Indigenous peoples were betrayed and Farmers' Rights trampled at a UN meeting this week (March 2006) when the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian governments - guided by the US government and a brazen cabal of corporate Gene Giants - took a major step to undermine the existing moratorium on Terminator technology (i.e., plants that are genetically modified to produce sterile seeds at harvest). The damaging recommendations from the meeting in Granada, Spain, now go to the upcoming 8th biennial meeting of the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Curitiba, Brazil, March 20-31, 2006.
The CBD's "Working Group on Article 8(j)" that met in Granada this week was established to protect the traditional knowledge, innovation and practices of Indigenous peoples and peasant farmers. Civil society groups and Indigenous peoples watched in disbelief however as governments ignored the profoundly negative social, economic and environmental impacts of "suicide seeds" highlighted in numerous CBD studies as well as in official submissions from Indigenous peoples and farmers' organizations. The outcome now threatens biodiversity and the future of seed-saving and locally adapted agriculture worldwide.
"Terminator poses a threat to our welfare and food sovereignty and constitutes a violation of our human right of self-determination," said Mariano Marcos Terena of Brazil on behalf of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity.
Although the meeting "reaffirmed" the fragile UN moratorium on Terminator, new recommendations adopted in Granada now may be used to block the CBD's precautionary approach when governments meet in March in Brazil. Not only did the meeting fail to condemn Terminator as immoral and anti-farmer, Australia and the United States falsely claimed that Terminator, which creates sterility, would "increase productivity."