COP8 -Day 3 22nd March 2006 - Terminator Item looms..


So today is the day that Terminator is expected to come up in the Working Group and expectation and rumour is running high. Over 150 people are wandering around the conference room wearing distinctive white T-shirts which declare that suicide seeds are homicide seeds , there are posters and stickers, flags and placards - the front page of the Eco - the daily new service here - reminds Canada, New Zealand and Australia that 'The world is watching'. Governments are firming up their positions, issuing advance statements. We too are giving press conferences and interviews

This morning Ban Terminator released a new report that indicated the real cost of Terminator in financial terms. For example here in Brazil, soybean farmers who currently save seed every harvest would have to pay a further 407 million dollars per year if terminator became the dominant seed platform and they were forced back to seed market year on year.

One man who would oppose that is Governor Roberto Requiao who today signed into law a decree that made the labelling of GM food and animal feed mandatory in the state of Parana. the signing ceremony was held at COP8 with the National Environment Minister in attendance as well as hundreds of activist farmers from La Via Campesina.

Meanwhile hundreds more Via Campesina farmers are occupying a GM field trial about six hours away planted by Syngenta. Incredibly it turns out to be an illegal trial because it is planted close a protected reserve and last night the brazillian authorities fined Syngenta one million brazillian reals for planting illegally. Of course Syngenta are here at the CBD too..

We don't know how the different countries are going to line up on the Terminator (GURTS) item this afternoon. Brazil has issued a press statement saying that it wanst to maintain the moratorium, is opposed to field trials and drawing attention to the 'case by case' clause of the pro-terminator nations. New Zealand meanwhile has put out a press statement defending its 'case by case' argument and revealing that it is interested in putting Terminator in wild animals (possums). New Zealand Environment Minister David benson Pope said " If there were some technology that ensured sterility in our possum population, would the New Zealand public not expect us to at least consider such a possibility? Some delegates here are aghast at how out of touch New Zealand appears to be. It was bad enough to support terminator crops and terminator trees but to start arguing for terminator animals is raising eyebrows. What next? terminator humans?!