Pat Roy Mooney
leader in “global civil society” for over two decades and an internationally recognized expert on issues of food security, sustainable development and plant genetics-is the 20th recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal. The award was presented by His Excellency, The Right Honourable Roméo Leblanc, Governor General of Canada, and also the Honorary Patron of the United Nations Association in Canada, during a ceremony held on December 15th at Rideau Hall. Mr. Mooney has earned an enviable international reputation among friends and opponents alike for his ground-breaking research and advocacy around the issues of agricultural genetic erosion. Beginning in the 1970s, he and colleagues have laboured to alert the world to the loss of plant genetic resources and to lobby for strategies to conserve biodiversity and agricultural diversity. Through the 1980s he anchored a global campaign against the concept of control of intellectual property rights over the world’s food supply, winning organizational allies on all continents. He and his non-government organizations, Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), continue to provide inspired leadership in a growing international campaign against “life patenting”.
Raised on the Canadian Prairies, he continues to work out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He has produced seminal documents in collaboration with the UN offices and recognized international Foundations. Among awards and recognitions was the 1895 Right Livelihood Award of the Swedish Parliament “for almost single-handedly drawing attention to the dangers of replacing a variety of locally adapted plants by a few high-yield, but disease-prone varieties with a narrow genetic base.”
Twenty years ago Pat Mooney’s work was routinely dismissed as alarmist, or even “crackpot”. Today he is considered to be a visionary who recognized the dangers of agricultural technology long before the rest of the world.