Via Campesina’s Intervention to the Biodiversity Convention

José Oviedo-Bonn, Germany, 19th of May 2008

Good morning to everyone,
I would like to thank you on behalf of Via Campesina for the opportunity to express in this COP9 the position and petitions from our organisation in relation to biodiversity. We are an international movement of peasants with a presence in more than 60 countries, representing millions of peasant farmers. I am a producer of vegetables and grains in Costa Rica.

We ratify that we, the families of the peasant farmers of the world, the indigenous people, fishermen/fisherwomen, pastoralists, are the people who protect and renew the biodiversity of the planet and the required knowledge needed for the survival of humanity.

The current food crisis is the result of the structural adjustment policies by the FMI, World Bank and the Free Trade Agreements. Although there is enough food in the world, the privatisation of reserves, speculation and the artificial development of the agrofuels generates more hunger and poverty. The solutions proposed by the corporations, such as the new green revolution in Africa and GMO(transgenic), only heighten the crisis.

Those who fill their fuel tanks with ethanol are using more maize than that consumed by a person in Africa during an entire year. The industrial agrofuels from all types of generations consume more energy than energy produced by them. Sustainable or social agrofuels do not exist.

The peasant agriculture has been and still is capable of feeding the world and cool down the Planet.  Only the conserved biodiversity, renewed in the field by the peasants will enable the development of plants and animals that tomorrow will adapt to the new climate scenarios.

We, the peasant communities around the world requests:

  • Our collective rights about the use of the biodiversity and never as a compensation of the so pretended “sharing of the benefits” as a consequence of the application of the rights for the private ownership of the seeds via the patents and the new plant variety certificate.

  • The adoption of pertinent measures by the COP9 which will realise peasants rights over their seeds, land and water. (Right to seeds is already defined in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture).

  • Therefore we request the prohibition of any type of transgenic crops and industrial agrofuels.

  • Also that the COP9 realises that the food sovereignty is fundamental to solve the food crisis on the bases of biodiversity.

Thank you very much