BRAZIL 2006: International Meeting on GMOs is expected to take a decision on the right to know the presence of GMOs in the global agriculture trade system
After more than a decade of planting GM crops in the environment, over 130 Parties of the United Nations Agreement on Genetically Modified Organisms , called the Biosafety Protocol, will meet in Curitiba, Brazil, to take a crucial decision that may significantly affect the current model of development and trade of GM foods around the world. At stake is the right of countries to know about the presence of GMOs destined for food, feed and processing (which constitute the bulk of GMOs traded in the world today) in the global trade market.
The biotech industry has consistently opposed clear identification and labelling for any of the GM crops on the market today. Without information about the content of GMOs traded around the world the right to know of importing countries and its citizens is violated. This situation may also contribute to further contamination of the global food and feed supply, which may lead to contamination of seeds and crops.
Briefing : Global Standard on identification of GMOs to be decided by International Treaty
The context of the meeting
The meeting takes places amid a controversial debate about the benefits of GM crops and food after a decade of experience, and a polemic ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) between the US and the European Union (EU). The current briefing sets in context the key issues that will be discussed at the Third Meeting of the Parties of the Biosafety Protocol (called MOP 3) which will be held between the 13 th and 17 th of March in Brazil.
Report: Who Benefits from GM Crops
WTO Briefing : "Looking behind the US spin" WTO ruling does not prevent countries from restricting or banning GMOs.
what is the biosafety protocol
The Biosafety Protocol aims to protect citizens worldwide from the potential risks derived from GMOs by:
- regulating transboundary movements of GMOs
- implementing liability rules in the event of damage caused by GMOs.
The Protocol is the first international agreement that clearly shows that GMOs are different from conventional organisms and therefore require different treatment.
The Biosafety Protocol is a United Nations agreement adopted in 2000 in Montreal, Canada that seeks to protect the environment from the potential risks of GMOs. It became law on September 11th 2003, and by March 2005 over 130 countries around the world became party to this treaty.
Meeting of the Parties
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2004
After the Biosafety Protocol entered into foce, the Parties meet to take crucial decisions to reinforce the controls over the trade global system on GMOs. The first Meeting took place in February, 2004, negotiations over further measures took place at the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Friends of the Earth campaigned in Malaysia to prevent the US Coalition to undermine the Biosafety Protocol, and for comprehensive rules on identification, labelling and liability on GMOs.
Despite the pressure from the biotech industry, the results were very positive. Friends of the Earth welcomed the conclusion of the first meeting of the parties to the Biosafety Protocol as an important step forward for protecting consumers, farmers and the environment from the dangers of GMOs.
Montreal, Canada 2005
Montreal hosted the second Meeting of the Parties (MOP) of the Biosafety Protocol, between the 30th of May and the 3rd of June 2005. The Parties to the Protocol negotiated a decision about how to identify Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for food, feed and processing. GMO contam ina tion today is one of the major threats to biosafety worldwide. The issue of identifying GMO shipments for food, feed and processing would give a signal to whether we are moving towards a world where GMO contam ina tion becomes the exception or the rule.
Read more about Friends of the Earth International activities during the meeting.
Find out more at the Convention on Biological Diversity website