Reading between lines PM Speech indicates opening up of biological resources to Global Investors
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his speech at COP-11 at Hyderabad today, had no doubt expressed his concern about depletion of biodiversity, acknowledging peopleâ€™s dependence on the natural resources and the threats to life and livelihoods.Â However, the PM by upholding the work of creating a huge directory of biological resources and traditional knowledge and translation of the same in 5 international languages clearly favours making the traditional knowledge systems easily accessible to global investors as has already started. The very principle of Access and Benefit Sharing which is one of the 3 principles of the Nagoya Protocol, already ratified by India is meant exactly to enable the monetary capital investors reach out to the communities living with natural eco systems and plunder their resources offering crumbs to the local people.Â
The PMâ€™s claim that the exercise of forming a directory of diverse resources in our country is to prevent biopiracy is a farcical claim. The PM in his speech has no doubt referred to protecting the coastal and forest communitiesâ€™ rights while in fact, the paradigm of pushing projects in the name of development has been encroaching upon the food sovereignty and inalienable rights of these very communities. In projects like PCPIR, and large dams like Polavaram and the 100â€™s of large dams being built and proposed in the river basins of Bhramaputra, Narmada, Krishna, their fragile ecosystems have been sacrificed.Â
The PM is also talking about community participationÂ while in reality the British Legacy of Land Acquisition continues to this day. And the latest declaration of National Investment Board is going to make the entire process totally undemocratic and without any concern for environmental impacts which are at least beingÂ partly taken care of through the existing sanctioning processes till date.
The whole proposal of NIB is also in violation of CBD which is what seems to have been concealed from the international participants by our Prime Minister.
We, the communities and activists struggling to save biodiversity challengingÂ the encroach upon peopleâ€™s resources and rights cannot leave this enormous task to the PM and his govt. any more. Nor can we simply rely on UN Conventions and Protocols which have been pushing the corporatization and commodification of resources leading to devastation of our resources.
We therefore, have to challenge any attempt by state or union governments permit entry of corporations on to the communitiesâ€™ resource space. While closing the Peopleâ€™s Biodiversity Festival the Peopleâ€™s movements, farmers, fisherfolk, and adivasiÂ peopleâ€™s organizations have to bring their pledge to save biodiversity into reality.
Medha Patkar, P. Chennaiah, Saraswati Kavula, Ramakrishnam Raju, Madhuresh.
Reading between Lines, PM’s Speech indicates opening of biological resources to Global Investors