Invite: People’s Biodiversity Festival Hyderbad October 2012

 

 

 

 

 

People’s Biodiversity Festival

 ‘Unity for Diversity!’

 

In festive celebration of our rich biodiversity of crops,

flora, fauna, and vibrant bio-cultural heritage;

and our united resolve to protect it!

 October 13 to 16, 2012, 11 am to 7.30 pm

at Exhibition Grounds, Nampalli, Hyderabad

 

Theme Objectives:

  • Safe-guarding the rights of farmers, adivasis, pastoralists, forest-dwellers, hill folk, fisher folk and future generations
  • Promoting and supporting holistic and bio-diverse ecological agriculture and forestry for local needs and health
  • Conserving and regenerating natural wealth, sustainable livelihoods and traditional knowledge
  • Adopting a people’s manifesto for biodiversity as a collective, open-source heritage, free of private Intellectual Property Rights; and reclaiming farmers’ crop varieties from institutional germplasm banks
  • Local, regional, national and global networking for policy correction and collaboration

Features:

  • Display and exchange of several thousand heritage seed varieties of various crops & plants
  • Diverse indigenous breeds of livestock/fauna
  • Posters, photographs, books, ecological products, traditional arts & crafts
  • Interaction with farmers, seed savers, indigenous peoples and activists
  • Presentations, discussions, seminars, film shows, song, music and dance
  • Sale of indigenous, organic foods – to eat or take away

 

Participation: All who share our concerns are welcome to join! Registration for events and exhibition space will be on a first come – first served basis. So book early for your space and event!

 

Outreach: Citizens, farmers, youth, media, opinion and policy makers, international delegates to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and people at large.

 

Organizational Process:

Collaborative and transparent, with voluntarily shared responsibilities and expenses; core group coordination and sub-group teams for various organizational functions

 

Call for:

  • Early confirmation of participation, stating the subject and nature of your proposed presentation/event/ exhibition; and a brief note about your group/movement and its activity
  • Voluntary support for sharing organizational responsibility and/or expenses
  • Please also widely publicize the Festival among friends, family and all interested

 

Stall Booking:

About 60 exhibition stalls (approximately 10 ft x 10 ft) are available, each with 2 tables, 3 chairs, lights and fan. These will be available for setting up one day before the Festival begins, ie from the 12th October. While no cost will be charged for booking a stall, voluntary contributions from those who can pay are welcome, and much needed.

 

Travel, Accommodation, Food, Local Transportation, etc.

We expect to arrange simple, inexpensive accommodation not too far from the Festival venue. However, we request you to bear your own travel and food costs, and to bring all your exhibition materials, seeds, posters, music instruments, etc. with you. To avoid the difficulties of daily local transportation to and from the Festival venue (and also to reduce accommodation expenses) participants who can are encouraged to camp at their own stall or adjoining open space at the Exhibition Ground. For those in need of better hotel accommodation, a local hosting support team will try to assist you if you inform your numbers, needs & budget well in advance.

 

Contacts for registration/information:

 

1)     Narasimha Reddy Donthi: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com, Mobile: 09010205742

2)     Asha Latha: anthrax.hyd@gmail.com, Mobile: 09490119242

3)     Jacob Nellithanan: farmersrights@gmail.com, Mobile: 09425560950

4)     Bharat Mansata: bharatmansata@yahoo.com Mobile: 09967371183

5)     Ram Prasad: ramprasad@chetnaorganic.org.in Mobile: 08374878997

6)     Sashank Rajwadi: srajwadi@yahoo.com Mobile: 07842439062

 

 

Unity for Diversity!

Why are we having the ‘People’s Biodiversity Festival’ at the same time as

the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Hyderabad?

 

This is the UN Decade of Biodiversity’. Two decades ago, the world adopted the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which called for: (1) its conservation; (2) its sustainable use; and (3) the fair and equitable sharing of its benefits. This year, the CBD meets in October at Hyderabad to review its record of non-achievement. But there seems little hope from the official government delegates to revitalize this once promising international treaty, unless strongly pressured by people.

 

The CBD has already bent backwards to accommodate the interests of big industry and capital, at the cost of the basic needs of people. By yielding to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) on life forms and plant varieties, it has allowed the carving of private slices of the ‘genetic pie’, undermining sustainability and equity. The ‘access’ to our germplasm, and the ‘benefits’ accruing from it, are largely cornered by MNCs.

 

Recently, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research offered MNCs 400,000 varieties of germplasm, including drought-tolerant rice, terminal-heat tolerant wheat & salinity-tolerant crop varieties, naturally adapted to different geographies. The ‘Access and Benefit Sharing’ (ABS) framework of CBD provides a cover for such a ‘gene and knowledge bazaar’. Free sharing between communities has declined.

