Bulletin boardThe bulletin board is a place where GRAIN staff and others post their comments, suggestions, hints and assessments of documents, places or events. Or just share information that we think is interesting.

 


 

From 21-25 November 2016, about 50 people, involved in struggles to defend the territories, forests and livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, came together in Thailand for a field visit to the Northeast of the country, followed by a 3-days meeting in Bangkok. Besides a delegation from Thailand, other participants came from Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and India. The aims of the gathering, which focused on the central question of What´s happening to our forests?, included promoting exchange and dialogue on old and new threats and challenges faced by communities in the different countries. 

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The RCEP, IPRs and the threat to traditional farming

Shalini Bhutani, Third World Network | 16 January 2017 | seeds & biodiversity, laws & policies

The stringent intellectual property rules being pushed for adoption by some RCEP members will have an adverse effect on the livelihoods of small and traditional farmers in poorer member states, warns Shalini Bhutani. The concerns of ordinary citizens in countries negotiating the RCEP are therefore not misplaced. Those RCEP members taking a more cautious approach on expanding IP rules will be under pressure to go beyond their currently TRIPS-compliant domestic laws. These governments will need to stay strong for their small farmers and peasant cultures, in view of the potential adverse effects of TRIPS-plus norms on the seed sector.

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By breeding their own seed, farmers are able to create varieties that are suitable for their specific regions and climates, helping them cope better with the increasing shifts, experts say. Zimbabwe is unlikely to ratify a treaty that could strip small farmers of the right to breed and plant their own seed, at least for the time being, The Herald Business reveals.

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As a new year dawns, it is hard not to be dazzled by the current pace of technological change in food and agriculture. However, there is a risk that these technologies blind us to the very real problems facing modern agriculture – problems that are rapidly undermining the previous round of technological advances. Crop-breeding innovations are merely a short-term solution for falling yields. Only agricultural diversity can ensure food security and resilience.  An excellent reflection by  Olivier De Schutter and Emile Frison.
 

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In order to receive development assistance, Tanzania has to give Western agribusiness full freedom and give enclosed protection for patented seeds. “Eighty percent of the seeds are being shared and sold in an informal system between neighbors, friends and family. The new law criminalizes the practice in Tanzania,” says Michael Farrelly of TOAM, an organic farming movement in Tanzania.

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Until his arrest earlier this year, one of the biggest forest destroyers in the history of the Amazon oversaw a large and sophisticated criminal network from his base in Sao Paulo’s upper class neighbourhood of Jardins. Wiretaps and field investigations by federal agents have exposed a sprawling operation making millions from agriculture, facilitated by hacking, satellite analysis and slave labour. This piece draws extensively on a profile of the case in Brazilian non-profit environmental news site ((o))eco.

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We, the undersigned organizations representing XXXX of people around the world, have been accompanying allied groups in El Salvador in support of their work to prevent gold mining in their communities since 2009. That is the year when your Pac Rim Cayman subsidiary filed an unjust investor - state lawsuit with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against El Salvador. It is also the same year when three anti-mining community leaders and an unborn baby were brutally murdered in northern El Salvador, in the area where your company was conducting its operations.

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Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, says Big Food’s impact on public health should alarm us. Elver is sounding an alarm for the world to hear. Earlier this fall, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food told the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that, despite all the high-profile work being done around the globe to fight hunger and malnutrition, “the world is not on track to reach globally agreed nutrition targets.”

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This week, international conservation and environmental leaders are calling on governments at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity to establish a moratorium on the controversial genetic extinction technology called gene drives. Gene drives, developed through new gene-editing techniques- are designed to force a particular genetically engineered trait to spread through an entire wild population – potentially changing entire species or even causing deliberate extinctions. The statement urges governments to put in place an urgent, global moratorium on the development and release of the new technology, which poses serious and potentially irreversible threats to biodiversity, as well as national sovereignty, peace and food security.

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Over 400 civil society organisations from more than 50 countries today issued a joint open letter to the seventeen banks providing a US$2.5 billion project loan to Dakota Access LLC. The letter, endorsed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, demands that the banks involved immediately halt all further disbursements of the loan and require the project sponsor to stop construction work until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The letter and the full list of signatories can be found below.

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