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globe logo     Caravan: Newsletter of the Alliance for a Responsible and United World
Number 3 May 1999

bulletFrom Readers
bulletThe Alliance in Motion
bulletAn Alliance? As Seen By
 · Question of resources, knowledge & rights
 · Biotechnology & Agriculture
 · Another view of diversity
 · Save the Seeds Movement
 · Biodiversity Workshop
 · Biodiversity, Community Rights & GMOs
 · Rishikesh final declaration
 · Sources of inspiration
bulletOasis of the Alliance
bulletIntercultural Dialogue
bulletCaravan Association
bulletNgecha Artists Ass'n
bulletReturn to ALLIANCE LIBRARY

A few sources of inspiration on biodiversity

bulletThe Nayakrishi Andolan (Bangladesh)
   Contact: Farhad Mazhar
   UBINIG, 5/3 Barabo Mahanpur, Ring Road, Shaymoli, Dhaka - 1207, Bangladesh
   Tel: (880) 2 81 1475 or 2 32 9620
   Fax: (880) 2 81 3065

The Nayakrishi Andolan (New Agricultural Movement) of peasants in Bangladesh strives to promote community knowledge around local plant resources in an attempt to secure food security. The movement highlights the importance of wild uncultivated plants, which play a major role in the survival of poor and marginal population when agricultural productions fail. Special attention is paid to women's knowledge on wild foods and their know-how in food preparation, which are recognized as closely linked to the preservation of biodiversity.

bulletMahila Sangams (India)
   Contact: P.V. Satheesh
   DDS, A-6, Meera Apartments, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad 500 029, A.P., India.
   Tel: (91) 40 322 2260 or 322 2867
   Fax: (91) 40 322 2260

In a semi-arid area of Andhra Pradesh, village women belonging to the most marginalised sections of society, the Dalits, have constituted themselves in groups to collectively address issues of local food security, land erosion, and loss of seed diversity. The association Deccan Development Society provided some initial support to the Mahila sangams (Women’s group) who decided to put some fallow land back into cultivation, to start seed farms for indigenous varieties of millets and sorghum and to revive the old village graneries. In this initiative, biodiversity conservation is truly practiced "on-farm", and it is linked to a broader process of agrarian change where communities regain some level of direct control over their resource and livelihood.

bulletThe Network on Community Rights and Biodiversity (Thailand)
   Contact: Witoon Lianchamroon
   BIOTHAI, 801/8 Ngamwongwan 27 Soi 5, Muang, Nonthaburi 1100, Thailand
   Tel: (66) 2 952 7371
   Fax: (66) 2 952 8312

The Thai Network on Community Rights and Biodiversity (BIOTHAI) has been spearheading a national campaign of awareness and protest against biopiracy. One of the most notorious acts of biopiracy was carried out by a US firm, RiceTec Inc., which sought to protect the name "Jasmati" for commercial purpose. This name creates a false association between an ordinary rice and the famous Thai aromatic Jasmine rice, thus potentially threatening Thai exports of Jasmine rice. BIOTHAI has also been active in reviewing Monsanto's moves to promote commercial biotechnology in Thailand, and in working towards the recognition of farmers' rights in the national legislation.

bulletThe Community Technology Development Trust (Zimbabwe)
   Contact: Tonderai Andrew Mushita
   CTDT, P.O Box 7232, Harare, Zimbabwe
   Tel: (263) 4 303 160
   Fax: (263) 4 733 669

The Community Technology Development Trust has been active in initiating a national dialogue on policies and legislations relating to biodiversity management, intellectual property rights (IPR) and farmers' rights. In 1998, it co-organised a consultative workshop with the government to assess the alternatives to current IPR regimes which would protect traditional knowledge systems and technologies and reflect the socio-economic and cultural realities of the country.

bulletInteramerican Network on Agriculture and Democracy (Latin America)
   Contact: Fernando Larrea
   IEE-RIAD, San Ignacio #134 y 6 de Diciembre, piso 1° oficina #2, Quito, Ecuador

The Red Interamericana Agricultura y Democracia (RIAD) brings together people, institutions and farmers’ organisations from more than 14 countries of the American continent under the theme of ‘Democracy and rural development’. In January 1999, RIAD jointly organised with Acción ecológica, a Latin American workshop on biosafety and transgenic organisms, held in Quito (Equator). The participants declared that they were opposed to the introduction of genetically modified organisms into the market and to intellectual property rights on life. Moreover they have demanded that an agreement on biosafety based on the principle of precaution be drafted, which would guarantee the protection of traditional agricultural systems, have precedence over international trade agreements and would recognise the rights of States to freely manage the usage, distribution and marketing of GMOs in their territories after consulting the civil society.

Understanding what is at stake...

bulletRural Advancement Foundation International (Canada)
   110 Osborne St., Suite 202, Winnipeg, MB R3L 1Y5, CANADA
   Tel: 1 (204) 453-5259
   Fax: 1 (204) 925-8034

RAFI is a North-American based organisation dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, and concerned about the impact of intellectual property rights on agriculture, food security and rural communities. RAFI's website offers a lot of recent information on life patents and on the food and agro-chemical corporate sector.

bulletGenetic Resources Action International (Spain)
   Girona 25, pral, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
   Tel: (34-93) 301 13 81
   Fax: (34-93) 301 16 27

(GRAIN) is an international non-governmental organisation, established in 1990 to help further a global movement of popular action against one of the world's most pervasive threats to world food and livelihood security: genetic erosion. GRAIN provides a useful analysis of the trends in international negociations on biodiversity and intellectual property rights. It publishes Seedling, a quarterly newsletter.

bulletThe Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (USA)
   2105 First Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404, USA
   Tel.: 1 612 870 0453
   Fax: 1 612 870 4846

IATP is as a non-profit research and education organization. It monitors international policy developments around food, environment and biotechnology. IATP assists public interest organizations in effectively influencing both domestic and international policymaking in trade and agriculture, and it works to build international networks through conferences, publications, and action campaigns.

bulletPeople and Plants Handbook
   People and Plants Initiative, Division of Ecological Sciences
   UNESCO, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris Cedex 07 SP, France
   Fax: 33 1 40 65 98 97

bulletBiotechnology and Development Monitor
   University of Amsterdam, Department of Political Science
   Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237, 1012 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands
   Tel.: 31 20 525 2177
   Fax: 31 20 525 2086

bulletCourrier de la Planète
   Parc scientifique Agropolis
   Bât. 14, 34397 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
   Tel.: 04 99 23 22 80
   Fax: 04 99 23 24 60/61

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© 2000 Alliance for a Responsible and United World. All rights reserved. Last updated January 30, 2000.