Farmers' Rights & Food Sovereignty

Farmers' Rights, endorsed by FAO in 1989, recognizes that farmers and rural communities have contributed greatly -- and continue to contribute -- to the creation, conservation, exchange and enhancement of genetic resources, and that they should be recognized and strengthened in their work. The ETC Group believes that Farmers' Rights must be recognized at the international level, and that its definition should be expanded by the human rights community as part of the Right to Food. Food sovereignty has largely replaced the more limited and less empowering concept of food security. Food sovereignty refers to the rights of peoples, communities and countries to define their own agricultural labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and cultural appropriate food and to food producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies. (Source: Practical Action

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Problems, Fascinations and Opportunities: A Preface

ETC Group reports on trends in intellectual property relating to nano-scale technologies. With nanotechnology, the reach of exclusive monopoly patents is not just on life, but all of nature. Accordingly, ETC Group refers to nanotech's "second nature" patents.

The key technologies of the past half-century—transistors, semiconductors, and genetic engineering—have all been about down— reducing size, materials and costs while increasing power. We are about to take a much bigger step down. Our capacity to manipulate matter is moving from genes to atoms. While civil society and governments focus on genetic modification, an impressive array of industrial enterprises is targeting a scientific revolution that could modify matter and transform every aspect of work and life.

The Principles for the Oversight of Synthetic Biology is the first global declaration from civil society to outline principles that must be adopted to protect public health and our environment from the risks posed by synthetic biology. The report also addresses the field’s numerous economic, social and ethical challenges. The writing of these principles was a collaborative effort and has been endorsed by 111 organizations from around the world.