Read this inspiring declaration of resolve from organisations from 22 African countries.
EXCERPT: Driven by our collective common vision for a sovereign, seed diverse and GMO-Free Africa, where the rights of local communities are respected; enriched and energised by our individual and collective struggles for the promotion of sustainable and viable food systems, we commit ourselves to this pledge and promise to each other to be generous as the earth in struggle, clear as the water, strong as the wind, and as far and as close as the sun.
I have just returned from a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. It was attended by organisations from both Francophone and Anglophone Africa and the attached declaration was what came out of it.
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We, the undersigned, are representatives of a broad group of like minded civil society organisations representing farmer organisations, consumer organisations, environmental actors, from twenty-two African countries who met in Nairobi, Kenya from the 27 to 29 of September for a strategising workshop on GMOs in African Agriculture.
Based on our discussions we decided to make the following statement:
*CONSCIOUS AND PROUD of the fundamental role of local communities and their traditional knowledge in the conservation and management of biological diversity in the past, present and future,
*REALISING that the corporate ownership of food and seed is a contemporary weapon being used to take total control of peoples lives, livelihoods, leading to economic slavery and colonisation,
*AWARE that GMOs cannot solve the problems of hunger and poverty in Africa and most of the promises that come with them are ill-founded,
*CONCERNED that GMOs and GMO Food Aid is being forced on Africa and that Africa may be a dumping ground for contaminated food rejected elsewhere,
*RECOGNISING that farmers-developed seed varieties are well adapted to our needs, belong to us, and therefore we do not need hybrids or GMOs,
*WORRIED that GMOs and the subsequent corporate ownership of seed and food have potential negative, ecological, economical, cultural, ethical, political and health impacts and implications;
Now, therefore we hereby;
* Reject any attempts to introduce GMOs on Africa in the guise of food aid, research programmes and commercial planting. We believe that equitable and just distribution of locally produced food is the answer to much of our hunger problems,
* Denounce the patenting of life that comes with GMOs and demand for a complete review of Article 27.3(b) of the TRIPS Agreement We demand that patents on all life forms and living processes be prohibited and support all initiatives to achieve this,
* Demand for the creation of GMO-Free zones in Africa that will eventually lead to a GMO-Free Africa,
* Demand that all African Governments that care about their citizens welfare call for a complete ban on GMO crops in order to build a GMO-Free Africa,
* Demand that African Governments develop zero-tolerant legislative systems on GMOs and strengthening the existing ones in a genuinely participatory and democratic way,
* Demand that the Convention on Biological Diversity continue their international ban on Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURTs) also known as Terminator and Traitor Technology which produces sterile seed and create dependence. We also encourage African countries to include language banning Terminator in their Biosafety Legislation
* Demand the protection of the rights of Africa's farmers and communities to use, share and conserve their genetic resources,
* Demand the protection of the diversity of our farmers' seed and other genetic resources,
In that regard we,
* Commit ourselves to strengthening our efforts and campaigns to stop the introduction of GMOs and patents on life on the African continent,
* Commit ourselves to organise and create awareness about impacts of GMOs and patents on life in agriculture, environment, health and in all strata of society,
* Commit ourselves to establish an effective exchange and flow of information amongst ourselves to coordinate future actions and campaigns against GMOs and patents on life,
* Commit ourselves to work with researchers and each other in promoting alternative and sustainable research in agriculture that is based on the problems faced by the farmers and local communities and takes in consideration and respects their local knowledge
* Propose that food sovereignty and environmental justice takes precedence over international and national trade interest,
* Commit ourselves to take back control of our seeds and our seed exchange systems and build livelihood on the basis of seed diversity,
* Undertake to liberate ourselves form this new from of slavery, promote and regain control of our local seed diversity at the community level and Africa free from GMOs.
Driven by our collective common vision for a sovereign, seed diverse and GMO-Free Africa, where the rights of local communities are respected; enriched and energised by our individual and collective struggles for the promotion of sustainable and viable food systems, we commit ourselves to this pledge and promise to each other to be generous as the earth in struggle, clear as the water, strong as the wind, and as far and as close as the sun.
Signed and Agreed in Nairobi this 29th Day of September, 2005