Brief Background of the Red TECLA
(2008 – 2016)
Social movements and civil society organizations in general have become more and more concerned about the pace and direction of technological change over the last several years. That concern has been greatest in Latin America. ETC Group and REDES-AT have been talking together and with numerous partners in Latin America about the need for civil society-led Technology Assessment since the global Montpellier gathering in 2008. From the outset, the technology focus has been around agriculture propelled by the incursion of GM crops and the resistance of peasant organizations. The level of concern increased with the “In Defence of Maize” process in Mexico and the petition, supported by ETC Group in Latin America, of a number of scientists calling upon the Pope to intervene in the GM debate in 2014. In conversations with the Vatican, ETC and its Latin American partners have stressed their wider concerns about new technologies and this concern was reflected in the 2015 Papal encyclical. Some of the milestones and meetings that stimulated discussion and lead to this proposal are described chronologically below:
México City, Mexico
First Latin American Meeting in Mexico devoted to Nanotech, Geoengineering, BANG, Synthetic Biology. Participation included ETC Group, REDES-AT and numerous other Latin American organizations.
ETC Group Meeting on New Technologies and the need to establish a technology evaluation mechanism. Centro Ecológico (Brasil) and Casifop (Mexico) participated.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Evaluation of the developments of new emerging technologies and the impact on Food Sovereignty Organized by ETC Group, FASE and Centro Ecológico, with participation from Brazilian and South American peasant organizations and social movements.
April. People’s Summit. Global meeting of CSOs and social movements with focus on climate change and the Rio +20 process. ETC Group, REDES-AT, GRAIN, LVC and other Latin American partners focused on Food Sovereignty, and the threat of emerging technologies on food security.
San José, Costa Rica
September. Presentation of TAP proposal at the National University. Follow up to the 2008 Latin American Meeting. Participation included ETC Group, REDES-AT and a wide range of CSO’s partners throughout Latin America.
May. Presentation of TAP proposal. Follow up of the 2011 meeting. Participation included ETC Group, REDES-AT and many Latin American partner organizations
October. Debate around techno-science and the specific issues of concern for the region: Terminator, Transgenic soy invasion, “The United Soy Republic”; developments of SynBio: Amyris and Solazyme. Workshop on TAP and its possible development in Latin America. Participation included ETC Group, REDES-AT and partner organizations from Brazil and the Southern Cone.
San José, Costa Rica
August. Meeting of the Alianza Biodiversidad. Follow Up of the meetings on technologies held since 2008. Discussion of TAP. Participation included ETC Group, REDES-AT and partner organizations throughout Latin America.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Social movements meeting with Pope Francis and discussions with Latin American partners on the need to follow through on technology assessment in view of the technology concerns expressed in the Papal Encyclical.
Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico
After several years of meetings, seminars and events about the impacts of new technologies with civil society, social movements at intergovernmental meetings, and some final organizational meetings in 2016 (in Rosario, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; México City, México), we succeeded in establishing the Technology Assessment Platform in Latin America, now called Red de Evaluación Social de la Tecnología en América Latina, or Red TECLA for short.