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It's none of my business


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It's none of my business

  1. 1. It’s none of my business! Rose Williams Biowatch Director
  2. 2. Legal case1.Access to Information on Genetically Modified crops)2.Appeal against a costs order> Dept of Agriculture > > > High Court > > > Supreme Court> > > Constitutional Court
  3. 3. The “players”1.Biowatch2.Department of Agriculture3.Monsanto4.Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company5.Delta & Pineland South Africa6.Support – Legal Resources Centre, ODAC, Centre for ChildLaw, Lawyers for Human Rights, Centre for Applied LegalStudies7.Civil society
  4. 4. The first issue - GM crops
  5. 5. The speed1992 First field trials of maize1997 First commercial plantings of maize in 19972000 GM crops cover 100,000 ha of South African land, 175 field trials are underway, and 5 commercial releases have been approved
  6. 6. Example of a GM maize crop: Bt maize•Scientists take genes that produce a toxin from a bacterium(Bacillus thuringiensis) and force these into the DNA of plantcells.•Each cell of the plant then produces the toxin – the mielie, the leaves, the stem, flowers, pollen and roots.•Goal: to kill certain target pests, but …
  7. 7. Approved in a context:● Public awareness? X● Independent research? X● Environmental Impact Assessment? X● Approval by neighbours? X
  8. 8. Time line● 1997 GM maize and GM cotton approved in SA● 2002 Court papers served● 2003 Monsanto joins state● 2004 Pretoria High Court● 2005 Ruling – access to info, acting in the public interest, but costs order● 2006 Biowatch can appeal
  9. 9. Time line● 2007 Appeal heard● 2008 Appeal dismissed● 2008 Appeal to Supreme Court● 2008 Appeal to SC dismissed with costs● 2009 Appeal to Constitutional Court● 2009 Costs order over-turned ●T
  10. 10. Organisations acting in the public interest can litigate without expecting the chilling effectof costs orders being made against them
  11. 11. Who is Biowatch South Africa? Founded in 1997 as an environmental and social justice NGO, we work with small-holder farmers, other civil society organisations and government to ensure that people have control over their food, agricultural practices and land within a bio-diverse, agro-ecological and sustainable system.Key focus areas: Biodiversity | Food Sovereignty | Biosafety | Social JusticeTwo-fold approach:•Advocacy, research and networking•Work on the ground with small-holder farmers
  12. 12. • Advocacy, research and networking