issue 5, September-October 2000
|WAR AND PEACE ON OUR FARMS AND TABLES
|Edited version of the speech delivered by Ms Vandana Shiva at the Women's Conference on Environment in Asia and the Pacific, 3 September 2000, Kitakyushu, Japan.|
|In the eight years since I
was last in Kitakyushu, many things have changed. These include the new trade rules of the
World Trade Organization, globalisation, as well as techniques that have been introduced
into our food and agriculture. These techniques have often been called
"advanced" techniques. I was trained in a very advanced technique, nuclear
physics. I worked on India's first fast breeder reactor, and it was only after my doctor
sister educated me on the health impacts of radiation that I realised that what can be
advanced in one discipline can be very regressive in another realm. This is the case with
the so-called "advanced" technologies for food production, which have actually
proved to be very primitive from the point of view of the environment, women, and the
rights of people and species to have access and entitlement to food
The second point I learned in these twenty years spent working on environmental issues, is that many of these so-called "advanced" techniques are really techniques of war. They were brought from the military sphere into the food production sphere at the end of the Second World War. Nuclear technology is one of them. Nowadays, nuclear radiation is being applied to food systems around the world with very, very little assessment regarding its impacts. Besides the fact that it extends storage life, one also needs to find out what it does to our health and the environment. This presentation focuses on two particular technologies, which originate from war technologies. The first one, is the group of technologies that came to be known as the "Green Revolution". This was not a very green transformation of agriculture, and it was definitely not revolutionary. It basically increased the control of powerful corporations and countries, and rich landlords in the Third World over food production and agriculture, displacing women and poorer peasants, and removing poor consumers from their entitlements to food.
What were these technologies? They were basically technologies that stopped the production of organic and diverse food, and started employing chemicals that had been used during the war. Some of them became fertilisers, like nitrogen, which was basically used in explosives. Others became pesticides. As Rachel Carson has written in her book "Silent Spring", chemicals that man had evolved to kill other people were transferred to agriculture with the assumption that they would eradicate insects that feed on crops. It actually had the opposite effect and increased our pest problems in agriculture. We have experienced a 1,200 percent increase of pests as a result of applying pesticides, and in addition created numerous problems for our health. Pesticide residues are now recognised as a major cause of cancer, allergies and other health problems. Another book, written two years ago by a woman scientist in America, entitled "Our Stolen Future", records how the poisons we are using in our everyday lives are threatening our health and that of other species.
In India, the Green Revolution was brought over in the sixties (1965-1966). The wheat variety used in this case had actually been imported from Japan by the Americans during the war. It was called "Norin wheat" and is a dwarf variety. The reason dwarf varieties were needed was that huge amounts of chemicals could not be pumped into traditional seeds that women use in South Asia. Our seeds, just like women, say "No to toxins". They lodge, and the lodging of traditional crop varieties is, in my view, a rebellion of nature against chemical contamination. But if chemicals were to be applied to agriculture, then you somehow needed to change the crops so they could withstand the rapid growth and not collapse and lodge. Feeding the hungry was not really the challenge of the Green Revolution. The real challenge was how do you feed the chemical companies by creating plants that are adapted to these chemicals. A United Nations study conducted in the seventies showed that these plants were not high yielding varieties that produce more food. They were basically varieties that responded well to chemicals. They were designed for chemicals, not for feeding the hungry. One just has to consider some of the basic data. It takes five units of inputs in an ecological system to produce 100 units of food. It takes 300 units of inputs in an intensive chemical system to produce the same 100 units of food. Nevertheless we are told that a system that wastes 95 units is a productive system. Apart from not being very productive or very efficient, it also destroys the environment, harms our health, and displaces peasants, in particular women.
Years ago, while I was doing field studies in Punjab (India), I witnessed a phenomenon, which is of very deep concern to people working on reproductive rights. As chemicals take over in agriculture, women are displaced, and as women are displaced they are made to look like the redundant sex. They become dispensable. A new phenomenon started in Punjab that had never taken place before, namely female feticide (killing female foetuses). The imbalance that was being created in nature was reflected in this new dispensability of the female sex. This was a result of the new technologies granting new power to men and taking power away from women who were always the primary food producers and primary food processors.
