Governments Express Strong Concerns About Biofuel


Richard Moore

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Governments Express Strong Concerns About Biofuel Impacts On Biodiversity

Published on Friday, July 06, 2007
by Healthy News Service

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Government Experts at UN Body Expresses Strong Concern About Biofuel Impacts on 

Global Justice Ecology Project/Global Forest Coalition, July 6, 2007
Straight to the Source

Paris, France--An overwhelming majority of governments, including Norway, 
Sweden, Germany and Indonesia expressed serious concerns about the risks of 
large-scale production of biofuels to forests, ecosystems, indigenous peoples 
and local communities at a meeting of a UN scientific advisory body on 
biodiversity in Paris this week [1]. Several governments called for a 
precautionary approach to biofuels.

A large number of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organizations from around the 
world present at this meeting also expressed their concerns and called for a 
profound scientific assessment of the risks of biofuels and a moratorium on all 
forms of financial support to biofuels pending the outcomes of this assessment, 
based on the precautionary principle.

"The island where I live, Marajo island in the Amazon delta, is expected to 
drown in the coming 30 years due to global warming, but the Brazilian government
is only pushing false solutions", says Edna Maria da Costa e Silva of the 
Cooperativa Ecologica das Mulheres Extractivistas do Marajo. "My government 
[Brazil] claims they support development, but they do not support my community 
in producing sustainable bio-oils for local consumption, they only support 
large-scale agrofuel production for urban consumers." she added.

At the Paris meeting, Brazil blocked the consensus of countries to develop a 
process to begin to address the negative impacts of biofuels, which are already 
being felt in numerous locations around the world.  At the same time, Brazil's 
President Lula is touring Europe to promote biofuels as a green solution to 
climate change.

"There is a clear strategy of the Brazilian government to block any 
consideration of the social and environmental impacts of agrofuels, as this may 
interfere with their commercial interests", adds Mateus Trevisan of MST, the 
Brazilian Landless Workers Movement.  Trevisan continued, "They are only 
promoting large monocultures and defending  the interests of sugar cane 
companies and biotechnology corporations like  Syngenta, which has 
representatives on Brazil's delegation here. This strategy is not going to 
benefit the Brazilian people."

A UN report released a few weeks ago [2] warned that large-scale production of 
biofuels is already having devastating impacts on Indigenous Peoples, whose 
lands are being targeted for oil palm expansion and the expansion of other 
monocultures, triggered by the commodity boom caused by steeply rising demands 
for biofuels.

Use of large scale tree monoculture plantations, including genetically modified 
trees, are planned for second generation biofuel production.

"We came here seeking a solution for the problems that agrofuels are already 
costing our communities," said Marcial Arias from Kuna Yala (Panama), adding 
"now we are leaving frustrated seeing how the governments not only are not 
addressing our concerns they are promoting even more of these destructive 
agrofuels projects on our land."

Joint Release by Global Forest Coalition, EcoNexus, Global Justice Ecology 
Project, World Rainforest Movement, MST-Brazil's Landless Worker Movement, 
Timberwatch Coalition, BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany, NABU/BirdLife Germany,
Sobrevivencia /Friends of the Earth Paraguay, STOP GE Campaign North America

[1] The Twelfth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technological and 
Technical Advice (SBSTTA) to the Un Convention on Biological Diversity took 
place in Paris, France, July 2-6, 2007.

[2] The report of the Special rapporteur of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues "Oil palm and Othr Commercial Tree Plantations, Monocropping andf the 
Impacts on Indigenous peoples' Land Tenure and Resource Management Systems and 

Provided by Organic Consumers Association on 7/6/2007

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