Re: we need to direct our energies in a more constructive manner than just responding at something.
Congratulations for starting this !
Gene Campaign works in Jharkhand on food and livelihood issues and looks forward to interacting through this listserve. To get an idea of what we do, please visit our website at www.genecampaign.org
Starting in 1993, its been more then a decade since Gene Campaign, a leading research and advocacy organisation, has been working to empower local communities to retain control over their genetic resources in order to ensure food and livelihood security. Closely involved in policymaking and legislation with respect to biological resources, Gene Campaign has enabled rural and adivasi communities to participate in policies relating to these resources.
Gene Campaign has been largely responsible for raising the national debate on the dangers of seed patents and its threat to food sovereignty. Its long and sustained struggle for Farmers Rights culminated in legislation, the only one of its kind so far, that grants legal rights to farmers. The Campaign has been involved in the fight against the patents granted on Basmati rice, at the national and international level, and was the first to exposed the existence of the turmeric patent. Apart from this, it campaigned for a law to protect India's biodiversity and provided the first draft of a Biodiversity legislation in 1997, a law that was finally passed in 2001.
The Campaign is working for the recognition of Indigenous Knowledge as an important technology and its potential for increasing incomes for rural and adivasi communities. An important goal is to develop a system to grant legal rights to communities over the Indigenous Knowledge that they have created and continue to create. As part of its endeavor to protecting Indigenous Knowledge, Gene Campaign has lobbied hard and has succeeded in keeping medicines and products derived from Indigenous Knowledge, out of the purview of patents so that they are exempted from the Patent law.
With respect to GM crops, Gene Campaign is demanding transparency and public participation. It seeks accountability and greater competence in the regulatory systems that are in place. Gene Campaign has made the demand that unless the regulatory systems are demonstrably more competent, transparent and responsive to public concerns, there should be a moratorium on commercial release of GM crops.
The Campaign has set up about 30 Core Groups in 17 states after conducting over 400 district and village level meetings. These large-scale awareness generation programs were supported by simple literature in regional languages explaining the process of globalisation and the national and international developments that could threaten food and livelihood security. The Campaign has worked together with a cross section of people including farming and adivasi communities, academic institutions, government departments, political and activist groups, NGOs and students. It is linked to a large network of national and international organisations, which enables it to have a national and international outreach.
Dr Suman Sahai
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