Photo credits: Juan Antonio Correa Calfin for Voces del Maiz (where not otherwise specified).
The 5th Seed Freedom Network of Latin America (Red Semillas de Libertad) took place in Xochimilco on 26 and 27 November 2016, where representatives of 10 countries gathered for 2 days to celebrate life with a series of workshops, music, seed and knowledge exchange.
RSL members had the opportunity to discuss the various issues related to seed and food sovereignty in the respective countries and renewed their commitment to keep supporting one another, exchanging knowledge and experiences as needed.
More photos: V Encuentro Semillas de Libertad
On December 3rd a meeting took place in Ek Balan, Yucatan, where all the participants and coordinators of the project “Voices of Maíz” gathered to discuss issues related to corn in Latin America and other parts of the world and draw the “Declaration of Ek Balam”, stating that indigenous peoples are the rightful possessors, conservationists and breeders of maize and all associated biodiversity and warning that maize is not a commodity, but the center of life, with a sacred value for native peoples.
On December 5th, second day of formal work at COP 13 in Cancun, the group of 50 representatives of indigenous cultures from Canada, Ecuador, Chile, China, India, Peru, Mexico and Guatemala– presented the Declaration of Ek Balam at the Conference. They claim respect for uses and customs of indigenous peoples, their collective and traditional work practices, and demand their voice to be heard and considered in any discussion of all laws applicable to seeds. They also state that the free flow of seeds among original peoples must not be criminalised and that they completely reject transgenic maize in all countries where they have cultivated and preserved the crop through centuries.