La Via Campesina denounces corporate influence in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Canada

Harare, 29 June: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will hold meetings of the XXII Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) in Montreal July 2-7, 2018 to prepare for the main decisions to be made at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parts on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt at the end of November – decisions of utmost importance for the future of peasants and, more broadly, all of humanity and the planet.

In the context of this year’s SBSTTA, La Via Campesina demand that the governments reject:

– The release of invisible and unidentified genetically modified living organisms resulting from the so-called new genetic engineering techniques and designed to completely eliminate certain animal and plant species (“gene drives”)

– The modification of international rules and regulations that permit States, the right to reject genetically-modified plants and animals, forcing them instead to accept new genetic engineering techniques

– The allowance of free and unlimited access by a few transitional corporations to the genetic sequences of living organisms. The pretext of computerized dematerialization of these sequences gives them the ability to patent all seeds, all farm animals, all medicines, and all other industrialized products derived from natural biodiversity

La Via Campesina will be present in Montreal to oppose the transnational corporations and the policies that support their attempts to change the international conventions of the United Nations to plunder and destroy rather than protect all of the earth’s freely existing biodiversity and replacing it with synthetic organisms designed in their laboratories.

Peasants, Indigenous Peoples, pastoralists and fisherfolk live and work daily within biological diversity. We understand that human beings are part of this diversity and that it must be respected and protected as our lives, our food, and our future generations depend on it. Protecting peasants’ and Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, as well as our rights to the sustainable use of biodiversity, is at the heart of our struggle against privatization and destruction.

Defending true biodiversity and the nature that feeds and supports us is an element of Food Sovereignty. Food Sovereignty advocates for the rights of peoples rather than corporations to determine the advance and applicability of any and all technology introduced into the natural world. It preserves the rights of citizens and food producers as integral to any decisions about the future and resilience of the worlds’s food system.