AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org
* Biotech Rally Into 'Bio-fizzle'
* U.S. Congress Support Biotech Crops
* Truth Squad' Separates Fact from Fiction
* Biotech Is Delivering ... and This Is Only the Beginning
* Proceedings of the Symposium on 'The Biosafety of GMOs
* Feeding Genetically Modified Crops to Livestock - Reference List
* Tree Biotechnology in the Next Millennium
* Integrity Of Organic Food Under Threat
* China Policy on Agriculture - Vision Document
* Show Me The Mone : Anti-biotech NGOs in Asia
Biotech Rally Into 'Bio-fizzle'
June 24, 2001 San Diego -- The following statement by Gene Grabowski,
spokesperson for the Grocery Manufacturers of America -- a founding
member of the Alliance for Better Foods -- was issued today following
unofficial reports that fewer than 500 protesters demonstrated against
biotechnology in San Diego. "The low turnout for today's demonstration
is further confirmation that American consumers are confident in the
U.S. regulatory agencies and trust the science that is behind the
responsible development of agricultural biotechnology. The lack of
turnout further confirms the evidence gathered by GMA member companies
over the past 18 months. These companies have been monitoring calls to
800 numbers placed on product labels and Web sites. Less than one
percent of the calls to these numbers have expressed opposition to
biotechnology. In addition, Alliance tracking research over the past
two years has shown that biotechnology is not an issue of concern for
"Today's 'Bio-Fizzle' demonstration is a reflection of the fact that
as America continues to learn more about safety and environmental
benefits of agricultural biotechnology, consumers are basing their
views on confidence in sound science and regulation and will not be
persuaded by street theater and junk science." SOURCE The Alliance for
Bi-Partisan Members of U.S. Congress Support Biotech Crops
June 20, 2001; Full Text Of Bills 107th Congress, 1st Session In The
House Of Representatives As Introduced In The House H. Res. 173 2001
H. Res. 173; 107 H. Res. 173;
Synopsis: A resolution expressing the sense of the House of
the benefits of biotechnology.
Date Of Introduction: Ju ne 20, 2001
Sponsor(S): Sponsor and Cosponsors as of 06/21/2001
ISSA, DARRELL E (R-CA) - Sponsor BLAGOJEVICH, ROD R (D-IL)- Cosponsor
CLAYTON, EVA MCPHERSON (D-NC)- Cosponsor CUNNINGHAM, RANDY (DUKE)
(R-CA)- Cosponsor DOOLEY, CALVIN M (D-CA)- Cosponsor EHRLICH, ROBERT
LEROY JR (R-MD)- Cosponsor HUNTER, DUNCAN (R-CA)- Cosponsor JONES,
WALTER BEAMAN JR (R-NC)- Cosponsor OSE, DOUG (R-CA)- Cosponsor OXLEY,
MICHAEL G (R-OH)- Cosponsor RILEY, BOB (R-AL)- Cosponsor RUSH, BOBBY
LEE (D-IL)- Cosponsor SCHIFF, ADAM (D-CA)- Cosponsor SIMPSON, MICHAEL
K (R-ID)- Cosponsor SMITH, NICK (R-MI)- Cosponsor TOOMEY, PATRICK J
(R-PA)- Cosponsor WELLER, GERALD (R-IL)- Cosponsor TEXT: HRES 173 IH
107th CONGRESS 1st Session H. RES. 173 Expressing the sense of the
House of Representatives regarding the benefits of biotechnology.
In The House Of Representatives
Mr. Issa (for himself, Mr. Weller, Mr. Smith of Michigan, Mr. Ehrlich,
Mr. Dooley of California, Mr. Rush, Mr. Simpson, Mrs. Clayton, Mr.
Blagojevich, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Toomey, Mr. Riley, Mr. Cunningham, Mr.
Oxley, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Jones of North Carolina, and Mr. Ose) submitted the
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Science
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the
benefits of biotechnology.
- Whereas biotechnology is increasingly important to the research and
development of medical, agricultural, industrial, and environmental
- Whereas public awareness, education, and understanding of
biotechnology are essential to the responsible application of this
- Whereas biotechnology is central to research for cures to diseases
such as cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, diseases of
the heart and lungs, Alzheimer's disease, acquired immune deficiency
syndrome (commonly known as AIDS), and innumerable other medical ailments;
- Whereas biotechnology contributes to crop yields and farm
productivity and enhances the quality, value, and suitability of crops
for food and other uses that are critical to the agriculture of the
- Whereas biotechnology promises environmental benefits including
protection of water quality, conservation of topsoil, improvement of
waste management techniques, reduction of chemical pesticide usage,
production of renewable energy, and cleaner manufacturing processes;
- Whereas biotechnology contributes to the success of the United
States as the global leader in research and development and
international commerce; and Whereas biotechnology will be an important
catalyst for creating more high-skill jobs throughout the 21st century
and will lead the way in reinvigorating rural economies: Now,
therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of
Representatives that biotechnology has been responsible for
breakthroughs and achievements that have benefited people for
centuries and has contributed to increasing the quality of life for
the people of the United States
Truth Squad' Separates Fact from Fiction; Heralds Benefits of Biotech
Farmers and Industry Set Record Straight on Biotech Foods
SAN DIEGO, June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The following press release was
issued today by The Alliance for Better Foods:
Declaring "America's consumers deserve to hear the truth about
agricultural biotechnology and its environmental and economic
benefits," food industry spokesperson Gene Grabowski opened a panel
discussion of biotech foods with a diverse group representing the
agriculture, health and the biotechnology industries at the
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual conference.
"We're here to serve as a truth squad," said Grabowski, Vice President
of Communications for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), the
world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product
companies. "Agricultural biotechnology brings real and tangible
results to consumers, farmers and the environment."
Grabowski said the "Truth Squad" was formed to counter the
misinformation campaign of anti-biotech demonstrators assembled in San
Diego. The "Truth Squad" includes San Diego County citrus farmer Al
Stehly, Iowa soybean and corn farmer Reg Clause, registered dietician
Karen Kafer and Dr. Michael J. Phillips, executive director of food
and agriculture at BIO.
"As a farmer growing biotech corn and soybeans I can attest first hand
to two very important reasons why America and the developing world
needs biotech crops," Clause said. "I use less pesticides on my crops
and I am getting more food out of my fields. If I had any doubts
about the safety of these crops, I wouldn't grow them and I wouldn't
let my family work in the fields with them."
