NOTE: With Tony Blair thankfully gone, his successor as British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has announced his new Cabinet. Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN is Sir Mark Malloch-Brown.
The man helping to oversee debt, aid and devlopment is a former deputy secretary-general to the United Nations and a former vice-president for external affairs at the World Bank. He is being spun as a critic of Bush and the Iraq war but his record at the UN and as a spin doctor for the World Bank and for pro-western candidates in Latin America (including a spell working for the Colombians!) while at the Sawyer Miller group - a Madison Avenue PR firm where he first made his name, tells a very different story. And then there's GM...
COMMENT from Robert Vint: I'm alarmed by Gordon Brown's first appointments to the UK Cabinet - especially the new Minister for Africa, Asia and UN. Mark Malloch-Brown, former deputy secretary-general to the United Nations, is not even a Labour Party member [nor as yet in parliament].
He is, however, famous for doing more than anyone else to sell to world governments the myth that GM crops are the key to solving hunger. As the UK Government's Department for International Development (DfID) is already working with USAID to force GM crops on Africa this is an alarming development.
WORLD BANK MAN IN CHARGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
GM Watch, 12 September 2002
The World Bank, which is in the business of forcing open the world's local economies to multinational corporations, has further increased its stranglehold on multilateral institutions with the appointment of its former vice president for external affairs, Mark Malloch Brown, as the head of the new UN watchdog set up to oversee how governments are meeting their World Summit on Sustainable Development goals.
Since leaving the World Bank, Malloch Brown has been heading the UN World Development Program (UNDP) where, with his World Bank colleague Fukuda-Parr, he has turned the UN's focus away from poor farmers”š rights and environmental sustainability and towards the adoption of GM crops in the Third World.
"It would be wrong for rich Northern consumers," Malloch Brown has said with regard to GM, "to block development of these technologies that hold so much promise to help feed the poor".
Malloch Brown's first act was to commission UNDP”šs annual 'Human Development Report'. Previous reports had contained clear analysis of the true causes of inequality, but Malloch Brown's was the first to promote the notion that GM crops are the solution for Third World poverty and that western environmentalists are standing in the way of their progress.
More than 290 grassroots and farmers”š groups from around the world plus NGOs like Oxfam, ActionAid, the Intermediate Technology Development Group and Greenpeace International objected strongly to the report's conclusions. The UNDP then issued an Open Letter defending the report, in which they named only Greenpeace as a critic. Conveniently, the report came out just days before the OECD meeting on GM food and crops in Bangkok, chaired by Lord Selbourne (chair of the British Chemicals Stakeholder Forum), where delegates predictably endorsed it.
When Malloch Brown moved to the UN, World Bank president James Wolfensohn said, "I believe that Mark will do a wonderful job as head of the UNDP, and I wish him every success. I am certain that his appointment will further strengthen the partnership between the Bank and the UN system."
Third World Needs GM Aid [shortened]
The Scotsman, 11 July 2001
Genetically modified crops could be the breakthrough needed to lift millions of the world's poor out of poverty, according to the United Nations.
But a UN human development report said a radical rethink of global development policy and attitudes to new technologies was needed if poor countries were to develop.
The UN called for more international funding for research into GM varieties of staple crops such as millet, sorghum and cassava, and for treatments for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria.
GM crops could raise income for poor farmers and cut malnutrition in the developing world, which currently affects 800 million people, the report said.
But the UN stressed that such potential benefits of GM crops must not be overshadowed by fears in the west over possible risks to health and the environment.
Mark Malloch Brown, the UN development programme administrator, said: "These varieties have 50 per cent higher yields, mature 30 to 50 days earlier, are substantially richer in protein, are far more disease and drought tolerant, resist insect pests and can even out-compete weeds.
"And they will be especially useful because they can be grown without fertiliser or herbicides, which many poor farmers can't afford anyway.
"This initiative shows the enormous potential of biotech to improve food security in Africa, Asia and Latin America."