 

The agri-business MNCs promote unsustainable monocultures of Genetically Modified (GM) crops and commercial hybrids – grown with high inputs of increasingly expensive and scarce fossil energy, chemicals and water – leaving a trail of toxicity & greenhouse gases. Instead, we need bio-diverse, ecological farming with locally adapted, open-pollinated seeds, for sustainable and wholesome yields.

 

The CBD will bring together many thousands of people from all nations. This is the time to press upon the world, and our own people, that our biodiversity and related knowledge can best be conserved as a ‘collective commons’, governed by the ethic of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam’ – the earth is one family. The narrow market view – to carve out slices of exclusionary Intellectual Property Rights over our genetic wealth – will preside over its demise, not conservation. While some plan to protest the privatization of biodiversity at the CBD, such fragmented initiatives have low impact. Our hope lies in adopting a strong, united platform at a separate gathering in Hyderabad, coinciding with the CBD.

 

To protect our genetic and ecological commons – held in trust for mutual sharing and for future generations – we need an Open-source Heritage Registry of our agro/biodiversity and related knowledge, free from exclusionary IPRs. We also assert farmers’ rights of facilitated access to our many thousands of crop varieties in national/international germplasm banks, originally collected from our own farmlands, and having evolved through the innovations, adaptations and selections of many generations of our farmers.

 

The onslaught of reckless urban- industrial expansion – including forest mining, big dams, and polluting/hazardous power plants – seizing and destroying our bio-heritage commons, violates the rights of many millions of farmers and indigenous peoples, undermining their sustainable livelihoods and survival. Great violence is also unleashed on birds, bees, earthworms, fish, and myriad other life forms.

 

The People’s Biodiversity Festival’ is thus an appeal for a united front, reflecting our shared concerns; and to lay the foundation for cooperation and sharing of our seed wealth and related knowledge for inclusive, ecological self-reliance in harmony with nature; and for public policy correction towards such purpose. But alongside the challenges, is the celebration of all that we are still so fortunate to have. Thus, the People’s Biodiversity Festival will be vibrantly festive and colourful, with irrepressible energy.

 

“Let us celebrate the infinite imagination of nature.

Let us live and let live!”

 

 

In festive celebration of our rich biodiversity of crops,

flora, fauna, and vibrant bio-cultural heritage;

and our united resolve to protect it!

 

 October 13 to 16, 2012, 11 am to 7.30 pm  

at Exhibition Grounds, Nampalli, Hyderabad

 

Theme Objectives:

  • Safe-guarding the rights of farmers, adivasis, pastoralists, forest-dwellers, hill folk, fisher folk and future generations
  • Promoting and supporting holistic and bio-diverse ecological agriculture and forestry for local needs and health
  • Conserving and regenerating natural wealth, sustainable livelihoods and traditional knowledge
  • Adopting a people’s manifesto for biodiversity as a collective, open-source heritage, free of private Intellectual Property Rights; and reclaiming farmers’ crop varieties from institutional germplasm banks
  • Local, regional, national and global networking for policy correction and collaboration
 

Features:

  • Display and exchange of several thousand heritage seed varieties of various crops & plants
  • Diverse indigenous breeds of livestock/fauna
  • Posters, photographs, books, ecological products, traditional arts & crafts
  • Interaction with farmers, seed savers, indigenous peoples and activists
  • Presentations, discussions, seminars, film shows, song, music and dance
  • Sale of indigenous, organic foods – to eat or take away

 

Participation: All who share our concerns are welcome to join! Registration for events and exhibition space will be on a first come – first served basis. So book early for your space and event!

 

Outreach: Citizens, farmers, youth, media, opinion and policy makers, international delegates to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and people at large.

 

Organizational Process:

Collaborative and transparent, with voluntarily shared responsibilities and expenses; core group coordination and sub-group teams for various organizational functions

 

Call for:

  • Early confirmation of participation, stating the subject and nature of your proposed presentation/event/ exhibition; and a brief note about your group/movement and its activity
  • Voluntary support for sharing organizational responsibility and/or expenses
  • Please also widely publicize the Festival among friends, family and all interested

 

Stall Booking:

About 60 exhibition stalls (approximately 10 ft x 10 ft) are available, each with 2 tables, 3 chairs, lights and fan. These will be available for setting up one day before the Festival begins, ie from the 12th October. While no cost will be charged for booking a stall, voluntary contributions from those who can pay are welcome, and much needed.