In addition, biotech crops enable farmers to plow less, which means
less soil erosion and less runoff into rivers and streams. And by
improving the productivity on existing farmland, biotech crops help in
the preservation of natural wildlife areas.
"I'm excited about the potential benefits biotechnology can bring to
citrus and grape farming," said San Diego County farmer Al Stehly.
"The grape industry in Anaheim was entirely wiped out by Pierce's
disease and San Diego County has been dramatically impacted as well.
There is no cure, but biotech researchers have made discoveries that
make us optimistic that the rest of California, including Napa Valley,
might never experience this devastating disease."
"Foods made from biotechnology crops are safe and every bit as
nutritious as conventional and organic foods," said registered
dietician Karen Kafer regarding the regulation of biotech foods. "The
current system we have, which allows voluntary labeling of products
made from biotechnology crops, is working and guarantees consumers
safe and nutritious foods."
"The science behind the safety of these crops is sound and
irrefutable," said Dr. Phillips. "Biotech crops are among the most
tested products in the world and have been used in our food products
for the last six to seven years and there have been no reported
illnesses as a result of eating any of these food products."
Biotech Is Delivering ... and This Is Only the Beginning
New Book From Burrill & Company Shows Just How Much Biotech Is
Lives and Changing Our Future
SAN FRANCISCO, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite capital market
volatility, biotech is booming. According to Burrill & Company's new
annual report on the life sciences industry, Biotech 2001: Life
Sciences-Genomics, Proteomics ... and More. "The biotech sector, now
over 25 years old, is stronger and prospering as never before ... and
we are now witnessing a renewal of investor enthusiasm both in the
U.S. and in Europe," says Biotech 2001 author G. Steven Burrill, CEO
of Burrill & Company, a San Francisco-based private merchant bank
focused exclusively on life sciences. "And why not? During the year
2000 alone, we saw the completion of the sequencing of the human
genome, the rice genome, and the Arabidopsis genome, beginning the
transformation of drug discovery and development (at one end of the
spectrum), and significant progress towards making personalized
medicine a reality (at the other)," Burrill notes.
"The industry is making enormous strides in finding ways to turn
livestock and plants into efficient and efficacious factories for
pharmaceutical compounds," explains Burrill. "Whole new market
segments gained strength-diagnostics, informatics, surgical
biomaterials and functional genomics. We are in the age of 'omics,'"
adds Burrill. "2000 was the year of genomics and 2001 already is the
year of proteomics. Next up: studying cells (cellomics) and metabolism
All of this potential was reflected in the capital markets. "During
2000, we raised more money ($32 billion), created more new companies,
struck more new partnerships, formed more new collaborations, inked
more high-value deals, and developed more new products than ever
before," says Burrill.
"We are deep into the industry's globalization with constraints of
geography all but disappearing," notes Burrill. "The biotechnology
industry is growing substantially in the European Union with the
investment environment morphing into one that embraces, rather than
rejects, entrepreneurship. Biotech is gaining momentum all over the
world and the life scientist is becoming an ultra valuable commodity."
What's ahead? Burrill believes that there is reason to be optimistic,
but with a measure of caution. He predicts that the rebound we are
observing in today's capital market will continue and that we will see
the return of specialty IPOs. According to Burrill, the second half of
2001 will be a much better period than was the first half of the year
for financing both at the public level and the private level. He
notes, "We'll see more private investment in public entities (PIPE's)
- if values continue to be low on the public side-more creative
private financing, and the reopening of the public equity markets."
"Our forecast is that the industry will raise about $15 billion
dollars before the year 2001 ends," states Burrill. "Reports of
increasing sales and lowered losses coming from companies such as
Abgenix, Biogen, Celera, Incyte, and Genzyme General are exciting
investors. What's more, Cephalon and Genzyme recently raised more than
$1 billion in financing, signaling a return of investor interest back
into the biotech sector. And," notes Burrill, "the biotechnology
indices have been outperforming the Dow and Nasdaq for 18 months."
"We'll see more M&A activity too," adds Burrill. "Companies such as
HGS, Celera, Incyte, and Millennium are well endowed and looking to
fill technological and product pipeline holes. There will be more
consolidation within biotech as the winners increase their capability,
clout, and value."
One of the strongest elements to the Biotech 2001 report is its scope.
Burrill not only examines biotech's impact on healthcare, but also on
agriculture and animal health, nutraceuticals, diagnostics, and
biomaterials and bioprocesses. In addition to providing an overview of
the latest developments and trends in the life sciences, Biotech 2001
-- Industry financials, including 15 months of company financial data
and market caps
-- Industry highlights including: new product launches, advances in
technology, scientific breakthroughs, regulatory challenges, business
models, strategic partnering activity, M&A, finance and capital markets
-- In-depth commentary on the regulatory and government scene, both in
the U.S. and the rest of the world
-- 250+ pages of analysis, data, and graphs
To order a copy of Biotech 2001: Life Sciences-Genomics, Proteomics
... and More, visit the Burrill & Company web site at
www.burrillandco.com to download an order form, or call Mike San Pedro
at Burrill & Company at 415-591-5415.
The Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on 'The Biosafety
of Genetically Modified Organisms" can be viewed at
The book is available from U-Learn Centre for a cost of $50.00 plus
S&H. Please contact : U-Learn University of Saskatchewan Room 125, 117
Science Place Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5C8 Ph: (306)966-5565, fax:
(306) 966-5567 or e-mail: email@example.com
Feeding Genetically Modified Crops to Livestock
- Reference List
(Thanks to Alan McHughen for pointing this
very useful list)
Tree Biotechnology in the Next Millennium
July 22-27, 2001 ; Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington, Columbia
River Gorge, Pacific Northwest United States
The goal of the meetings of the IUFRO Unit on Molecular Biology of
Forest Trees is to share the results of studies on the molecular
function, diversity, and modification of forest trees. The genetic
composition and function of forest trees is critical to the health and
productivity of forests. The methods of molecular biology provide
powerful tools for furthering knowledge, conservation, management, and
breeding. An open, global exchange of scientific information, and
discussion of the goals, ethics, and consequences of genetic
modifications to forests that are informed by sound science, are key
responsibilities of this community of scholars.
Conveners : Steve Strauss (Oregon State University) and H.D. (?Toby?)
