BIODIVERSITY CELEBRATED IN AMAZONIA - THE RIO BRANCO COMMITMENT
On the 19 May 2002, the participants of the Growing Diversity Rio Branco International Workshop in Acre, Brazil claimed that the principal mode of agricultural production should be biodiversity based and under the control of local communities. In a three page “Rio Branco Commitment”, the participants set out their ideas with a number of declarations and proposals and a set of commitments from the participants involved.
Over 100 participants from 32 countries, mainly farmers and representatives of rural and local non-government organisations have agreed to the commitment. Although the Growing Diversity project has officially come to a close at the end of May, the spirit of Growing Diversity and the good work will continue. Participants have made commitments to continue this work at the regional and international level, often with very specific details, and a few examples are provided here. In North and West Africa, the participants agreed to disseminate the results of the workshop in regional meetings; one has already been planned in Morocco for July and another in Algeria for September. Follow-up meetings will be held in several countries to discuss genetically modified organisms and intellectual property rights. In Asia, participants will work on the establishment of seed exchanges, community seed banks and seed fairs. Participants also identified that the flow of information was crucial between organisations and farmers. Therefore networking will also be a priority. In Latin America, the participants have committed themselves to encouraging young people and children, through their communities, schools, and workshops to be more involved in their local cultures and traditions. At the global level participants are dedicated to the organisation and campaigning against the introduction of genetically modified organisms and to fight all patents on life.
Farmers from the Philippines, fishermen from Africa, women forest workers from Brazil, farmers from the deserts and oasis of North Africa, rubber tapers from the Amazon, and cooks from Japan are just some of the people involved. These people have come to together to share their experiences and have now provided an emphatic declaration with a set of proposals and commitments for the future.