 

Travel, Accommodation, Food, Local Transportation, etc.

We expect to arrange simple, inexpensive accommodation not too far from the Festival venue. However, we request you to bear your own travel and food costs, and to bring all your exhibition materials, seeds, posters, music instruments, etc. with you. To avoid the difficulties of daily local transportation to and from the Festival venue (and also to reduce accommodation expenses) participants who can are encouraged to camp at their own stall or adjoining open space at the Exhibition Ground. For those in need of better hotel accommodation, a local hosting support team will try to assist you if you inform your numbers, needs & budget well in advance.

 

Contacts for registration/information:

 

1)     Narasimha Reddy Donthi: nreddy.donthi@gmail.com, Mobile: 09010205742

2)     Asha Latha: anthrax.hyd@gmail.com, Mobile: 09490119242

3)     Jacob Nellithanan: farmersrights@gmail.com, Mobile: 09425560950

4)     Bharat Mansata: bharatmansata@yahoo.com Mobile: 09967371183

5)     Ram Prasad: ramprasad@chetnaorganic.org.in Mobile: 08374878997

6)     Sashank Rajwadi: srajwadi@yahoo.com Mobile: 07842439062

 

 

Unity for Diversity!

 

Why are we having the ‘People’s Biodiversity Festival’ at the same time as

the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at Hyderabad?

 

This is the UN Decade of Biodiversity’. Two decades ago, the world adopted the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which called for: (1) its conservation; (2) its sustainable use; and (3) the fair and equitable sharing of its benefits. This year, the CBD meets in October at Hyderabad to review its record of non-achievement. But there seems little hope from the official government delegates to revitalize this once promising international treaty, unless strongly pressured by people.

 

The CBD has already bent backwards to accommodate the interests of big industry and capital, at the cost of the basic needs of people. By yielding to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) on life forms and plant varieties, it has allowed the carving of private slices of the ‘genetic pie’, undermining sustainability and equity. The ‘access’ to our germplasm, and the ‘benefits’ accruing from it, are largely cornered by MNCs.

 

Recently, the Indian Council for Agricultural Research offered MNCs 400,000 varieties of germplasm, including drought-tolerant rice, terminal-heat tolerant wheat & salinity-tolerant crop varieties, naturally adapted to different geographies. The ‘Access and Benefit Sharing’ (ABS) framework of CBD provides a cover for such a ‘gene and knowledge bazaar’. Free sharing between communities has declined.

 

The agri-business MNCs promote unsustainable monocultures of Genetically Modified (GM) crops and commercial hybrids – grown with high inputs of increasingly expensive and scarce fossil energy, chemicals and water – leaving a trail of toxicity & greenhouse gases. Instead, we need bio-diverse, ecological farming with locally adapted, open-pollinated seeds, for sustainable and wholesome yields.

 

The CBD will bring together many thousands of people from all nations. This is the time to press upon the world, and our own people, that our biodiversity and related knowledge can best be conserved as a ‘collective commons’, governed by the ethic of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam’ – the earth is one family. The narrow market view – to carve out slices of exclusionary Intellectual Property Rights over our genetic wealth – will preside over its demise, not conservation. While some plan to protest the privatization of biodiversity at the CBD, such fragmented initiatives have low impact. Our hope lies in adopting a strong, united platform at a separate gathering in Hyderabad, coinciding with the CBD.

 

To protect our genetic and ecological commons – held in trust for mutual sharing and for future generations – we need an Open-source Heritage Registry of our agro/biodiversity and related knowledge, free from exclusionary IPRs. We also assert farmers’ rights of facilitated access to our many thousands of crop varieties in national/international germplasm banks, originally collected from our own farmlands, and having evolved through the innovations, adaptations and selections of many generations of our farmers.

 

The onslaught of reckless urban- industrial expansion – including forest mining, big dams, and polluting/hazardous power plants – seizing and destroying our bio-heritage commons, violates the rights of many millions of farmers and indigenous peoples, undermining their sustainable livelihoods and survival. Great violence is also unleashed on birds, bees, earthworms, fish, and myriad other life forms.

 

The People’s Biodiversity Festival’ is thus an appeal for a united front, reflecting our shared concerns; and to lay the foundation for cooperation and sharing of our seed wealth and related knowledge for inclusive, ecological self-reliance in harmony with nature; and for public policy correction towards such purpose. But alongside the challenges, is the celebration of all that we are still so fortunate to have. Thus, the People’s Biodiversity Festival will be vibrantly festive and colourful, with irrepressible energy.

 

“Let us celebrate the infinite imagination of nature.

Let us live and let live!”