Bradshaw (University of Washington)
Integrity Of Organic Food Under Threat, Says Just-food.Com
June 21, 2001 http://www.just-food.com
LONDON-With food safety concern at an all time high, the market for
organic food is booming. But is this explosion of demand diluting
standards and threatening the integrity of the organic system, asks
just-food.com managing editor Catherine Sleep, in an editorial
published at: http://www.just-food.com/editorial_detail.asp?id)
Researchers for last week's BBC Money Programme in the UK unearthed
manifold threats to the organic system. One, which threatens to
undermine consumer confidence in organic food, is the divergence of
standards between different certification bodies. The programme showed
one organic poultry farm in Nottinghamshire which keeps 6000 chickens
in a single shed, corresponding to nine chickens per square metre. The
farmer trims these chickens' beaks to stop them fighting -- a practice
banned by Britain's leading organic inspection body, the Soil
Association, but permitted by rival certification body Organic Farmers
The disparity between organic standards in different EU Member States
is a further cause of concern. Around 75% of the organic food consumed
by British consumers is imported, and standards overseas are sometimes
less exacting than in the UK. Consumers are generally ignorant of any
discrepancies, believing that organic food has all been produced to
the same standards. A further threat comes from blatant criminality,
as the premium prices payable for organic food have incited
unscrupulous traders to commit fraud. Fraud, conflicting standards and
commercial pressures are taking their toll on a fledgling industry in
which integrity is paramount -- and under threat. Read the full
article at: http://www.just-food.com/editorial_detail.asp?id)
just-food.com is the premier online portal for food industry
professionals worldwide. Targeted specifically at industry and
business professionals the site provides a single point of reference
for independent food industry information.
China Policy on Agriculture - Vision Document
'China National Guidelines for Agricultural Science and Technology
(I thank my student Ms. Guoqing Gao for translating this document from
Chinese for Agbioview...CSP)
Our agriculture has made progress during past 20 years. Agricultural
products got historical change from shortage to meet requirement.
Agriculture and countryside economic development has stepped in new
era. To adjust agricultural composition, enhance agricultural
efficiency, increase farmer income, improve countryside ecological
environment, and achieve agriculture and countryside economic
development need new revolution of agricultural science and technology.
I. Speed up new revolution of agricultural science and technology to
complete the span from traditional to modern agriculture.
1. Agricultural development depends on progress and creation of
science and technology. Economy continues developing in the world.
Many countries speeded up progress and creation of science and
technology by increasing investment, renovate management system, and
organize important scientific and technological activities.
Biotechnology has obtained important broken-through and is being
industrialized. Many high and new technologies have been applied in
2. Chinese agriculture has more needs on science and technology
currently. We plan to enhance overall quality and efficiency of
agriculture by breeding special, new, and highly qualified varieties,
developing livestock, aquaculture and agricultural product processing;
reduce agricultural cost by increasing the efficiency of using
resource. As increase in population, the requirement for grain
increases. We must enhance field production rate to secure grain
production. Meanwhile, it also lays on science and technology to
protect environment and keep agricultural continual development.
3. To complete the span of agricultural development must enhance
science technology evolution. Must switch traditional agriculture to
modern agriculture to reduce our distance to the developed countries.
II. The policies, principles, goals and tasks for the development
of agriculture science and technology.
4. Policies: carry new revolution of agricultural science and
technology, achieve leaping-over of technology, accelerate change from
quantity to quality, and speed up agricultural modernization.
5. Principles: Form a governmentally guided and pluralized new system
encouraging the creation in agricultural science and technology by
both improving our own creative abilities and calling in foreign
advanced agricultural technology and experience.
6.Goals: Establish new agriculture science and technology system.
During next 10 years, improve the structure of agriculture and
countryside economy, enhance agriculture efficiency, increase farmers?
income, and improve agricultural ecology and environment.
7. Tasks: provide technology guarantee for increasing yield
especially grain yield; offer technology support for adjusting
agriculture and countryside economic structure, enhancing agriculture
whole efficiency, and increasing farmers? income; provide necessary
technology serves for constructing ecology and environment; and
provide technology bases for enhancing the ability of our agricultur
(point 8and 9 were omitted)
III. The priorities of agricultural science and technology during the
fifteenth five-year plan
Work will be concentrated on the adjustment of agricultural economy
structure, the enhancement of agricultural efficiency, the improvement
of ecosystem and the enhancement of international competition ability,
by implementing ?Ten Science and technology Actions?:
10. New crop cultivate developing action, to optimize the cropping system.
*Strengthen the development of new crop varieties with high quality as
well as high yield and the employment of breeding techniques including
conventional and high technological methods,
*Seed propagation system and seed producing industrialization.
11. Animal husbandry and aquatic production Action, to speed up the
progress of it industrialization and standardization.
*he development of new breeds of animals,
*Disease prevention technologies,
* New fodder resource exploitation and its processing equipment,
12. Agricultural production processing Action to form a new growth
point for countryside economy.
*Technologies and strategies involved in food processing, storage,
transportation and marketing.
*Food material production and supplying system
13. Water-saving Agricultural Action to increase the water use
*To allocate the water resource in a scientific way,
*Water-saving irrigation technology and facility,
*Dry land cropping strategy: zero plough, melching, drought-adaptable
crops and varieties, rainfall collection, fertilizer utilization.
14. Agricultural ecosystem construction Action, to increase the
possibility of sustainable development in agriculture.
*Natural forest protection and recovering, biodiversity protection and
*New forest species development, forest production processing,
*The re-utilization of crop straw.
15. Sand disaster control Action, to retard the deterioration of the
environment in serious region.
%New plant species for sandy area, artificial meadow.
16. Agricultural high-tech research and industrialization Action, to
stimulate the innovation of conventional agriculture.
*Develop new plant and animal varieties by molecular cloning and gene
*Safety evaluation of GMO,
*Agricultural information research and service
*Agricultural industrialization and modernization .
17. Regional agricultural development Action, to develop regional
advantageous industries and specialized agriculture
*Agricultural development strategy in Western China: improving the
ecosystem, increasing the water use efficiency, controlling the soil
erosion, managing the sand pollution, and reforesting.
*In the backward area: alleviating the poverty, increasing the
standard of life, increasing the quality of the farmers, and forming a
self-supported development way.
*In center part of China: increasing the production of food grain,
cotton, oil crops, poultry and largely improve their qualities
according the market demand; managing the low producing salty and acid
soil to enhance the land use efficiency.
*In eastern part: high-tech, industrialized and export-oriented
18. Basic research Action, to be well prepared for future development.
* Implementations of a series of national and provincial basic
*Constructions of advanced labs(about 25) involved in agricultural
*Establishment of scientific garden (about 50)
19.Personnel training Action, to bring up groups of qualified
agricultural scientists technicians, extensionists, management
officials, and farmers.
