Call for action at UN Biodiversity Summit - Bonn, Germany - 16-30 May

Mark mark at
Thu May 15 16:37:24 BST 2008

Call for action to protect biodiversity, family farms & stop privatisation
& the loss of more land to monoculture at the UN Biodiversity Summit in
Bonn, Germany - 16-30 May.

Driving out small farmers and peasants, genetic manipulation,
deforestation, use of pesticides will all be at stake at this

Call for action at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Bonn, Germany - 16-30th May:

In full it is about the ‘The 4th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena
Protocol on Biosafety (MOP4) and the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9)
to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’. The MOP (12-16 May) is
about (the spread of) gene technology and the COP (19-30 May) is about
virtually everything else that deals with biological diversity.

Join the protests and other events! As agro multinationals will also use
the opportunity for massive lobbying.

Groups from Germany and beyond are actively working on the organisation of
various actions and other happenings. The CBD will be used to show the
public, media and the present delegations that a different type of
agriculture and consumption are necessary to solve food related social and
ecological problems. A top on biodiversity is not just about red-listed
species. It is also about:
* small farmers losing their land due to the expansion of plantations and
monoculture fields;
* the introduction of biodiesel at the expense of local food supply; gene
technology and patents on crops, meaning that farmers and local
communities lose control over their own food supply;
* nature parks as compensation for our industrial society, which again
harms the original inhabitants of the place; and
* the role of multinationals in all this.

(More topics are on the agenda, but you can find a full overview yourself
at the CBD website).
Enough reasons for us not to let this international top pass by unnoticed!

Planned activities:
Below you can find an overview of the planned actions in Bonn. But it is
most likely that not everything is publicly announced and there will be
enough space for spontaneous initiatives.

Saturday morning 17 May: Action against gene technology and patents on
crops. This will be exciting, but we can not say much more on this. You
can find more on this topic in the latest German newsletter Kaperbrief ;

Sunday 18 May: Agrofuel action day. That large scale cultivation of fuel
crops is disastrous for food supply and the position of small farmers is
obvious. But the production of it still continues, also during this
UN-top. With an action in the streets we will try to reach the population
of Bonn, and make them more sensible than the business world and
politicians who refuse to talk about a radical reduction of energy use in
‘the West’.

Monday morning 19 May: Opening of COP9, accompanied by a demonstration of
Via Campesina and their solidarity friends in front of the entrance to the
conference. This must show that until now, similar conferences have not
taken account of the interests of small farmers sufficiently
- link to the action call of Via Campesina:

Monday afternoon 19 May: Presentation of the Captain Hook Award for
corporations that managed to get hold of patents in the most scandalous
manner, the true bio-pirates! (Only accessible for people with an
accreditation to the conference).

Monday evening 19 May: Action to return the looted seeds back to farmers
in the South. In the city centre of Bonn.

Friday 23 May: Action against bio-piracy in front of the conference hall.
In favour of free accessible knowledge.

28-30 May: Ministers and heads of states will be flown in for the last
three days of the top. This is the period during which most important
decisions will be taken. Also the moment to bring possibly dangerous and
anti-social developments under the attention of the media and the general
public. More information will follow later and flexibility will be

>From 12 till 16 May the alternative NGO congress Planet Diversity will
take place. More on this can be found at:

Sleeping places and food:
In and about Bonn several places are arranged to spend the night. Although
it will be a bit of a puzzle. From Friday evening 16 May till Tuesday
morning 20 May some people can put up a tent next to the farm Gut Ostler,
next to Bonn. This will be the place where the international delegation of
Via Campesina will reside as well. As most people will be expected to come
to this weekend, some people can also be accommodated in some houses in
Bonn and Koln. During the days before the action weekend it will probably
not be any problem to roll out a mattress at a media activist’s house in

Information point:
For all updates on activities, sleeping places and follow up on the
political games being played inside the conference, you can visit the
information point. This is situated in the Oscar Romero-house, Heerstrasse
205. You can reach this house by walking on the right side of track from
Bonn Central Station, 800 meters to the North. Check:
Preceding and during the Biodiversity conference new announcements, action
reports and articles about current affairs at the conference will be
posted on: Here you an also publish reports, images
of actions and relevant articles yourself.

All this is the initiative of Aktionsnetzwerk globale Landwirtschaft, Via
Campesina, A SEED Europe, INKOTA, BUKO Kampagne gegen Biopiraterie,
Corporate Europe Observatory, Netzwerk freies Wissen, Bonner AK gegen
Gentechnologie and several active individuals. Don’t feel hold back to
join us. Come to Bonn.


The following is written by the UK Food Group:

This global food crisis has been a long time in the making. For more than
30 years hunger has been endemic among the poor, especially those living
in rural areas. Farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk have been
increasingly dispossessed of their livelihoods as well as their land,
grazing, fishing grounds and markets; grain stocks have been run down as
the globalisation agenda has been imposed by the wealthy.

Governments, including those in the global South, and intergovernmental
organisations must now recognize their part in implementing policies that
have undermined agricultural productivity and destroyed national food
security. The emergency today has its roots in the food crisis of the
1970s when some opportunistic OECD governments, pursuing neoliberal
policies, dismantled the international institutional architecture for food
and agriculture.

These governments and their institutions adopted short-term political
strategies that neglected food and agriculture and set the stage for the
current food emergency.

For the view of farmers, see the Press Release by Via Campesina, the
International Peasant Movement “Food crisis: we cannot gamble with food!”

While there are food riots and extreme hardship among the poor, corporate
players are profiting.
·Cargill, the major global grain trader announced increased profits for
the first quarter of this year of 86% (See Claire Melamed’s article;
·Speculators are betting on food price rises (See yesterday’s FT article
Speculators accumulate as risks rise for world's poor, by Tony Jackson
·International institutions are using this opportunity to press
globalisation on the poor – the very same pressures are behind the crisis
(See, for example, interview with Peter Mandelson 8 May ); and
·Offers of more of the same (proprietary) technical fixes are pouring out
thick and fast from the UN, world Bank, biotech industry and the new
philanthro-capitalists despite the warnings from the UN/World Bank IAASTD
report that a different approach is necessary (See Change in farming can
feed world )

There is an intense Civil Society process in Bonn for the next three weeks
(in parallel with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meetings on
Biosafety (MOP4) and Biodiversity (COP9)) that will express its concerns
and offer solutions at the FAO High Level Food Crisis Conference in Rome
(3-5 June). These will be followed up during the subsequent High Level
Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra (4 – 6 September), the MDG High Level
Event on 25 September in New York and at the FAO committee on world food
security in Rome in October.
Through the IPC for Food Sovereignty, the CBD Alliance, and the campaign
for More and Better aid to agriculture, the UK Food Group is indirectly or
directly involved in all these processes.
For the next 3 weeks, Patrick Mulvany will be in Bonn and then Rome for
the UN and civil society meetings. Updates will be available online
through the websites linked above and on

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