This group of technologies also had another dire consequence on the environment and people's health. Environmental sustainability requires diversity. If you have naturally occurring nitrogen-fixing crops in your field, you will not need to apply nitrogen fertiliser that contaminates your ground water and forces you to pump deeper and deeper causing arsenic poisoning, as in the case of Bengal. The people of Bengal had to drill deeper wells in order to water these new "advanced' crops, which need five times more water. As you go deeper into the ground to obtain water, you come into contact with arsenic residues, resulting in contaminated water. Some other places also experience fluoride or selenium poisoning. All that rich diversity, which naturally fixes nitrogen and provides diverse nutrients is wiped out by the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution, especially in Asia, is essentially based on rice and wheat mono-cultures, which rely heavily on pesticides. When you apply herbicides for instance, you also wipe out other greens that provide you with vitamin A and iron. Today iron deficiency and anaemia is the single most important nutrient deficiency and health problem facing the women of Asia. We were not meant to be deficient in iron. It has been created by the so-called "advanced" technologies that were efficient in destroying iron, vitamin A and other nutrients in our agricultural systems. Some of the rich sources of vitamin A are amaranth leaves, coriander, cabbage, curry leaves, drumstick leaves, fenugreek leaves and radish leaves. These plants contain 1,200 to 1,300 micrograms of vitamin A per 100 grams, and the human body needs about 750 micrograms per 100 grams for its daily diet. In Bengal, over 200 kinds of greens are cultivated. Women eat and cook them, and know each of them. Most agricultural scientists will not be able to identify any of these plants. In the hill areas where I come from, from the Himalayas, no farm has less than 250 to 300 plants growing, meeting the diverse nutrition needs of the people.
Most people will have heard of "Golden Rice". This type of rice is supposed to be genetically engineered with vitamin A in it. It sounds wonderful, vitamin A-rich rice that will get rid of the vitamin A deficiency, which affects 2 million children, making many of them go blind. Who would be against that? At this point, however, the scientists do not really know how much vitamin A this rice will produce. All they have managed to do is use another military technology to create the tools that would make it happen ten years down the line, not today, but ten years down the line. These tools are called "gene guns" and "gene cannons". You literally take gold particles and shoot them with genes from another organism. If you wish to put toxin genes from the BT bacteria you can. If you want to use scorpion genes, which they want to use as a way of controlling pests, it is also feasible. In fact, you can take genes from animals, humans, plants or bacteria and shoot them into the organism, into the seeds or the plant material where you want these genes to be incorporated. This technology of gene guns and gene cannons is the monopoly of two corporations, Monsanto and DuPont, and no matter where in the world a scientist works he/she has to pay royalties for them each time. They use this technology to create a so-called "transgenic" plant or a genetically modified (GM) crop. Transgenic because it mixes genes across species boundaries. Right now they do not really know how much vitamin A this will be capable of producing because all they have learned is how to shoot the genes from other organisms into the rice plant. They don't know where in the rice genome this goes, they don't know how it behaves, they have no idea what it does to the plant and they have no idea what impact that transgenic plant will have on the ecosystem.
These advanced technologies are not about feeding a hungry world. They are about seeking control over the natural world, over people, and taking away the productive capacity of women. The McKinsey Corporation, a large international consultant firm, recently produced a report, which stated that in India only one percent of food is processed. This would lead you to imagine that India, with one billion people, is merely a land of hunter-gatherers where people dig up roots and pick fruits off the wild trees. It is not, however, that 99 percent of the food is not processed, but that it is mainly processed by women at home, as our laws have so far ensured that food processing remained a small-scale activity, confined to women's cottage industry. These laws are now being dismantled, allowing big companies to come in and start taking over food processing. India just witnessed a protest action by women against Cargen, the biggest food trader in the world, controlling 70 percent of the world's food trade. On the 26th of August 2000, Cargen launched this new brand called "Nature Fresh Flour". They stated "untouched by hand, gone through 40 steps of industrial processing" and they expected Indians to be thoroughly impressed by this. We are literate enough to know what 40 steps of processing do. So the women launched a campaign stating, "You're lying by calling something 'nature fresh' that has been heavily processed. We give you two months to allow the women's groups to visit your factories so that we can inform consumers about what exactly you are taking out of the flour and what you are putting into it. "Nature fresh" is only what comes out of our local mills, which are closing down". In most of the rural areas, women still grind fresh flour and pound the rice every morning. If these protests and campaigns do not stop Cargen and other companies what we will have is a hundred million people, most of them women, losing their livelihoods in food production and processing.