IV.Establishment of the new system of agriculture technology innovation
20. The purpose of new system of agriculture technology innovation is
to promote organic combination of agriculture technology with
production, to bring into full play of the market mechanism, to raise
the activity of the labor forces which include technicians,
enterprisers and farmers. The main contents of the new system are as
follow: System of agriculture technology research and development with
international advanced level. System of agriculture technology
extension and service with the incorporation of specialists and
farmers technical organizations. System of agriculture technology
administration with high efficiency, as well as the system of powerful
agriculture technology support.
21.Agriculture technology research organizations which fall into 3
classes according to their features take different patterns of
The first class which with the power facing to market should be
turned into technology enterprises or merged in enterprises. The
second class which with the function of service should be changed to
enterprise or practice enterprise administration. The third class
which mainly engage in foundation research and public welfare should
function and administrate with no profit. Some of it which with the
power facing to market should be departed from the original
22. To establish a new system of agriculture technology extension with
the characteristics that national support combines with market
guidance ,profitable service joins with unprofitable service , system
of agriculture technology should be reformed. It must be resolved that
some people in charge of technical extension are unqualified and the
technical force in the front line of agriculture production is weak.
23. Enhance the ability of technical innovation of agriculture
enterprises. Enterprises are supported and encouraged to take part in
all kinds of agriculture technology work, and engage in technical
task and the work of technical results transformation arranged by
24. Estalish the working mechanism of open , flow ,competition and
cooperation. On the base of increasing agriculture technology total
funds, reform the use methods of funds to practice subject system,
reform the administration system of technology research organizations
to practice the resolution system of the director board, the
consulting system of the science and technology commission, and the
supervision system of the workers congress. On the aspect of
personnel, practice appointment system which are open to the public .
Reform distribution methods to practice the methods that salary
depends on position and reward depends on achievement. Technical
workers are permitted to hold concurrent jobs to develop their special
V. Establishment of the powerful supply system of agriculture technology.
A new input system of agriculture technology is to be establish,
within which government input is the major body and social input is
Government input should be increased largely .The increasing speed of
input on agriculture technology put by national and local governments
annually should be higher than that of their finance income.
25.A proper proportion in the budget of great engineering projects
involve agriculture should be assigned to agriculture technology.
Enterprises and other social organization are encouraged to increase
input on agriculture technology. Enterprises should spend its incomes
in proper proportion in the work of research and development.
Agriculture technology funds donated by enterprises and individuals
are permitted to establish in the name of enterprise or individual.
26,Widen the domain of international cooperation on agriculture
technology, protect agriculture right. Introduction work of
agriculture technology must be planned scientifically, and stress
should be laid on digest and absorption. Promote the international
intercourse of academic and personnel
27, Government must think highly of the agriculture technology work.
Policies and laws must be made and improved ,and supervision system
must be establish in order to supply the input on agriculture
technology ,to make good conditions for the invention of agriculture
Show Me The Money: Anti-biotech NGOs in Asia
- by Don D'Cruz , NGO Watch
(Portions of this study relating to anti-biotech activities in the
Philippines have already been released under the title ?Attack of the
In San Diego, leading players in the field of biotechnology have
gathered from all round the world at industry?s main convention
BIO2001, to meet and discuss the latest developments in an area with a
virtual limitless capacity to benefit mankind. Gathered outside
protesting will be'the usual suspects'of anti-biotech western
activists and groups who oppose biotechnology in what is rapidly
becoming something of a clichÚ.
In the midst of these protesters will be a few non-government
organisations (NGOs) and activists from the developing world. Though
not large in numbers, their presence is important because it will
convey to the media present that the anti-biotech campaign is a global
movement and not just the invention of a few a middle class western
activists. But is it? Is this a movement, or has this evolved into
an'industry?? Is has often been said that biotechnology will feed a
hungry world. That may very well be the case in the future. But at the
moment, biotechnology is only feeding hungry activists. As this paper
shows, opposing biotechnology is not so much of a cause these days, as
it is an occupation. And anti-biotech NGOs have begun to resemble an
industry more than a movement.
As the Philippines, Malaysian and Indonesian case studies here amply
illustrates, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being assaulted
by a sophisticated, well-resourced and co-ordinated campaign conducted
by a small clique of highly-networked, media-savvy, professional
activists funded by foreign money. The campaign against biotechnology
in Asia is not a spontaneous grassroots movement, but a carefully
planned and orchestrated effort.
This analysis will, illustrate some of the strategies, tactics,
international and domestic networks, linkages, key personnel and
funding sources of the anti-biotech campaign in parts of Asia. The
activists'ability to obtain foreign funding helps to show why
Third-World NGOs have so aggressively sought to stop any research
into, let alone any eventual introduction of, GMOs. Because just as
multinationals have a financial motive for developing biotechnology,
so too have the activists in opposing it.
While many of these activists may very well be totally committed and
prepared to fight against biotechnology for nothing, the indisputable
fact is that there are not. They are being generously compensated for
their time and money, and opposing biotechnology is every part a job
(one they may feel passionately about), just as it is for the
scientists who are working to find solutions to the world?s great
problems like hunger and environmental degradation.
The source of this funding from abroad also raises some fairly
interesting questions. For much of Asian history, the desire to resist
various forms of European colonialism and imperialism has been a
recurrent theme. The question that must be posed here, which has been
first posed by respected scholar Deepak Lal, is whether we are
witnessing the emergence of a new form imperialism? Not corporate
imperialism, or even American imperialism but the ecological or
eco-imperialism of western environmentalists as propagated by their
Asian proxies? And whether western environmentalists are the new
Put simply, biotechnology is simply too important to be used as a
fundraising tool for NGOs. The people of Asia deserve better than
this. For that matter, humanity deserves better than this given
biotechnology?s enormous potential to do good.
The Malaysian experience
Despite strong governmental support for the introduction of
biotechnology, NGOs in Malaysia have sought to stymie the introduction
of GMOs, just as their counterparts in the Philippines have done. The
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir has been an especially enthusiastic
supporter of biotechnology given its potential to Malaysia. Three
NGOs: the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP), Third World Network
(TWN) and Pesticide Action Network, all based in Penang, have played a
prominent role in thwarting this ambition in Malaysia. In fact, the
Third World Network will be outside of the BIO2001 conference in San
Diego with all the other anti-biotech NGOs.
