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Declaration signed to save indigenous culture by rejecting GM crops

Declaration signed to save indigenous culture by rejecting GM crops

Academics, experts, indigenous people and farmers from Taiwan and eight countries signed the "Taiwan Declaration" that seeks protection of indigenous cultures and rejects genetically modified (GM) crops, in Taipei Sunday.

Climate change has had an adverse impact on the indigenous people's culture and livelihood around the world, because they can no longer grow their traditional crops as a result, said Lin Yih-ren, chair of the Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine of Taipei Medical University.

The declaration, signed on the first day of the two-day inaugural alliance meeting of the International Network of Indigenous Ecological Farmers (INIEF) at the university, said in order to prevent the harm that could be created by GM crops to the environment, indigenous people will not plant such crops, but will seek the help of farmers and international seed banks to find suitable replacements to be grown on their land.

It also calls for support from governments and international organizations in the INIEF's efforts to tackle challenges facing indigenous people, and welcomes indigenous people, farmers' groups and other organizations to join the network.

The participants urged government leaders, including President- elect Tsai Ing-wen, who will take office May 20, to introduce progressive policies for indigenous people and protect their eco-system.

Several of the participants of the Sunday meeting have taken part in a series of workshops held in four indigenous communities around Taiwan since March 11 and exchanged their experiences with farming and environmental protection issues.

Organizers said the meeting was devised based on the concepts behind the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, which was launched during a Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan in 2010.

The partnership, according to its website, "promotes collaboration in the conservation and restoration of sustainable human-influenced natural environments through broader global recognition of their value."

Updated : 2022-05-18 18:52 GMT+08:00