' tool, claiming it could stop unwanted contamination from genetically modified crops. Not only would Terminator fail as a ‘biosafety' tool, it would itself pose serious biosafety risks – risks that Indigenous peoples and rural communities would bear, with grave potential impacts on biodiversity, traditional knowledge and food security.It is due to these serious concerns that SBSTTA 10 reaffirmed the CBD Decision V/5 III of 2000 that recommends Parties not approve GURTs for field testing or commercialization at this time. Now that 8j will consider the results of the AHTEG report examination, some of the most critical of these concerns can be more fully addressed and the Decision strengthened.