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 . 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  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
Check for earlier Pacific Biofuel posts: http://pacbiofuel.blogspot.com/