!! History Commons Alert, Exciting News

Profile: Suriname

Suriname was a participant or observer in the following events:

The Scientific Body of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (SBSTTA) rejects proposals during a meeting in Montreal to recommend a permanent moratorium on genetic use restriction technologies (GURT). GURTs are those which use genetic engineering to restrict the growth of plants in order to protect the intellectual property rights of the seed developer. The most well-known restriction technology is “terminator” technology (see 1994 and after). Another is “traitor” technology, so named because the traits of seeds and plants produced with this technology can be genetically controlled, e.g., a certain proprietary chemical may be required in order for certain genes to be expressed. The proposal to ban GURTs was made after a report by a blue-ribbon scientific panel was presented before the SBSTTA. The report had concluded that restriction technologies are a threat to agricultural biodiversity and national food security. The delegates at the meeting reportedly agreed that the study was broadly based and well done. After listening to the report, the government of Norway proposed that the SBSTTA recommend a moratorium on field trials and commercialization of the technology. India, Portugal, Kenya, Peru, and several other countries backed the proposal. The US opposed it, as did Canada—though only the US delegation attempted to defend the technology. One of the concerns expressed by supporters of the proposal was that terminator technology could be used to strong arm poorer countries into adopting or accepting certain trade policies. Countries like the US, it was suggested, could withhold seed or the chemicals needed to sustain the growth of chemically dependent plants as a sort of ransom. With the US and Canada opposed to Norway’s proposal, an alternative resolution was drafted by Britain (and then amended by Suriname). Though different than Norway’s, Britain’s proposal would have also recommended a ban on commercialization and field trials. But this was not considered agreeable either. Finally, a “contact group” was formed, which went into private discussion. The compromise that resulted from the closed-door meeting looked nothing like either of the original proposals. Under the provisions of the compromise resolution, governments would have the option of imposing a ban on field trials and commercialization. It failed to affirm the conclusions of the Blue Panel report, making no mention of GURT posing a direct threat to biodiversity or national sovereignty over genetic resources. “I don’t know what happened in that room,” Silvia Ribeiro of Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) says, “There were two reasonably strong resolutions when they went in and one very weak proposal when they came out. I think the South has been tricked.” The new proposal was then weakened even further by the efforts of Australia. Even an industry representative took a stab at weakening the proposal. “In the feeding frenzy, a representative from the seed industry became so excited that he took the floor, presumed the prerogative of a government, and proposed additional resolution text to restrict farmers’ rights to save, exchange, and sell farm-saved seed,” according to RAFI. The following day, during a plenary discussion, RAFI called attention to a little noticed provision that had been slipped into the draft by Australia as an amendment. RAFI noted that it would restrict countries’ rights to impose a moratorium on GURT by linking any moratorium to potential trade sanctions. “Shortly before the debate ended, the US delegation made an ugly and aggressive intervention that put the question to rest: The US bluntly threatened trade sanctions on countries that impose a moratorium and made clear that it was willing to use the WTO to force terminator down the world’s throat,” according to RAFI. [Rural Advancement Foundation International, 6/25/1999; Convention on Biodiversity, 6/27/1999, pp. 23-26 pdf file; Convention on Biodiversity, 6/27/1999; Rural Advancement Foundation International, 6/28/1999; Economic Times of India, 7/8/1999]

Entity Tags: Suriname, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, Portugal, United States, United Kingdom, Peru, Kenya, Australia, Canada, Norway, India

Timeline Tags: Seeds

After a two-day conference in the resort town of Montego Bay, Jamaica, energy officials from a number of Caribbean countries agree to a proposal by Venezuela to form a new oil company that would distribute crude and refined oil products to Caribbean countries under preferential terms. A commission led by Venezuela will devise a plan for the new company, to be called PetroCaribe, and a follow-up meeting will take place in the Bahamas in November. “PetroCaribe should be a catalyst for the introduction of alternative approaches to market access… and correction of the various pricing inequities that prevail in some markets,” the officials say in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the conference. Many of the countries are concerned that high energy prices will devastate their economies and lead to social unrest. Another initiative proposed by Venezuela during the conference is the establishment of a fund to provide grants for health, education, and housing programs in the Caribbean. Countries participating in the talks include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. [Associated Press, 8/27/2005]

Entity Tags: Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Thirteen Caribbean countries, led by Venezuela, sign the Petrocaribe Alliance, an energy cooperation agreement that will allow member nations to purchase oil from Venezuela under preferential terms. The agreement, signed during a one-day regional summit in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, calls for the establishment of a regional refinery network overseen by Venezuela that will produce and ship oil to member nations. The agreement is signed by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominican, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, San Cristobal and Nieves, Santa Lucia, San Vicente and the Granadinas, Surinam, and Venezuela. Two countries, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, choose not to sign. [United Press International, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005; Nation News (Barbados), 9/18/2005; Petroleos de Venezuela, 11/28/2005] The details of the pact will be decided in September (see September 7, 2005)

Entity Tags: Dominican Republic, Grenada, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Petrocaribe, Venezuela, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Caribbean leaders sign an agreement specifying the details of Hugo Chavez’s Petrocaribe Alliance. Under the agreement, Caribbean governments would purchase Venezuelan oil at market price. Whenever world market prices for oil surpass the $40 a barrel mark, Venezuela would offer to finance 40 percent of the cost to be payable over a period of 17-25 years at 1 percent interest. Further concessions would be granted if the price of oil surpasses the $100 mark. Governments will be permitted to pay a portion of their oil tab with services or goods such as rice, bananas, or sugar. “We have the opportunity to break from the path of imposed domination and servitude,” Chavez says during the talks. “The capitalist model… imposed on us is not sustainable.” The talks are attended by representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Surinam, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines. [Associated Press, 6/30/2005; BBC, 9/7/2005]

Entity Tags: Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados, Venezuela, Petrocaribe, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas

Timeline Tags: US-Venezuela (1948-2005)

Ordering 

Time period


Email Updates

Receive weekly email updates summarizing what contributors have added to the History Commons database

 
Donate

Developing and maintaining this site is very labor intensive. If you find it useful, please give us a hand and donate what you can.
Donate Now

Volunteer

If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact us. We need help with programming (Java, JDO, mysql, and xml), design, networking, and publicity. If you want to contribute information to this site, click the register link at the top of the page, and start contributing.
Contact Us

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike