Dec 08, 2010
In recent years, hundreds of organisations and movements have been engaged in struggles, activities, and various kinds of work to defend and promote the right of people to Food Sovereignty around the world. Many of these organizations were present in the Nyéléni Forum 2007 and feel part of a broader Food Sovereignty Movement, that considers the Nyéléni declaration as its political platform. The Nyéléni Newsletter wants to be the voice of this international movement.
Following the International Forum on Food Sovereignty held in Mali in February 2007, the social movements that brought this initiative to life created a tool for communication and exchange in order to continue the fight for food sovereignty and to defend the interests of disadvantaged groups such as small-scale farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples and those living from pastoralism. The situation of these groups continues to deteriorate due to the ongoing assaults of an increasingly inhuman capitalism.
A new wave of landgrabbing can now be added to the problems of our times, a reality which the World Bank seeks to legitimize in its latest report. It is therefore urgent and critical for social movements to regroup and to strengthen our alliances in order to deal with the offensive of neoliberalism, unprecedented in the history of mankind. This newsletter aims to bring a small stone to the edifice of resistance that will be built to counteract transnational corporations, the World Bank and their allies. We urge all organisations and all movements committed to the struggle for food sovereignty to embark with us on this journey.
The newsletter will be published every two months and is available on the Nyéléni website.
Jun 16, 2010
This June the first Forum Against Agribusiness and for the Peoples’ Sovereignty of Meso America, was held in El Salvador over two days. The forum reached the overwhelming conclusion that the capitalist system needs to be dismantled.
The Forum was organized by the World March of Women, La Via Campesina and Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean.
The social movements agreed that their most “urgent and important” task is to change the capitalist model that has led to the disappearance of human kind, as soon as possible.
"That paradigm will destroy us and we are running out of time", said Ricardo Navarro of CESTA / Friends of the Earth El Salvador at the closing event. “In order to face this challenge of changing the paradigm we will have to understand that the planet is more than a home you have to keep clean”. For that reason Navarro says that the ancestral vision that compares the earth with a mother is more accurate.
At the end of the event the social movements issued a joint declaration expressing their support for food and energy sovereignty, the right and access to drinking water for all, GM free and transnational corporations free territories. They expressed their rejection to militarization, criminalization and violence against women, metal mining, dams, land grabbing, monoculture plantations, agrofuels, agrotoxics, and junk food.
They agreed that it is not possible to change the current system without destroying the old model. The only way to break with the structure of this terror and death regime, they said, is through alliances, the promotion of a real and true land reform and food sovereignty, with the conviction that peasant farming is the only path to cool the planet.
“Only together and united are we to create new forms of livelihood, solidarity, sustainability and sovereignty, and build alternatives for the peoples and by the peoples with Mother Earth for good lving and for the common goods of our territories”, concludes the declaration.
May 21, 2010
From April 12-17 protesters across the European Union took part in a week of action against Genetically Modified (GM) crops in Europe.
The country that saw most of the demonstrations was Spain, the only EU member that cultivates GM crops on a large-scale. The cultivation of such crops in Spain is leading to problems in their countryside and their food. More than fifteen percent of Spanish soy and corn-based food is already contaminated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is not labeled appropriately, according to the Spanish Food Security Agency.
At the beginning of the week several social organisations took part in an action outside of congress protesting at the recent decision to allow German chemical giant BASF to grow GM potatoes in EU member states for industrial usage.
Environmental groups across the EU are concerned that GMOs could contaminate other crops and once they're in the food chain it will be impossible to eradicate them.
Those taking part in the action dressed as chefs and executives from BASF and Monsanto - another producer of GM technology - and offered free tortillas to passers-by giving them the option of organic or GM.
The peoples' reaction was conclusive; nobody, from the general public to congress members and their staff wanted to eat the GM tortilla.
Last year 76,000 hectares of land were cultivated with GM corn in Spain. The crop is developed with an absolute lack of transparency and control. There have been numerous cases of harvests and food contamination. Still, the government ignores the social and environmental impacts and consequences on health, which have led the other countries to ban it.
Targeting Spanish embassies
Later in the week demonstrations took place outside Spanish embassies in Cyprus, the United Kingdom, Austria, Lithuania, France and Portugal.
Finally, the week culminated in a demonstration in Madrid where 15,000 people marched under the slogan 'For a GM Free Food and Agriculture'.
Farmers, ecologists and consumers from all over Spain marched on the city calling on the government to follow the same path taken by countries like France, Germany or Austria and ban the cultivation of GM corn in Spain.
Speaking at the event David Sanches, head of the Friends of the Earth Agriculture and Food campaign said:
"The government's attitude on this issue is absolutely unacceptable. These actions show that it is clearly isolated in the EU in its position in defence of GMOs. Besides damaging our environment and endangering the public health, the Government's position is seriously damaging the image of Spain and its food abroad."
Mar 18, 2010
A decision by Europe's new health and consumer commissioner, John Dalli, to give the go ahead for genetically modified potatoes to be grown in Europe, has been condemned by Friends of the Earth Europe.
The 'Amflora' potato, designed to produce starch for industrial purposes by Germany´s chemical giant BASF, carries a controversial antibiotic resistant gene which it cannot be guaranteed will not enter the food chain.
Heike Moldenhauer, GMO spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"This is a bad day for European citizens and the environment. The new Commissioner whose job is to protect consumers has in one of his first decisions ignored public opinion and safety concerns to please the world’s biggest chemical company. This decision puts profit before people or the environment and will do little to increase public confidence in the Brussels bureaucracy.
"There are clear health concerns surrounding this GM potato. The antibiotics affected by Amflora are vital tools against illness and despite growing resistance to these life saving drugs, industry has added them to potatoes with no guarantees that they will not get into the food chain. This is nothing less then a crass decision that puts the public at risk."
Amflora is highly controversial mainly due to its antibiotic resistant gene. The potato was given official approval by the European Food Safety Authority but for the first time the judgment of the scientific body wasn't unanimous. Two EFSA scientists stated that the possibility of a transfer of antibiotic resistant genes to bacteria within the gastro-intestinal-tract cannot be predicted.
Two other conventional potato varieties already on the market have the same characteristics as Amflora – one developed by German plant breeder Europlant, the other by Dutch company Avebe. The existence of these non-GM alternatives means that there is no reason for farmers to have to cultivate Amflora for the European starch industry and no need to introduce the risk of spreading antibiotic resistance.
Jan 26, 2010
To mark World Food Day on October 16 Otros Mundos (Friends of the Earth Mexico) organised a festival-event in the square Plaza de Mexicanos in San Cristobal, where it provided information on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their effects and it exposed the actions of 'Monsanto' to the public.
A large stage was built for the event that included a banner with the legend: “El Santo vs. Monsanto” (The Saint vs. Monsanto) that included crucial information about the company's activities. Monsanto have a significant in the region. A 'GM stand' was also built with the packaging of products that use GMOs.
Throughout the day there was a campaign to collect signatures to demand the local government to declare Chiapas GM-free because of the risk implied by GM and biochemical contamination of native maize seeds. One of the spokespersons of the Civil Organization 'Las Abejas' (The bees) who have depended on native maize production for generations. They also backed the petition.
There were other activities such as live music, the selling of organic food by community women, children's drawings on maize and its importance, and the contribution of a drums group from Tabasco, which joined the demonstration along the main roads of town carrying banners against Monsanto and GM food in general.