Returning to genetic engineering and the issue of shooting with gene guns, there are currently two other interesting cases where these techniques are being applied. One of them being GM soya beans. The beans are basically made resistant to Roundup, a herbicide manufactured by Monsanto, which "kills everything green that comes into contact with it". That's how Monsanto advertises Roundup. If you apply it to your crops, you will need to make them resistant so that everything else will die except the seeds that have been genetically engineered. In other words, Roundup will get rid of all those 200 species that meet our vitamin A and iron needs. It will also make you dependent on the chemical company and make you spray more and more herbicide on your land each year. Roundup is recognised to be the most important reason for illnesses on farms in California, and yet Monsanto markets it around the world as an absolutely safe herbicide. These resistance genes can also move into related crops and species, thereby creating super weeds that will overtake our farms as it is already the case in India, where rice fields are being taken over by weeds.
The second application is one that puts toxins from bacteria into a plant, with the plant then constantly manufacturing its own poisons in each and every cell. The roots start to kill soil organisms as one of the side factors. The leaves fall and degrade, also killing soil organisms. The monarch butterfly, for example, was killed because of the pollen from these kinds of crops. Beetles that we need to control pests are dying as they eat the aphids that eat these plants. Consequently, the entire ecosystem is being contaminated with poison-producing plants, and these are being called "advanced technologies." It is also a known fact, that in two or three years, the bugs that you want them to be resistant to will actually be resistant to the plant and the toxin. Eventually, you will end up with super bugs, you will have super pests, and the super pests will then start to destroy our agriculture and the companies of course, say: "This doesn't matter. We look after it by creating new seeds that are even more toxic, with scorpion genes and rat genes and snake genes in them."
Is this really the kind of food we want? In my view, Golden Rice is a trap for Asian societies to become dependent on patented seeds and false promises while giving up the agricultural systems and technologies that have been based on women's knowledge and have fed people over millennia. An analysis of this "Golden Rice" shows that, at best, it will provide 33.3 micrograms of vitamin A per 100 grams of rice instead of 750 micrograms. This means that you would have to eat about 2.5 kilograms of rice daily to meet your basic requirements, while normally we eat 30 grams per meal. Who is able to eat that much rice daily? In India, the government allocates 10 kilograms of rice per month to an entire family. Thus, to remove vitamin A malnutrition, one individual would have to eat up the entire family's ration in three days, in order to inefficiently do what amaranth or fenugreek or other greens or bananas or mangoes or pumpkins are currently able to give us. In addition, it will also create protein, mineral and iron malnutrition.
Unfortunately, all these men who think rice comes out of research papers, have never seen a plant, they have never seen a full meal, they don't even know how much rice people eat. They are just doing calculations and looking at DNA that is not a full organism. All they know how to analyse are slivers of genes. They have never seen a fully integrated organism and they are trying to redesign the world on the basis of that very, very narrow vision. Precisely because they dont see the integration, they don't realise that it is not enough to produce more rice in the world. It is not enough to produce more wheat in the world. It is senseless to put vitamin A into rice when there are other very efficient ways of getting vitamin A. Moreover, if you don't have enough fat in your diet, you can't absorb vitamin A. If you don't have enough proteins, your vitamin A can't be carried through the blood stream. Therefore, it is obvious that we cannot get away from biological diversity and replace it by genetically engineered organisms.
At this point in time, there are 42 million tons of crops stocked in India's warehouses. Still, 320 million people are hungry. This is mainly due to mono-cultures and to a system, which although produces more and more surpluses, takes away people's agricultural rights, and the purchasing power to buy these surpluses. In order to reverse this trend, the rights of people to be involved in food production, the rights of women to keep the control of food production in their hands need to be restored and preserved. Food is not just a commodity. It is the basis of our livelihood. We need to preserve our diverse knowledge systems, our diverse food cultures and our rich biodiversity.
|Trading within the Principles of the National Environmental Management Act|
"Teamsters and turtles unite" was a slogan that came out of the protests against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Seattle last year. For the first time, American workers and environmentalists had a common agenda: to slow down, stop and reverse the rapid liberalisation of trade pursued by the WTO. Yet the World Wildlife Fund's campaign of a turtle, mournfully declaring: "I am not a trade barrier" had environmentalists from developing countries wondering whether Americans saw certain species as being more important than poor people.
