What it’s like at the United Nations

I was invited to be present at the April 2001 meeting in Spoleto, Italy [which met] to put the final touches to the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources. It turned out to be a disturbing experience. The first inter-governmental meeting I had attended in at least a decade and a half, this was a blood-chilling déja vu, marked by the same legal play with words concealing savage obstructionism, and the same arrogant determination to satisfy the same private corporate interests that had crept through the gaping cracks of our defective defence of the public interest in the 1970s. The meeting produced a toothless, truncated document, scattered with beautiful words. This was the best that Spoleto could do.

The summit to summit merry-go-round by Erna Bennett, 2002, published by GRAIN.