Helena Paul campaigned for the protection of indigenous peoples' rights and tropical forests, with a special focus on Colombia and Brazil from 1989-1996. During those years she also worked on the impacts of oil exploitation in the tropics and spent several years as European representative on the international committee of Oilwatch International. She was also involved in founding the UK Forest Network.
From 1996, she began to focus on patents on life and genetic engineering (GE). She was a co-founder of the No Patents on Life Coalition, the Genetic Engineering Network and a co-founder and chairperson of the UK campaign for a Five Year Freeze on GE in food and agriculture (delete or say it began as120 organisations, 3 million people). She has advised on the building of similar campaigns and coalitions in other parts of the world and has travelled widely, speaking and advising (in English and Spanish) on genetic engineering and agrofuel issues.
She has studied the development of the modern corporation, its rights and lack of accountability, in collaboration with the Programme on Corporations Law and Democracy of the US. She intends (time permitting) to work on how to control the power of corporations and redefine them, to reduce their impacts on the environment and human rights. Having worked with the Gaia Foundation from 1989-2000, she then became part of EcoNexus.
Helena Paul is co-author of the book “Hungry Corporations – transnational biotech companies colonise the food chain” and editor of the English Edition of “Healthy Crops, A New Agricultural Revolution”, by Francis Chaboussou. She also edited “The Forest Within” by Gerardo Reichel Dolmatoff, a Colombian anthropologist.
Since 2000, research into soya, GE and animal feed, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, has been a priority. This work has evolved into a current focus on agrofuels, and the implications for food sovereignty, biodiversity, climate, soil and water, land rights and human rights. In addition she looks at the application of genetic engineering and synthetic biology to first and subsequent generations, crops and trees.
She is presently involved in the international negotiations of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with regard to agrofuels, land use issues, agriculture, soils and climate change. She is focusing in particular on the impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems of proposed “solutions” to climate change, and the implications for the future.
She is also involved monitoring UK research on synthetic biology, including consultation with the public and the conduct of scientists in connection with scientific uncertainty, and the differences between the cultures of engineering and biological sciences.
Recent publications include: Agrofuels: Towards A Reality Check In Nine Key Areas (June 2007), The Myth Of The Marginal Lands (September 2008) and Agriculture And Climate Change: Real Problems, False Solutions (2009), all by EcoNexus with other organisations, available at www.econexus.info. She has also written articles for The Ecologist and The Land and other articles on agrofuels for specialist outlets.