That there are links between trade and environment is not in dispute. This has been largely agreed upon in the international arena and underlies many trade negotiations. Exactly what the links are in nature and extent is still being debated, both because of scientific uncertainty and because of vested interests in the interpretation of the linkages. There are two things that we have learnt that need to inform any decisions we make around trade and environment:
In South Africa we have a new environmental regulatory framework provided by the National Environmental Management Act (Act 107, 1998) known as NEMA. Our ability to manage environmental impacts associated with trade will largely depend on the robustness of this Act and how it is implemented.
What does NEMA have to say about trade?
Nothing is explicitly stated about trade in NEMA. However, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is one of several departments that is required to prepare an Environmental Implementation Plan (EIP) that:
In other words, NEMA asks: How will DTI ensure that what they do does not violate the principles of NEMA?
Chapter 1 of NEMA sets out approximately 20 principles for environmental management. Not all of these are directly relevant to trade, but they form an overarching framework within which decisions related to trade agreements should be made. In some instances, there appear to be direct conflicts between specific principles and trade agreements (see Table 1 and below).
A second area of NEMA that relates to trade is on international obligations and agreements. There are a number of instances where apparent conflicts between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and trade agreements have not been resolved at an international level. This leaves room for interpretation within South Africa and again highlights why a strong environmental regulatory framework is important and necessary. One example of potentially conflicting agreements is between the Biosafety Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organisation (see Table 1).
What are government departments doing to implement NEMA?
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) is invested with the overall responsibility of implementing NEMA. They are obliged to assist with the preparation of EIPs. DEAT has developed guidelines that departments should follow in the preparation of their EIPs.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is currently developing its EIP. This plan will be limited in scope and will not even attempt to tackle substantive issues relating to trade and environment. How then will we know whether DTIs activities violate the principles of NEMA? Clearly further work needs to be done to elaborate the links between trade and principles of environmental management for South Africa. Table 1 uses specific principles to identify where some conflicts have arisen or could arise between trade and environment. Little attention is being paid to these substantive issues by DTI or DEAT.
Trade, environment and sustainable development
Trade has been identified as an important means by which South Africa will meet some of its development goals, in particular economic growth. Unfortunately the way in which economic growth is pursued and measured takes no account of the principles underlying sustainable development as enacted in NEMA. A core principle of NEMA states that development should be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable which means that it should recognise certain features of the natural life-supporting system; as well as equity. Export-led growth as it is currently pursued does not consider these important elements that, if not taken into account, will constrain growth and make it unsustainable in the long term. This conflict at a conceptual and strategic level between two national goals of economic growth and environmental rights means that it will be difficult to reconcile the detailed elements of the policies, plans and programmes that support them. Nevertheless it is important to look at where conflicts might arise in the details. Table 1 provides some examples of where principles governing trade agreements and negotiations are in conflict or in potential conflict with the principles of NEMA.
Table 1: Linking national environmental management principles to trade
NEMA offers an opportunity to orient trade in a direction that supports sustainable development. It provides a good framework to strengthen national and local environmental management thereby ensuring that the costs associated with trade oriented production and consumption are not borne by the environment or people who are not benefiting from the trade. If NEMA is implemented successfully, we will have better information by which to assess the important but complex links between trade, environment and sustainable development thereby allowing for better decisions and policies.Ms Jessica Wilson, Environmental Monitoring Group, South Africa
|First Consultative Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Climate Change|
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Environment and Land Management Sector (ELMS) in collaboration with IUCN-The World Conservation Union called the 1st Consultative Meeting of the Southern African Development Community on Climate Change in preparation for the upcoming sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (13-24 November 2000, The Hague, The Netherlands). In response to this invitation, representatives from the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe met with NGOs, international organisations, the private sector and research institutions in Gaborone, Botswana from 18-20 October 2000 to review the UNFCCC COP-6 agenda and identify areas of common interest on the following topics: Implementation of Articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention, Capacity Building for Developing Countries, the Development and Transfer of Technology, Land use, Land use change and Forestry and the Clean Development Mechanism.