Third World Network (TWN)
Formed in 1984, the Third World Network has as its stated
objectives:'to conduct research on economic, social and environmental
issues pertaining to the South; to publish books and magazines; to
organize and participate in seminars; and to provide a platform
representing broadly Southern interests and perspectives at
international fora such as the UN conferences and processes.' It has
consultative status with the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) and UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as being
accredited with the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
As well as the Penang headquarters, the Third World Network?s
international secretariat has offices in Geneva; London; Delhi
(India); Montevideo (Uruguay); and Accra (Ghana). The network also has
affiliated organisations in several other developing-world countries,
including India, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh, Peru,
Ethiopia, Mexico, South Africa and Senegal. Its website is:
http://www.twnside.org.sg/ On biotechnology, the Third World Network
has been arguably the most aggressive NGO in Malaysia. Its efforts
have largely focused on feeding the media the usual diet of stories on
dead butterflies and exaggerated scenarios generated overseas.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
The Consumer Association of Penang is another key anti-biotech player
in Malaysia. Founded in 1969 by Anwar Fazal, a current board member of
the Pesticide Action Network ? Asia Pacific and member of the advisory
council of RAFI, it is therefore one of Malaysia?s oldest NGOs.
Both the CAP and the TWN share office space, but that is not all they
have in common. They share key personnel, such as Mohammed Idris, who
is the President of the Consumers Association of Penang and is also
the Coordinator of the Third World Network. Idris also serves as the
President of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia).
Another member of this'team'is Martin Khor, who as Director of the
Third World Network is one of the most-travelled activists in the
world. Aside from his duties in these two Malaysian NGOs, Khor sits on
the on the advisory panel of the board of the International Forum on
Globalisation(IFG). That board contains some very prominent
anti-globalisation activists, who invariably seemed to be opposed to
biotechnology as well. Among them are: Vandana Shiva (Research
Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology); Andrew Kimbrell
(Center for Food Safety/Turning Point Project/International Center for
Technology Assessment); and Jerry Mander (Turning Point Project/
Foundation for Deep Ecology). This connection helps explain why Khor?s
organisations are the only ones in Asia ? except for Vandana Shiva?s ?
to receive funding from the Foundation for Deep Ecology in Asia. (For
a fascinating overview of the overlap of various activists, refer to:
Together, the CAP and the TWN have operated a sophisticated strategy,
aimed at securing positions within key government committees which
have the responsibility of drafting key pieces of legislation that
relate to GMOs.
They have been successful in getting an NGO representative on the
Genetic Modification Advisory Committee (GMAC) of the Malaysian
Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). No industry representative
is allowed to have a role in GMAC. NGOs successfully lobbied to have
the Malaysian Government sign the Biosafety or Cartegna Protocols,
which will have a disastrous effect on the free trade of GMOs. What?s
more, the first draft of the Biosafety Bill was actually drafted by a
subcommittee of GMAC under NGO leadership.
In their anti-biotech campaigning, the TWN and the CAP conduct
something of a'tag team'operation on biotechnology. The TWN
disseminates the scare stories about the GMOs (usually straight off
the internet from overseas); while the CAP positions itself as the
champion of consumer interests (no information on CAP?s membership
numbers is available), and argues for strict labelling of GMOs. These
differing public stances might have some credibility but for the fact
that the two ostensibly separate campaigns are being run by the same
people, out of the same offices and from the same funding sources.
They both receive substantial funding from the Foundation for Deep
Ecology. For instance, in the financial year ending in 1999, the TWN
received US$275,000 and the CAP received US$75,000. Furthermore, the
former donation was actually paid to the CAP'for support of the Third
World Network?! Malaysian anti-biotech NGOs were stung badly when
information about their funding from the Foundation for Deep Ecology
was released to the local Malaysian media and picked up by nearly all
outlets. The revelations led respected Malaysian columnist R.
Nadeswaran in The [Kuala Lumpur] Sun (18 March 2001) to observe:
?Much has been said and written by NGOs on the need for government to
be transparent, but when they themselves hide behind obscure laws to
conceal their income and expenditure, then the statements they make
should be treated with more than just a pinch of salt.'Both NGOs also
receive funding from the SSNC?s international project, just as SEARICE
and MASIPAG in the Philippines do. The SSNC?s website states:'The
SSNC and the CAP are involved in a project for the development of the
organisation?s environment and nature resources program as well as
strengthening local communities who are exposed to unsustainable
exploitation.' The nature of this funding is meant to provide
a'reliable counterbalance to the exploitational development.'
HIVOS of the Netherlands, mentioned above, has also provided support
to the CAP since October 1996.
Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP)
As well as aiding the CAP, HIVOS has provided support to the Pesticide
Action Network (Asia-Pacific), the third main anti-biotech NGO in
Malaysia, since February 1992. Headed by Executive Director Sarojeni
Rengam ? who in addition to her responsibilities with PAN, Rengam sits
on the board of Canadian NGO RAFI ? PAN?s Malaysian office is the
regional headquarters for the whole PAN network. PAN AP?s board
consists of representatives from heads of PAN?s operations in the
Philippines (Romeo Quijano, cited before) and Indonesia (Riza
Tjahjadi). Others on the board are Meriel Watts (Vice President, Soil
and Health Association), Kim Jai Ok (Secretary of the Consumer
Alliance for Citizen?s Protection-Korea), Daisy Dharmaraj (Executive
Director of PREPARE ? India) and Anwar Fazal, formerly of CAP and the
IOCU, who is listed as Co-ordinator of UNDP Asia 2000 Project. One
example of PAN AP?s anti-biotech labours within the region was the
'People?s Caravan' project, which it co-ordinated in November of last
year to run in countries such as India, Bangladesh and the
Philippines. This project arose out of PAN AP?s involvement in the
Asia Pacific Research Network.
The Asia Pacific Research Network describes itself as consisting of
'research NGOs in the region with the main purpose of exchanging
information on international issues, as well as experiences,
technologies, and methods in research.'It targets multinationals in a
particularly aggressive way. Its members include some prominent
anti-biotech NGOs in the region apart fron the ones already discussed:
the Policy Research for Development Alternative (UBINIG) ? Bangladesh;
Network for Safe and Secure Food and Environment (NESSFE) ? Japan;
KONPHALINDO (Indonesia); and the Consumer International Regional
Office - Asia and Pacific CI ROAP. More information is available at
As for the'People?s Caravan?, this travelling road show went to a
number of countries'to educate, excite and mobilise people'?
especially if these people were journalists, trade union groups,
policy makers, women?s groups, students, farmers and agricultural
workers. Themes of the program included the evils of pesticides and
GMOs, and the virtues of increased support for sustainable
agriculture, which is PAN AP shorthand for organic agriculture.
