By Various Organizations
AVINA and Ashoka are two foundations linked to big capital that promote an industrial agriculture model based on transgenics, as well as the privatization of common goods such as water or forests. Not forgetting its strong connection to the deadly asbestos industry.
Due to the growing trend towards the privatization of foreign aid and the alliances of the business sector with governments (public-private partnership), the organizations that signed this manifesto want to publicly expose some of the foundations that with the excuse of “cooperation international ”and other strategies such as Corporate Social Responsibility, in reality act to legitimize tremendously negative social and environmental forms of production, such as some agrarian programs that greatly harm peasant agriculture and increase food insecurity, privatization projects of the water, large-scale logging, intensive use of toxic substances - such as pesticides, asbestos, mercury - and a long etcetera.
One of the most prominent is the AVINA Foundation, which was founded by asbestos magnate Stephan Schmidheiny, whose fortune was made from the lethal mineral business at the cost of the health and lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world. planet. In fact, on February 13, 2012 he was sentenced in Turin - along with the Belgian Louis de Cartier, another of the asbestos magnates - to 16 years in prison and to compensation for more than 100 million euros. The crimes for which they have been convicted are "permanent malicious environmental disaster and malicious omission of protection measures at work." In fact, the manufacture of asbestos in the world is the greatest industrial tragedy in history, so the signatory organizations want to make clear their unequivocal support for the victims of this material and their families, as well as the global ban on its use. .
In addition, Schmidheiny has been a director of Nestlé, the Union of Swiss Banks, and ABS Brown, among other multinationals. The current president of AVINA, Brizio Biondi-Morra, was the manager of the multinational chemical DuPont, one of the global corporations that promote transgenic crops.
On the other hand, in places like the north of Brazil, the roofs of the buildings of indigenous reserves are being replaced by asbestos tiles, in a process promoted and stimulated by government institutions, which in turn are pressured by these industrial groups. . Thus, the ancestral knowledge of the use of straw linked to the sustainable use of the forest is lost, while this dangerous toxin is introduced into the villages.
In the case of Ashoka, the foundation is chaired in Spain by a former director of the JP Morgan bank, one of the international banks with more responsibility for the current financial crisis and for speculation in the agri-food markets. Other founders have been linked to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. or General Electric.
Part of the activities of these foundations have to do with the development of the "green revolution" in the world, based on the abusive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the expansion of destructive monocultures, large estates and production for export. For example, AVINA counts among its prominent partners the Argentine Gustavo Brobocopatel, one of the largest producers of transgenic soy that causes tragic socio-environmental consequences.
Ashoka, for his part, supports the AGRA (Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa) program. The AGRA program is headed by a group of large corporations and foundations such as Gates or Rockefeller. Behind the millionaire financing projects, what is hidden is the promotion of a new “green revolution”, which generates indebtedness and dependence on toxic agrochemicals, seeds subject to intellectual property rights and genetically modified crops. This will displace peasant communities and destroy local knowledge and seeds, leading to increased hunger and poverty. It consists, in short, in the propagation of a series of projects that will favor the installation of multinational agribusiness companies on the continent, including Monsanto. The Gates Foundation has given AGRA $ 456 million, and in 2006 hired Robert Horsch, a Monsanto executive for 25 years, to work on the project. For example, in Kenya about 70% of AGRA-funded projects work directly with Monsanto and nearly 80% of Gates' funding in the country involves genetic engineering.
In the growing trend towards the privatization of foreign aid and the merger of the business sector with governments, AGRA has become a useful tool for the interests of private companies and Western governments, eager to privatize land and water for crops of export, agrofuels and creation of carbon sinks.
An important part of the strategy of foundations such as AVINA and Ashoka is based on turning the negative environmental consequences of neoliberal policies into new “commodities”, that is, into merchandise and new business opportunities, without addressing the real reasons that cause these problems . They are a strand of a more extensive and complex fabric, with direct roots in the cold war, but also earlier, especially in anti-colonial struggles.
For all these reasons, the organizations that sign this manifesto defend Food Sovereignty and a fundamental change in agricultural policies in the long term to recover local food economies and, to the best of their ability, declare that they will continue to fight in defense of seeds peasant women, against transgenics, against the privatization of public goods, against the use of asbestos and in support of their victims, against transnational companies such as Monsanto and against initiatives such as AGRA. Also against the foundations that encourage in a more or less disguised way these initiatives, such as AVINA and Ashoka.
Request for Adhesion to Collectives and Entities that agree with this Manifesto:
Many Latin American and Spanish social and environmental organizations are promoting this manifesto against the negative consequences of the activity of foundations linked to big capital such as Avina and Ashoka.
In this link, at the bottom of the page you can sign directly
We would be grateful if you would sign it as an organization, as well as if you spread it out among those groups and entities that you think may be interested.
Term: until May 31. Then we will continue collecting signatures, but the idea is to make it public (along with the list of signatures) in June, before Rio + 20.
You can also send your adhesions directly to [email protected]