Experts on the platform of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) have raised the alarm that Africa is becoming a dumping ground for ‘Emerging Technologies’ by philanthropic-capitalist circles.
Some of the emerging technologies according to them include Greenhouse Gas Removal, Ocean Fertilisation, Artificial upwelling, Carbon Capture and Storage, Marine Cloud Brightening, Cirrus Cloud Thinning and Weather modification among others
The Experts further stated that the impact of some of these emerging technologies include threats to food security, false solutions, use of gene drives as weapons, loss of indigenous and sovereign territories and ethics which will deny victims’ rights to claim damages
HOMEF Director, Dr Nnimmo Bassey in his welcome remarks at the opening ceremony of the 5th Edition of the School of Ecology(second to be held in Abuja), with the theme “Emerging Technologies Implications for Africa” which began in Abuja, Yesterday said “the other streak of technological advancement is in relation to food and agriculture. He noted that traditional biotechnology has been practiced by humans from time immemorial.
Dr Bassey who stated that the application of modern agricultural biotechnology specifically the commercialisation of genetically engineered organisms is barely three decades old, noted that three decades may not be sufficient to study the impacts of these artificial organisms, noting that scientist have moved on to produce population-scale genetic engineering driving for intentional species extinction.
The Environmentalist further stated that easily weaponised technologies are being promoted by vested interest in the military and philanthropic-capitalist circles.
“These risky and largely unregulated technologies are set to be unleashed in the world’s favorite laboratory, Africa, where we are all considered expendable guinea pigs. Bioterrorism is a real threat, especially in regions best seen as store houses of raw materials for global technological production” he said
He stressed the need to ponder on why it is so difficult to invest in nature based solutions rather than fighting against nature.
Representing the Ministry of Environment, Director Department of Climate Change (DCC) DR Yerima Peter Tarfar said “There are institutions, such as the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) that are looking at Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in itself, he noted that it is not that government allows everything to come into the country, “the NBMA has the mandate to critically take a look at what is coming in for the safety and wellbeing of the people”.
“For us we are looking at the aspects of the application of technology for climate change. Of recent the government has applied to the Sovereign Climate Fund to undertake technology NEEDS assessment and how relevant the technology is. We will also do a scoping to see the available indigenous knowledge and technology which can be applied and harvest such knowledge for the good of Nigeria”
The Director further revealed that the federal government sees the youths as strategic stakeholders because of their vibrant and innovative energy and will through the upcoming Youth Innovative Forum bring 60 youths from the 6 Geo-political zones and select projects that the government will promote to logical conclusions.
He stated that such innovations will create jobs and give a sense of belonging to the youth as the President had promised youth involvement in climate governance
The School of Ecology is sponsored by HOMEF with support from the ETC Group, Canada (working at global levels with partner civil society organisations), Copagen, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and Terre A’ Vie.