Another example of PAN AP?s recent activities was a conference on
genetically modified food, which it organised with the Consumer
International Regional Office Asia-Pacific in Malaysia. This regional
workshop on GMOs entitled 'Citizens Protecting Health and the
Environment' was attended by a number of Consumer International
members such as the Bangladeshi organisation UBINIG (mentioned
earlier); YKLI (Indonesia); and CACKP (South Korea). All these groups
are prominent in their opposition to GMOs. According to Consumers
International?s journal AP Consumer (June- September, 2000):'the
workshop led to a better understanding of the issues related to
genetic engineering and greater commitment from the participants to
network on campaign and advocacy on Genetically Modified Organisms?'
The Malaysian experience illustrates how just a handful of well-funded
NGOs with foreign money can wage a very successful campaign against
GMOs in a country which would benefit greatly from these
organisms'adoption. It further shows how, despite the desire of the
nation?s political leadership to reap the benefits of biotechnology,
such NGOs have been able not only to undermine public confidence in
GMOs, but severely hinder their development through the shrewd
marketing of legislation and international agreements.
Anti-biotech NGOs in Indonesia
A brief examination of Indonesia (a more detailed analysis of
Indonesia will be forthcoming) reveals a similar pattern to the one
prevailing in Malaysia and the Philippines. As in those countries, so
in Indonesia, GMOs'introduction has been frustrated by NGOs'determined
efforts. The principal Indonesian NGOs involved are the Indonesian
Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), KONPHALINDO (briefly alluded to
above), Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Iendonesia (YLKI) and the omnipresent
Pesticide Action Network Indonesia. Together, these NGOs operate under
the banner of the Coalition of NGOs for Biosafety and Food Safety, and
have taken an increasingly hard line against GMOs.
Anti-biotech NGOs have enjoyed a degree a success in their campaign
against biotechnology; one notable example of this being their
successful lobbying of the Indonesian Government to sign the Cartegna
Protocol. Like their Filipino and Malaysian counterparts, Indonesian
NGOs need foreign funding to wage a combined campaign against
biotechnology. Without foreign funding they would not function. The
problem of identifying foreign funding sources is as difficult in
Indonesia as it is anywhere else in the developing world. Not only are
there a great many NGOs in the country, but many of them receive
funding from larger umbrella NGOs, none of which disclose their
donations publicly. Occasionally, though, a source of funding does
reveal itself. Indonesian NGOs appear to benefit from the Ford
Foundation more than from any other group. This foundation provides
funding for KONPHALINDO and the ICEL, two of the most active
The leading anti-biotech NGO in Indonesia is arguably the Konsorsium
Nasional untuk Pelestarian Hutan dan Alam Indonesia, or the National
Consortium for Forest and Nature Conservation in Indonesia.
KONPHALINDO, to use its simplest and best known name, was established
in September 1991. The Jakarta-based NGO is headed by its Executive
Director Hira Jhamtani. Ostensibly, it consists of research groups in
areas such as forestry, energy, anthropology, agriculture and
biodiversity. But as well as this research function, KONPHALINDO
publishes research and conducts demonstration projects, workshops and
seminars. An example of this is a KONPHALINDO conference
(?Introduction to Alien Species to New Habitat and its Problems?) held
on GMOs with an organisation called Yayasan KEHATI
KEHATI, or the Indonesia Biodiversity Foundation is funded by a
generous endowment by USAID and is the product of an innovative new
programme of using debt-swaps to create endowments to provide a stable
and secure source of income for NGOs in developing countries by
developed countries such as Norway, the Netherlands, Canada,
Switzerland and the United States. KEHATI is'a grant-making and
facility-providing institution, rather than as an implementing
institution?. And operates in a capacity-building role for Indonesian NGOs
Much of KONPHALINDO?s anti-biotech information is disseminated through
its own publication Berita Bumi (Earth News) or the Indonesian journal
Kompas. The type of stories run about GMOs bear a striking similarity
to those in other countries and probably bare testimony to the speed
and effectiveness of the modern global communications. The Ford
Foundation was the only source of funding that could be found for
KONPHALINDO, though others most probably exist. Since 1996, the Ford
Foundation has given KONPHALINDO US$300,000. Another anti-biotech
player in Indonesia is the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law.
The Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) ? established in
1993 ? is headed by Mas Achmad Santosa. ICEL is based in Jakarta.
The ICEL is, according to its own description, a non-profit foundation
dedicated to preserving the environment through improving and
implementing environmental law. Its objectives are to: develop and
reform environmental law within Indonesia; contribute to the
improvement of regional and international environmental law; enhance
the capacity of public interest environmental lawyers; run
environmental court cases to support community groups defend their
environmental rights; and disseminate information on sustainable
development and the law in Indonesia.
ICEL has received funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation as well as the Ford Foundation. The former body donated
US$20,000 in 1996 and US$125,000 in 1998; the latter donated
US$114,000 in 1997 and US$150,000 in 1998. It is likely that more
recent grants have been made.
In addition, the ICEL is listed as a 'collaborating NGO' in the
USAID-sponsored Natural Resources Management (NRM) organisation: which
presumably means that the American taxpayer is providing it with
support, via USAID. The NRM Program commissioned the ICEL (August
1998) to undertake a study of Indonesian policy and law related to
protected area management. It is unclear whether ICEL is still
receiving any financial support from USAID. (http://www.nrm.or.id).
The third main anti-biotech NGO is YKLI, or Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen
Indonesia (Indonesian Foundation of Consumers). YKLI is based in
Jakarta and is a member of Consumers International
http://www.lsm.or.id/ylki/ Like its fellow Consumer International
affiliates, YKLI is a strong proponent of tough labelling laws for
GMOs. Moreover, it actively campaigns with other anti-biotech NGOs not
only to impose such labelling, but to stop GMOs'when possible.
When ones looks at the role of tax-empt US foundations and of USAID in
funding anti-biotech NGOs in Indonesia, one might even argue that
ultimately, it is the US taxpayer that it is underwriting the whole
campaign against biotechnology in that country. In Indonesia where
food is the main concern for much of the population, NGOs have been
highly successful in frustrating the introduction of a development
that could potentially benefit many Indonesians.
Following the money: the international network
While it is interesting to see which organisations are directly
funding particular anti-biotech NGOs in the developing world, such an
approach is not enough in and of itself. A more satisfactory result
can be obtained by taking the advice of Watergate?s famed' Deep
Throat?: in other words,'follow the money?, and seek to find out where
the support for these developing- world NGOs comes overall.
