27th July 2009
The workshop was organized by a collective of civil society organizations including Food Trade and Nutrition Coalition Asia, Institute of Development Studies Jaipur, Gene Campaign, CECOEDECON, and Pairvi at India Habitat Centre, Delhi on 27th July 2009. The workshop witnessed participation of more than 50 organizations from Delhi and other states. The participants included WWF India, RIS, Oxfam India, CENTAD, Delhi Science Forum, SADED. Speaking at an interactive workshop organized by a collective of civil society organizations, ex-chief economic advisor to Government of India and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Nitin Desai, said that we must address the issues of denial within our efforts to ensure food security. He said that common property resources are getting gobbled up and we must link planning and execution at Panchayat level to make the anti poverty programmes more inclusive and locally owned. He added that climate change is the latest threat to long term food security and civil society organizations can make a huge contribution in terms of bringing more information on manifestations of climate change from the grass roots level. We must identify who will be adversely affected and try to plan which puts them in the centre.
Dr. Suman Sahai, leading geneticist and biotechnology expert said that India has been unable to handle international negotiations with skill; however, it has improved recently at negotiations at the WTO under pressure from the peoples at home. She emphasized the fact that though Convention on Bio-Diversity, makes it clear that it will have an overriding effect over all other international treaties and WTO regulated international trade framework must respect that. She added that rules of international trade should factor in the climate change. Dr. Devinder Sharma, well known agriculture scientist and food security expert insisted that the government approach to climate change is flawed. He said that under the NAPCC government is spending huge amounts of money on GM crops and research hoping that it will help the country combat food security and climate change, which is totally impossible. Trade and climate change linkages should be explored more and civil society needs to focus on that interconnectedness and watch that. The major achievement of the workshop was that it came up with a collective determined to work on issues of sustainable agriculture, food entitlement and climate change.