Pat Mooney

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Mooney_PatPat Mooney, a Canadian, is the co-founder and executive director of ETC group – an international civil society organization headquartered in Canada with offices in Mexico, Philippines, Nigeria and USA. ETC group has consultative status with ECOSOC, FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNFCCC, IPCC and the UN Biodiversity Convention. Since 1977, ETC group has focused on the role of new technologies on the lives and livelihoods of marginalized peoples around the world. Pat Mooney has almost half a century of experience working in international civil society, first addressing aid and development issues and then focusing on food, agriculture and commodity trade. He received The Right Livelihood Award (the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in the Swedish Parliament in 1985 and the Pearson Peace Prize from Canada’s Governor General in 1998. He has also received the American “Giraffe Award” given to people “who stick their necks out.”

The author or co-author of several books on the politics of biotechnology and biodiversity, Pat Mooney is widely regarded as an authority on issues of agricultural diversity, global governance, and corporate concentration. Although much of ETC’s work continues to emphasize plant genetics and agriculture, the work expanded in the early 1980s to include biotechnology. In the late 1990s, the work expanded further to encompass a succession of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, geoengineering, and new developments ranging from genomics and neurosciences to robotics and 3-D printing.

Pat Mooney and ETC group are known for having discovered and named The Terminator seeds – Genetically-modified seeds designed to die at harvest so that farmers can sell the commodity but can’t replant the seeds and must go back to the marketplace to buy proprietary seeds from companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. Likewise, Mooney and ETC group were the first to describe the appropriation and patenting of indigenous plants and medicines as “biopiracy”.  ETC’s opposition to biopiracy and the patenting of plants and other lifeforms ultimately led to the establishment of a legally-binding seed treaty.

ETC group has used its experience in the UN system to establish three moratoria related to potentially harmful technologies. In 2000, ETC achieved a consensus moratorium of all UN member nations against the release of Terminator (“suicide seed”) technologies and defended the moratorium from attacks by global seed companies in 2006. In 2008, ETC achieved a second consensus moratorium on ocean fertilization as a means of sequestering carbon dioxide as a response to climate change. In 2010, ETC expanded the 2008 moratorium to include all forms of geoengineering including solar radiation management. At the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, ETC succeeded in having governments both endorse the ocean fertilization moratorium and call for global and regional technology assessment to protect the world from potentially hazardous new technologies.  Currently, ETC is working with governments and the UN Secretariat to establish a UN technology assessment facility. Simultaneously, ETC is working with partners around the world to establish Technology Observation Platforms on each continent. Each regional TOPS will be controlled by regional and national social movements and civil society organizations.

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