Sponsored by AgroEcology Fund, CS Fund, GRACE Communications Foundation, and The Nell Newman Foundation
Co-Sponsored by Biodiversity Funders Group
Gene drives are genetic engineering technologies purported to improve seeds and combat pests and disease. These genetic technologies are designed for herbicide tolerance or to introduce traits into seeds, weeds, and insects. What are the threats they pose, and what might the risks be to biodiversity, food security, smallholder livelihoods, and food sovereignty?
Many indigenous people, farming communities, and farmer and consumer groups advocate for a moratorium of on-field use of these emerging technologies, and this debate has moved into negotiations at the UN Convention on Biodiversity. In this webinar, we’ll hear from a scientist, community leader, grassroots organizer, and funder about the implications of synthetic biology and gene drives and what we can do to ensure public safety.
Mariam Mayet, executive director, African Centre for Biodiversity
Maywa Montenegro,post-doctoral research fellow, UC Davis
Dana Perls, senior food and agriculture campaigner, Friends of the Earth
Moderated byBob Scowcroft, trustee, The Nell Newman Foundation
Introduction by Angela Cordeiro, program director, AgroEcology Fund
Registration for this webinar is limited to funders only. Funders are considered those organizations using grantmaking or investments as a core strategy to fulfill their mission and who make grants or invest more than $50,000 annually.
About the Webinar Speakers
ANGELA CORDEIRO, AgroEcology Fund Angela Cordeiro is a program director for the AgroEcology Fund. Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and M.Sc. in Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources. Her involvement with Agroecology started in 1983, as co-founder of the Ecological Agriculture Group at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, which is still in operation. During the first 12 years of her professional carrier, she worked in the non-governmental sector that started the agroecological movement in Brazil. Since 1998, she have been working as a consultant, collaborating with the social movements, the NGO sector in Brazil and abroad, Brazilian governmental bodies and multilateral agencies. Angela joined the Advisory Board of the Agroecology Fund in 2015 and as Program Director in 2019.
MARIAM MAYET, African Centre for Biodiversity Mariam Mayet is the executive director of the African Centre for Biodiversity. She established the African Centre for Biosafety (now the African Centre for Biodiversity) in 2003–a nonprofit organization working in the public interest and based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Under Mariam’s leadership, the ACB has earned a respected record of evidence-based work and plays a vital role in the food sovereignty struggles on the African continent. The ACB champions some of the new thinking on seed sovereignty policy, rooted in agroecological discourses and has spearheaded work on opposing unsustainable and socially just food systems rooted in industrial agriculture, especially genetic engineering of seed and crops. Mariam has actively participated in several international negotiations including those culminating in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Liability and Redress, where she actively lobbied for the protection of the rights of smallholder farmers.
MAYWA MONTENEGRO DE WIT, UC Davis Maywa Montenegro is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis. In her work, she draws on political ecology, science and technology studies, and rural sociology to address issues of seed diversity and access to it. Her research spans the development of gene editing technologies to the emergence of social movement-scientist partnerships advancing agroecology, food and seed sovereignty, and alternatives to intellectual property. She holds a BA from Williams College, an MS from M.I.T., and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.
DANA PERLS, Friends of the Earth Dana Perls is the senior food and agriculture campaigner with Friends of the Earth and leads the Food and Agriculture team’s international and national regulatory and market campaigns on biotechnology and genetic engineering. Dana coordinates an international coalition of advocates at the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, serves as an advisor to the National Organic Standards Board, works with companies in the organic and natural products industry to protect their supply chain, and organizes with affected communities on the frontline of industrial agriculture. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth, she was the Northern California community organizer with Pesticide Watch, where she led regional campaigns to ban or regulate toxic pesticides used in agriculture. Dana served in the Peace Corps in Panama. She holds a Masters in City Planning from U.C. Berkeley in CA and a B.A. from Cornell University.
BOB SCOWCROFT, The Nell Newman Foundation Bob Scowcroft has successfully transitioned from a “retirement” state of mind into a more active composition of consultant, volunteer, and advocacy-oriented activities. He currently serves as a trustee of the Nell Newman Foundation, Inc., and sits on four nonprofit advisory boards. He previously served as executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), a national organization based in Santa Cruz, CA. The organization was co-founded by Bob and two certified organic farmers in 1990.