RAFI, cited previously, is a key node in the global anti-biotech
network. Its strength and importance lies in ability to research and
analyse technological information on biotechnology, and to disseminate
such information to its NGO network and the media. This Winnipeg-based
NGO is headed by Executive Director Pat Mooney. Mooney received
Pearson Pearce Peace Medal from the United Nations Association
(Canada) in 1998 for his work 'in recognising the dangers of
agricultural technology before the rest of the world.?
RAFI?s other chief asset, besides its technical expertise, is its
access to various key international fora where it has formally
accredited status. This is presumably one of the reasons why RAFI-USA
has chosen to work so closely with its Canadian sister organisation.
In fact the Canadian RAFI and RAFI-USA are part of the same
organisation, with staff working on common projects, but they retain
distinct entities in certain respects.
According to its website (http://www.rafi.org) :'RAFI is dedicated to
the conservation and sustainable improvement of agricultural
biodiversity, and to the socially responsible development of
technologies useful to rural societies. 'It mission statement says
that it works'in partnership with non-governmental organisations for
co-operative and sustainable self-reliance within rural societies,
through the provision of information on socio-economic and
technological trends and alternatives.?
Its annual reports indicate that RAFI gets its money from a great many
different sources: the Swedish International Development Cooperation
Agency (which partly funds the ubiquitous Swedish Society for Nature
Conservation?s International Projects); the Foundation for Deep
Ecology (which a large number of anti-biotech NGOs globally); HIVOS
(which funds a number of anti-biotech NGOs); the World Council of
Churches; the Canadian International Development Agency (International
NGO Division); the Moriah Fund; the Dutch Ministry of International
Co-operation (DGIS), another big global funder of NGOs; NORAGRIC; the
Percy Gardiner Foundation; the Right Livelihood Award Foundation; the
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute; the Sol Goldman
Charitable Trust; Inter-Church Action; the Educational Foundation of
America; the CS Fund; the CPRO-DLO Centre for Genetic Resources; Inter
Pares; and the HKH Foundation.
RAFI?s Board of Trustees and Advisory Council both reflect the
organisation?s linkages and networks. One of those linkages is with
the Dag Hammarskj÷ld Foundation in Sweden. RAFI has a long association
with that foundation, going back to the early 1980s. The RAFI website
lists Sven Hamrell, the Director of the Dag Hammarskj÷ld Foundation,
as President of the RAFI?s Board of Trustees and as Founding
President. Hamrell has since retired as the foundation?s director.
Olle Nordberg is the current RAFT director. Anwar Fazal, the founding
President of the International Organisation of Consumers Unions (IOCU)
and founder of the Consumers Association of Penang, is listed on
RAFI?s Advisory Council. Fazal is also on the board of Pesticide
Action Network Asia Pacific.
As well as funding RAFI, the Hammarskj÷ld Foundation also supplies
money for the Right Livelihood Awards. The Right Livelihood Foundation
(both the Dag Hammarskj÷ld Foundation and Right Livelihood Foundation
are contributors to RAFI) was founded by Swedish environmentalist and
member of the European Parliament, Jacob von Uexkull, 'to honour and
support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the crucial
problems facing the world. 'Uexkull is currently one of Friends of the
Earth International?s Council of Patrons. Friends of the Earth
International is one leading global anti-biotech NGOs.
Among the past winners of these awards have been a number of names
familiar from the foregoing pages in the present document: names such
as Vandana Shiva, Anwar Fazal and Mohammed Idris. Each winner receives
a share of 2,000,000 Swedish kronor (about US$200,000) with the other
three winners. The money is meant'to strengthen or expand their work,
[and] not for personal use.'Right Livelihood?s website is at
Von Uexkull is one of the international jury panel of 11. Others on
the jury include Sven Hamrell (see above); Monika Griefahn, founder of
Greenpeace Germany; Anuradha Mittal from the Food First/Institute for
Food and Development Policy; and Vithal Rajan from the Deccan
Development Society. Both the Deccan Development Society and the
Institute for Food and Development are heavily involved in the
In the anti-biotech sector, as in any other sector, awards are
extremely important. Besides giving activists 'causes a sense of
gravitas, they are valuable fundraising tools for attracting new
financial sponsors for their work.
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
Repeatedly in this paper?s earlier sections, the SSNC has appeared.
Among the anti-biotech NGOs mentioned in this paper, MASIPAG, SEARICE,
CAP and TWN all receive funding from the Swedish NGO. These projects
have been funded jointly with the Swedish International Development
Co-operation Agency (SIDA), which is the Swedish Government?s aid arm,
since 1990; and now they involve'some 40 organisations and focuses on
questions of biodiversity, consumer issues and information exchange
between the North and the South.'In 1998 and 1999, the Swedish Society
for Nature Conservation gave around US$1.2 million to NGOs in the
developing world through an international program, partly funded by SIDA.
According to its website, SSNC was formed back in 1909 by'an elite
group'that was'concerned about the increasing degradation of Sweden?s
nature and wildlife due to rapid industrialisation.'From this'elite
group?, SNCC has since gone from strength to strength, numbering no
fewer than 140,000 embers in 274 branches within Sweden (
Despite its insistence that it does not oppose GMOs as such, and that
it admits their potential, the SSNC is in practice clearly
anti-biotech. Every year in October, the SSNC launches a consumer
campaign on a special issue; and 'this year the focus is on
genetically modified organisms??
Like many NGOs, the SSNC sees organic agriculture as the only licit
future, and refuses to permit biotechnology to figure in its notion of
sustainable agriculture. In fact it goes so far as to state that'the
introduction of GMOs speeds up the process'of unsustainable agriculture.
The SSNC?s Gene Technology Policy ? or rather anti-Gene Technology
Policy ? is even clearer in respect to its position on GMOs than in
its other pronouncements. It explicitly favours excessive and
deliberately expensive regulatory regimes. In the words of its
policy:'This should make risk-related costs clear to businesses and
their customers. The signals sent by prices will improve the
self-control of companies; high risk projects of dubious worth will be
Interestingly enough, the SSNC doesn?t see biotechnology as solving
the problems of Third-World hunger; rather, it maintains that 'the
development of sustainable agricultural methods and a strengthening of
the civil society?s position are of much greater importance for food
security.' How strengthening the position of NGOs will solve world
hunger is unfortunately not explained.
