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African NGOs tell ministers to say no to terminator technology
17 February 2006
Press Release from the UK Working Group on Terminator TechnologyA group of African NGOs  has appealed to UK Ministers in an open letter to oppose any moves to erode the global moratorium of Terminator technology agreed under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)  in 2000 and to move towards an outright ban of this controversial GM technology.
Next month in Brazil delegates at the Convention of Parties of the CBD (COP8) will face a concerted effort by Australia, Canada and New Zealand, working with the US government, to weaken the global moratorium on Terminator technology by allowing a "case by case" assessment. This would open the door for its entry into agriculture. The weakening text was inserted at last month's COP8 preparatory meetings in Spain.
Terminator technology is a form of genetic modification that makes harvested seeds sterile. It is a highly controversial technology that was designed by the biotech industry to prevent farmers from saving their seed, forcing them to buy new seed each season
In their open letter the African NGOs tell Ministers
"Eighty per cent of small farmers in Africa save their seed. Enforced seed sterility in our seed would dramatically affect farming and rural livelihoods across Africa. An end to seed saving would lead to the disappearance of the genetic diversity our ancestors have left us, and which we have a responsibility to leave to future generations".
"We ask that the moratorium be strongly reaffirmed, if not concretised into an outright ban"
Following a parliamentary briefing  on Terminator, this week, former UK Environment Minister Michael Meacher, said
"Terminator technology clearly demonstrates that the claims that the claims made by biotech corporations about improving food security are a falsehood. This technology is dangerous, and threatens farmers and food security all over the world. There has been a global moratorium on Terminator since 2000 - it was a bad technology then, and it is a bad technology now. The UK must demonstrate its commitment to global food security and have a strong position at the CBD meeting in March, to ensure that Terminator seeds never see the light of day."
1. The letter to DFID and DEFRA on the Threat to Terminator/ GURTS at the Convention on Biological Diversity was sent from: Africa Biodiversity Network (Ethiopia), Centre for Development Initiatives (Uganda), Envirocare (Tanzania), Ethiopia Consumer Protection Association (Ethiopia), Kenya GMO Concern (Kenya), Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (Kenya & Zambia).
2. The global moratorium is CBD Decision V/5 section III agreed in 2000. This decision states that products incorporating Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) should not be approved for field-testing or commercial use until assessment of ecological, socio-economic and cultural impacts.
3. The Parliamentary Briefing was organised by:
The UK Campaigning Group on Terminator Technology includes UK Food Group, Progressio (formerly CIIR), Friends of the Earth, GM Freeze, GeneWatch UK, The Gaia Foundation, EcoNexus, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Munlochy GM Vigil. Link to www.eco-matters.org for free copies of a leaflet on Terminator Technology.
EDM calling for moratorium on Terminator to be maintained has been signed by 107 MPs from all parties.
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Published by Friends of the Earth Trust
Last modified: Jun 2008