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Friday, May. 30, 2003 at 7:14 AM
Via Campesina is an international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and
middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from
Asia, Africa, America, and Europe. It is an autonomous, pluralistic movement, independent from
all political, economic, or other denomination. It is integrated by national and regional
organizations whose autonomy is jealously respected.
Call to Action
Sacramento, CA, June 22-25, 2003
Via Campesina denounces the Sacramento "Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and
Technology" and insists that governments do not participate in this event
Ministers of Trade, Agriculture and Environment from 180 nations, including all member states of the World
Trade Organization (WTO), are expected to participate on June 22-25 in Sacramento California (United
States) in a conference hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USAID, and the US
State Department. This meeting will be a stepping stone to the September WTO Ministerial in Cancun and the
Summit of the Americas on FTAA scheduled for Miami in November. The Sacramento Conference will be
held at the same time as the "Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology" that will highlight the "benefits"
of transnational agribusiness and biotechnology. The two events are not open to the public.
Through the Conference and Expo the US government wants to impose its coporate agricultural agenda on the
rest of the world, including new technologies such as genetic engineering. We understand that the US
government is trying to usurp the process of the World Food Summit held in June 2002 by the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) by
claiming that the Sacramento Conference is a "follow up to the Rome Summit."
We also understand that the US government is trying to negotiate with the European Union over a second
"Blair House" agreement to be imposed worldwide through WTO (World trade Organisation). The "Blair
House Agreement" was a bi-lateral agreement between the US-government and the European Commission of
the European Union maintaining support for corporate, export oriented agriculture at the expense of small
farmers and peasants, food producers around the world. This agreement was subsequently imposed on
virtually all countries who participated in the Uruguay Round, the round of GATT negotiations that led also to
the creation of the WTO.
We understand that this Conference will be used by the US government to remove obstacles to US corporate
interests on the road to WTO Ministerial Conference and the Summit of the Americas. Via Campesina calls
upon its organisations and other social movements to:
- Denounce this event publicly and organise protest,
- Question their parliaments and governments and demand that they denounce this Conference and cancel their
- Participate in protest actions organised by the US social movements and at the international level.
What can you?
- Write to your agriculture, environmental and trade ministers to make your position know,
- Inform local and national media so that they will be aware how contentious this issue is,
- Ask Deputees to raise the issue in Parliament
- Make your proposals for action known and post them on
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