Another reliable source of support for developing world NGOs listed is
HIVOS, which like the SSNC has been mentioned in this document several
times already. HIVOS stands for Humanist Institute for Development
Co-operation. According to its own description, HIVOS'is an
organisation working to further emancipation and democracy and to
combat poverty in developing
The website goes on to say that HIVOS provides financial and political
support to over 800 local private organisations, which it refers to
as'counterparts?, in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin
America and South-Eastern Europe.'The European Union is a significant
funder of HIVOS' activities.
A particularly interesting NGO, HIVOS is involved in a large number of
joint projects such as its Biodiversity Fund, which is funded by the
Environmental Department of the Dutch Ministry for Development
Co-operation (DGIS). The fund is managed by HIVOS in league with
NOVIB, Oxfam?s Dutch affiliate; and it lists the International
Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) as a 'partner.'
The IFOAM is the worldwide umbrella organisation of the organic
Development Fund for Norway
Founded in 1978, Utvilingsfondet, or the Development Fund for Norway,
has a staff of 10 people, all within Norway itself. The annual budget
is approximately 30 million Norwegian kroner (US$ 4 million). It
depends on funding from private persons and companies for carrying out
its activities. It has a long-standing funding arrangement with NORAD
? The Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation ? and also
receives money from the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Development Fund, according to its brochures, is'of the opinion
that increased deregulation and globalisation of the world economy is
a factor contributing significantly to reinforced inequality and
Members of the Fund have met with representatives of the World Bank?s
Global Environment Facility (GEF) in an effort to secure funding for
Fund projects in the future. In the words of the Development Fund?s
1999 Annual Report:'we consider the GEF to be an important future
channel in our efforts to focus increased attention on food security,
as a priority area for development co-operation, and also to
strengthen the Fund?s economy.?
Food First / the Institute for Food and Development Policy
Food First is a 'progressive' think-tank founded in 1975. It describes
itself as being committed' to making the world see the human rights
violations through the eyes of the victims of so-called 'development'
and technological fixes through the eyes of indigenous peoples, the
disabled, the landless, the dispossessed, the women and children?'Food
First does this from Oakland, California (http://www.foodfirst.org).
The organisation is run jointly by Peter Rosset and Anuradha Mittal.
Rosset is a prominent anti-biotech activist, and will be in attendance
at the parallel conference held by activists and NGOs during the
forthcoming major biotechnology conference in San Diego. In addition
to his duties as a co-director of Food First, he serves on the board
of the Pesticide Action Network?s North American operation.
His co-director, Anuradha Mittal, is also engaged in a number of other
organisations, such as being on the board of directors of the Turning
Point Project and as an associate to the International Forum on
Though Food First does not provide money itself, it does provide other
forms of assistance to anti-biotech NGOs. This help makes it an
important node in the network, particularly in developing countries.
Usually the aid takes the form of research, analysis and the
construction of action plans for activist networks to implement. The
campaigning aspect is probably carried out by FIAN International (Food
First International Action Network), which is the'action and
campaigning partner'of Food First. FIAN International has its
headquarters in Germany, but also maintains offices in Austria,
Belgium, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, India and the
Philippines (www.fian.org). In the last-named country, FIAN has
connections to GRAIN, and both were involved in the formation of La
Food First gets its funding from numerous and varied sources: Agape
Foundation; Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation; Boehm Foundation; Boston
Foundation; C.S. Mott Foundation; Colombia Foundation; Compton
Foundation Cotswold Foundation; East Bay Community Foundation; Ford
Foundation; Foundation for Deep Ecology; Fred Gellert Family
Foundation; Funding Exchange He-Shan World Fund; Humboldt Area
Foundation; Jennifer Altman Foundation Kurz Family Foundation; Lyn &
Karl Prickett Fund; Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers; Maryknoll Office of
Global Concerns; Meshewa Farm Foundation; Muse Family Foundation; New
World Foundation; One World Foundation; Pond Foundation; Rockefeller
Brothers Fund; Shefa Fund; Sonoma County Community Foundation
(Illumination Fund); Swig Foundation; Tides Foundation (Snowdon Fund);
Tides Foundation (Underdog Fund); United Methodist Church; Vanguard
Public Foundation (Domitila Barrios de Chungara Fund).
Foundation for Deep Ecology
The California-based Foundation for Deep Ecology is a substantial
contributor to anti-biotech NGOs internationally. Created in 1990, the
foundation is endowed with the personal fortune of Douglas Tompkins,
who owns the successful Patagonia Company, and who was formerly the
owner of equally successful Esprit clothing company.
According to Guest Choice Network, a 'burned out 'Tompkins stepped
down in 1993 as chief executive of Patagonia and 'began to study ?deep
ecology?, an 'ecocentric' view that rejects the idea of inherent human
superiority, instead giving equal moral weight to all elements of
nature, from the living to the inanimate'
A quick visit to the Patagonia website ( http://www.patagonia.com )
will reveal that its stores are being used to campaign against
biotechnology. According to the website: 'Genetically modified
organisms must be kept in a contained environment until independent
safety testing proves they are safe; products containing GMOs must be
labelled as such; and the companies that produce GMOs must be held
responsible for any environmental damage they cause.'About one per
cent of Patagonia?s turnover goes directly to so-called
Globally, the Foundation for Deep Ecology is a very generous donor of
anti-biotech professionals. Its tax returns for the Year 1999 revealed
that it funded the following groups: A Seed Europe; Consumers
Association of Penang; Council of Canadians; Third World Network;
Ecoropa; Edmonds Institute; Food First; Jeremy Rifkin?s Foundation for
Economic Trends; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy;
International Center for Technology Assessment; Farm Folk/City Folk
Society; Foundation for the Promotion of Sustainable Development;
Mothers and Others for a Liveable Planet; Mothers for Natural Law;
Pesticide Action Network; RAFI; Vandana Shiva?s Research Foundation
for Science, Technology and Ecology; Soil Association; and the Tides
Center (Transnational Resource and Action Center).
Conclusion: For love or money?
If you want to know why biotechnology is not being aggressively
pursued in the developing world to address their many pressing
concerns like hunger, poverty alleviation and environmental
degradation, let me paraphrase U.S political consultant James
Carville: It?s the NGOs, stupid.
During the Green Revolution, NGOs or non-government organisation were
influential in driving this revolution. In the Gene Revolution, NGOs
are now driving a counter-revolution, one that in some circumstances
is not only targeting biotechnology, but the Green Revolution itself.
Is it because the Green Revolution was such a failure? If you consider
about a billion lives saved then with the prospect of much greater
results with biotechnology, then you have your answer.
But if you regard a billion lives s