The countries of Southern Africa have thus far been constrained in their ability to effectively participate in the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol. At the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in February 2000, the Environment and Land Management Sector of SADC was requested to convene consultative meetings to assist the Member States to identify issues of concern for discussion in order to arrive at common positions and strategies. By coming together through SADC ELMS, the countries of Southern Africa resolve to co-ordinate efforts at the upcoming UNFCCC COP-6 negotiations. The Member States will work to ensure that decisions taken in The Hague maintain the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol and provide significant assistance to developing countries to contribute to the Convention's objectives in the form of adaptation measures, capacity building, and technology transfer.
The meeting participants arrived at the following conclusions and recommendations:
Implementation of Articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Southern Africa is among the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change, owing to widespread poverty, water scarcity, susceptibility to flood and drought, inequitable land distribution and dependence on agriculture. Information from the draft IPCC Third Assessment Report suggests that climate change would exacerbate problems associated with food and water security, and therefore poses a serious challenge to the sustainable development of the region. Though options for adaptation are theoretically available, they may be beyond the ability of countries in Southern Africa to implement in a timely manner unless concerted action is taken to improve capacity and access to information and resources.
The meeting participants therefore call for the creation of an Adaptation Fund that is country-driven, as well as immediate support through Global Environment Facility, Official Development Assistance and International Financial Institutions to assist ongoing and proposed initiatives to adapt to climate change in an anticipatory manner. The meeting participants are concerned that efforts to address the impacts of response measures to climate change will detract from much-needed climate change adaptation measures. They also agreed that a decision on Article 4.8 and 4.9 should be separate from a decision on the implementation of Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol.
Capacity Building for Developing Countries
Southern Africa lacks the ability to harness existing capacity and resources to address climate change at the regional level and effectively contribute to the objectives of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol. Specific capacity building efforts should be targeted to enhance existing initiatives to identify climate change vulnerability and adaptation response options, provide an enabling environment for technology transfer, encourage measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare national communications.
Efforts to raise public awareness of climate change and public participation in the climate change debate should be substantially enhanced. Capacity building must be country-driven and lead to specific outcomes such as the implementation of national strategies and action plans and the maintenance of regional centres of excellence. Taking into account the draft framework on capacity building for developing countries, the meeting participants call for additional guidance to the Global Environment Facility to support existing capacity building efforts.
Development and Transfer of Technology
Southern Africa receives a small share of foreign direct investment and technology transfer. A number of obstacles limit technology transfer including institutional, economic, political, and technological barriers. Proactive efforts are needed under the Convention to assist ongoing initiatives to assess technology needs and facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for technology transfer in both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. National Systems of Innovation, as described in the IPCC Special Report on Technology Transfer, would provide the necessary first step in capacity building, training and research, and information networks in order to provide an enabling environment for technology transfer in developing countries.
The meeting participants acknowledge the important role of the private sector in providing the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries. Taking into account the draft framework for meaningful and effective technology transfer, the meeting participants call for the creation of a fast-track mechanism to assist current efforts in providing an enabling environment and undertaking technology needs assessments.
Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry
As recognised by the IPCC, the primary means of achieving the objectives of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol is through activities to reduce emissions in the energy sector. Allowing industrialised countries to utilise land use change and forest activities in meeting emission reduction commitments should not replace this primary focus and should only be undertaken in a manner which ensures real and permanent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Southern Africa is at a disadvantage compared to other regions in regard to potential projects in the land use change and forest sector under the Clean Development Mechanism due to the low carbon densities of the region's ecosystems. But soil sequestration projects may provide an opportunity to improve soil productivity, which would in turn enhance food security, biodiversity and efforts to combat desertification. The meeting participants are therefore greatly concerned that the options currently under consideration are unlikely to benefit the sustainable development of the region. They are further concerned that there is insufficient information about land use, land use change and forest activities to take an informed decision on this topic at UNFCCC COP-6.
Clean Development Mechanism
The meeting participants strongly believe that the primary means for Annex I Parties to achieve their emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol should be through domestic action. Allowing industrialised countries to utilise the Clean Development Mechanism should only be supplemental to these domestic efforts. Projects pursued under the Clean Development Mechanism must assist developing countries in achieving their sustainable development objectives. The meeting participants recognised the role of both host country responsibility and international criteria in determining sustainable development benefits to developing countries.
