Call by Network in Defence of Maize, Via Campesina North America, National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People
Guadalajara, México, February 28th-March 3rd, 2010
Amidst national and international criticism the Food and Agriculture Organisation will hold a meeting in México (March 1st-4th) when, at the same time, the Mexican government has authorised the first field trials of transgenic maize in the country, despising that México is the centre of origin of maize. This FAO meeting, supported by the Mexican government, is defined as an international “technical” conference entitled “Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries”. The aim is to present what they call “options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change”, and also “agricultural biotechnologies for food security and sustainable development: options for developing countries and priorities for action by the international community”.
As it can be seen already from the title, this conference has been prepared with no intention to hide the promotion of biotechnology as a solution for the food and climate crises, thus promoting the corporations’ standpoint and agenda all over. The crises are real but its solutions won’t come from expensive, patented and controlled technologies set forward by a handful of transnationals. Indeed, these techno-fixes may pose further risks to hunger, health, environment and biodiversity.
Judging from its official published documents, the scenario set forward by FAO is particularly worrisome, considering also the time and place chosen to carry this conference: México, at a time when its government just ended a moratorium of at least ten years against GM maize cultivation; when after a process tainted by many irregularities authorised the experimental growing of transgenic maize through field trials, against the opinion, arguments and demands of millions of peasants, indigenous peoples and communities, as well as many scientists, consumer and environmental groups. This seriously endangers all native maize varieties, their biodiversity and the cultures that have created and nurtured maize since at least 8 thousand years ago as a vital element of their existence.
Facing such an attack by FAO, by the Mexican government and other institutions, the Network in Defence of Maize, Via Campesina-North America and the National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People call to the following activities that will have the participation of many national and international experts on the issue:
Sunday, February 28th
12:00, Ex-Convento del Carmen Square (Juárez Avenue and July 8th Street)
GMO steal our future: What you can’t afford not to know
Pat Mooney (ETC Group, Canada), Alberto Gómez (Via Campesina North America), Camila Montecinos (GRAIN, Chile), Verónica Villa (Network in Defence of Maize, Mexico).
Tuesday, March 2nd and Wednesday, March 3rd
9:00 – 17:00, City Museum, Guadalajara (684 Independencia street, between M. Bárcenas and Contreras Medellín streets, Guadalajara City Center)
Transgenic contamination of maize: crime against humanity?
First public hearing to prepare the presentation of the GM Maize case before international courts
People who will testify the process:
Magda Gómez and Francisco López Bárcenas, among others
Tuesday, March 2nd
The Global Context
Transgenic crops: impacts on seeds, agriculture and food
Camila Montecinos, Pat Mooney, Silvia Ribeiro, Luis Hernández Navarro
The case of transgenic maize in Mexico
Evangelina Robles (Colectivo Coa), Ernesto Ladrón de Guevara (UNORCA)
Testimonies from indigenous communities and peasant organizations
Elías Velasco (ORAB), Eutimio Díaz (Wixárika people), UNOSJO, Oaxaca, Olegario Carrillo (UNORCA), Randy Jasper (NFFC, USA), Jan Slomp (NFU, Canada – Via Campesina North America).
Participation from the audience
Wednesday, March 3rd
9:00 – 14:30
Briefing of the previous day’s discussion
Ramón Vera Herrera (Ojarasca, GRAIN)
Transgenic crops in the Mexican context of environmental, economic and political crises
Andrés Barreda (Casifop, National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People), Ana de Ita (Ceccam)
Testimonies from the scientific community
Union of Socially Committed Scientists (UCCS)
Comments from the people testifying the process
What are we missing to complete the case filing?
Participation from all attendants
Wednesday, March 3rd
16:00 – 21:00, Escorza Square (Juárez Avenue and Escorza street)
Peasant and Popular Trial to Transgenic Crops
Public Meeting (Theater and other artistic expressions)
Exhibition of native seeds
Contacts and information:
Colectivo Coa: email@example.com; Phone: +52 (33) 38 25 49 03
Ceccam: firstname.lastname@example.org; Phone: +52 (55) 56 61 19 25
Network in Defence of Maize
Via Campesina-North America
National Assembly of Environmentally Affected People