jueves, marzo 20, 2008

CSO letter to the IAASTD

Dear CSO friends:

This is a request for your organization's endorsement of the CSO letter below.

For the past 5 years, CSOs from around the world have been working to highlight our concerns regarding farmers' rights, food sovereingty, equity and ecology in the UN-led International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). The IAASTD is now approaching its very final moment: an intergovernmental plenary scheduled for 7-12 April in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The final reports that will be debated in Joburg are, for the most part, quite strong, emphasizing in particular the role of small-scale farmers and the need for equitable, agroecologically-based, local/Indigenous and participatory approaches to achieve change. The findings state clearly that business as usual cannot continue, and that the negative impacts of inequitable trade agreements and of conventional industrial agriculture can no longer be tolerated.

For this reason, Monsanto and Syngenta have withdrawn publicly in protest from the IAASTD, complaining that their voice was excluded and their products under-valued (see media reports in Nature, The Guardian and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment- see links in attached document.) Meanwhile, the US, Canada, Australia and the World Bank have blasted the IAASTD findings, and are preparing to gut the summary documents in Joburg.

CSOs active in the IAASTD have drafted the following letter to IAASTD Director Bob Watson, urging him to defend the IAASTD as vigorously as he has once defended the Intergov Panel on Climate Change when he chaired that process many years ago.

Please let us know by SUNDAY 16 MARCH if you would like to sign the letter.

1) PLEASE REPLY TO Marcia (mie@panna.org) by SUNDAY, 16 MARCH with your name, organization and country.

2) Please indicate if you are signing for your organization (preferred) or as an individual. (If as an individual, we will note that your organization's name is given "for purposes of identification only")

3) Please copy to Jan van Aken of Greenpeace (jan.vanaken@int.greenpeace.org ), Erika Rosenthal (erosenthal@igc.org) and Phana Nakkharach (phana@panna.org).

4) Please circulate to your partners and through your networks.

Thanks and best wishes,
Marcia and Erika



Dear Mr. Watson,
We congratulate you on your succeess in ushering the IAASTD from its earliest inception in 2001 to the final plenary, scheduled to take place from 7-12 April in Johannesburg, South Africa. We have been closely watching the process and are impressed with the ambition and scope of this Assessment. Unlike more narrowly framed reviews, the IAASTD has boldly and rightly tackled the complex interrelated issues of rural poverty, hunger, food and livelihood security, environment and social equity, and has been able to accomplish this by drawing on the expert knowledge of a truly international and interdisciplinary team. We forward to helping to publicize the important findings and options generated by this precedent setting process.
We have several concerns and questions we'd like to raise with you.
1) As Director of the IAASTD, are you committed to defending the IAASTD reports at the final plenary and doing your utmost, as you did so effectively as chair of the IPCC, to achieve consensus in support of the findings and options presented in the global and regional Summaries for Decision Makers and the Synthesis Report?
2) In instances where agreement is not obtained in plenary, will you follow standard procedure and establish "contact groups" of concerned parties, who will be charged with working together to produce agreed-on text?
3) Are you committed to supporting this precedent-setting process and defending the integrity of the process?
4) Will you confirm that CSOs participating in the final plenary will be recognized and given equal voice alongside government delegates in the plenary discussions, as per your previously stated commitment?
5) Will you further ensure that the facilitators of the sub-global plenaries to approve the Sub-Global Assessments likewise give equal voice to CSOs and government delegates in discussions?
6) We are concerned by reports that journalists are not to be allowed to observe the plenary discussions, which if true, sets the IAASTD apart from the IPCC and all other intergovernmental plenaries. Transparency and an open inclusive process has been the hallmark of the IAASTD, and we strongly suggest that the media be allowed and encouraged to attend.
We are looking forward to receiving detailed communications next month from our colleagues in Johannesburg as the plenary discussions take place, and we hope to receive news of the approval and acceptance of these important documents.
We also look forward to working with you after the plenary to help advance the innovative options put forth by the IAASTD, and to ensure that the world community acts decisively to address the challenges of agriculture, poverty and hunger at their root, in this time of mounting global environmental crises.
[list of CSOs]
below an initial list of endorsements received in the first 12 hours after the letter was distributed yesterday. . .
AGENDA (Tanzania)
The DF Foundation (Indonesia)
ETC Group (Canada)
Food Systems Integrity (USA)
The FIELD Foundation, Indonesia
GREEN Foundation (India)
Greenpeace International (Netherlands)
Munlochy Vigil (Scotland)
Oakland Institute (USA)
Pesticide Action Network North America (USA)
Third World Network (Malaysia)
World Society for the Protection of Animals (UK)