September 03, 2001

RAFI becomes ETC Group

International Advocacy Group Changes Name, President, and Widens Agenda

ETC Group (pronounced etcetera) is the new name for the former Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The full legal name will be Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration . The official name change took place September 1st as the organization began its 16th year of activity.

Etcetera: We had hundreds of name suggestions, Pat Mooney, Executive Director reports, referring to the name contest launched on the RAFI website earlier this year. A surprisingly large percentage of the suggestions were actually complimentary, Hope Shand, Research Director, recalls. The most common suggestion was not to change our name at all. (The change was advised in order to secure the advocacy group s non-profit status in the United States. The ETC Group is incorporated both in Europe and in Canada, with headquarters in Winnipeg.

Silvia Ribeiro in the Mexico City office adds, We wanted a name that translates easily. Julie Delahanty, in Quebec, continues, Given our extensive work with UN agencies, we kind of likedInter alia but not enough people seemed to get it. We toyed with Ad nauseum but that seemed just a little too Canadian diplomat-ish, Pat Mooney adds.

New Agenda: At its annual meeting in Uppsala, Sweden in late June, the board and staff agreed on Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration as the most accurate description of the organization s expanded agenda (in keeping with our recent book, The ETC Century). It was agreed that the Group s work should focus on human and cultural rights under the Erosion agenda; that research on new technologies such as human genomics and neurosciences, nanotechnology and biological warfare needs to become a priority under the Technology agenda; and that the Concentration agenda will explore New Enclosures corporate strategies that go beyond intellectual property to strengthen monopoly control. The group insists however, that this expansion in programme work will be done without abandoning its more traditional work on agricultural biodiversity, biotechnology, biopiracy, intellectual property, and issues of international governance.


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