The three proposed institutional designs for the Clean Development Mechanism -- the bilateral approach, the multilateral approach and the unilateral approach -- were considered. Based on the very limited number of projects in Africa undertaken through Activities Implemented Jointly, the meeting participants are greatly concerned about the geographic distribution of projects and the lack of capacity to design and implement projects. Southern Africa will face many challenges in meaningfully participating in the Clean Development Mechanism. Potential projects under the Clean Development Mechanism do exist, however these opportunities will go unexploited in the absence of substantial capacity building and technology transfer.
The meeting participants encourage SADC Member States to bundle projects on a regional basis in order to make them more attractive to investors. They also recognise the potentially important role of regional financial institutions in assisting project development, and encourage the Development Bank for Southern Africa to become actively involved in regional climate change initiatives. The meeting participants strongly believe that a share of the proceeds from all three of the flexible mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol should be used to establish an Adaptation Fund in order to assist developing countries in implementing anticipatory adaptation measures.
The Role of SADC in the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol
The meeting participants recognise the vital role of SADC ELMS in facilitating and co-ordinating regional efforts to proactively address the issue of climate change. It is recommended that SADC ELMS:
The meeting participants recognise the invaluable role of non-governmental organisations, international organisations, the private sector and research institutions in contributing to the region's work on climate change and encourage SADC Member States to seek their advice and guidance at UNFCCC COP-6 and in their future efforts to address climate change.
The following SADC Member States, NGOs, International Organisations, private sector and research institutions contributed to the above conclusions and recommendations:
The meeting participants would like to express their gratitude to IUCN-The World Conservation Union and SADC ELMS for co-organising the 1st Meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Climate Change; their appreciation to the Department of Meteorological Services, Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication of the Government of Botswana for co-hosting the event; their thankfulness to the UNFCCC Secretariat for its attendance and valuable contributions; and their special thanks to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH for its generous support.
In the implementation of the commitments in this Article, the Parties shall give full consideration to what actions are necessary under the Convention, including actions related to funding, insurance and the transfer of technology, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising form the adverse effects of climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures,
The Parties shall take full accounts of the specific needs and special situations of the least developed countries in their actions with regard to funding and transfer of technology.
Africa General Assembly
On 22 September 2000, GLOBE Southern Africa convened a General Assembly at the South African parliament in Cape Town. Members from throughout the Southern and East African region had gathered for the occasion of the GLOBE Southern Africa Conference on Environmental Security in Africa, making this the perfect opportunity to hold a General Assembly in which a number of important issues pertaining to the organisation were discussed. A report of the previous two years of activities was presented to the GLOBE members along with a four-year programme of planned future activities. The financial report was also presented for the members to scrutinise and small amendments were made to the GLOBE Southern Africa Constitution before being formally adopted.
The highlight of the General Assembly, however, was the lively election of the president and two vice-presidents. Mr Stéfan Grové, MP (National Assembly of South Africa) was elected for a second two-year term as President of GLOBE Southern Africa. Ms Rosemary Yikona, MP (National Assembly of Zambia) and Mr John Ken-Lukyamuzi, MP (Parliament of Uganda) were elected as the two new Vice-Presidents of the organisation. Ms Yikona will also act as GLOBE Southern Africa's Vice-President to GLOBE International until September 2001.
The report of activities and the project for 2001-2005 are available from the GLOBE Regional Office in Southern Africa.
World Conservation Union and GLOBE International sign Memorandum of Understanding
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed by Senator Akiko Domoto, President of GLOBE International and Maritta Koch-Weser, Director General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which will see the two organisations collaborate in the context of their regional programmes and in line with their strategic priorities. According to the MoU, signed on the occasion of the World Conservation Congress in Jordan on the 6th of October 2000, "IUCN will seek to utilise GLOBEs unique membership and organisational capacity within its programmes, especially at the regional and country levels. Where appropriate, IUCN will also include GLOBE and its membership in task forces, fora for the environment, and other related activities."
GLOBE members throughout the world will therefore find themselves benefiting greatly from this agreement, as it will see "both GLOBE and IUCN amplify their resources, expand their social area of influence and strengthen their existing capacities to reach parliamentarians with relevant and up-to-date environmental information."
Mr Stéfan Grové MP, President of GLOBE Southern Africa, who was also attending the signing ceremony, added: "This new agreement will highly benefit parliamentarians in Africa. In this part of the world, parliamentarians need proper and improved access to environmental information. This will enable them to take environmentally-sound decisions in their respective parliaments and to produce good environmental legislation".