International Environmental Safety Talks End In Acrimony
Two countries block tighter rules on GM crops and foods
Friends of the Earth International
Montreal, Canada. 3 June 2005 – Key United Nations negotiations on the safe trade of genetically modified (GM) crops and foods ended today in acrimony. Despite over 100 countries demanding comprehensive controls to limit GM contamination, the move was blocked by just two countries that sided with the GM industry – New Zealand and Brazil.
This week’s negotiations on the United Nations’ Biosafety Protocol were aimed at bringing in international rules to reduce contamination from imports of GM crops and to introduce full labelling.
However, despite support from virtually all countries, especially in the developing world, little progress was made in making the laws stronger. Needing consensus to bring in the new laws, New Zealand and Brazil sided with big business and shamelessly blocked all moves.
The Biosafety Protocol provides a safety net to protect the environment from the threat of GM crops. Countries are encouraged to develop legislation that protects their biodiversity and can also ban imports of GM products if there are questions over its safety. To date 119 countries have ratified the Protocol.
Juan Lopez, GM Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International said: “The world community has shown here this week that it wants laws to protect itself from the threat of genetically modified foods and crops.Two countries, Brazil and New Zealand , acting in the interest of big business, held the talks to hostage and destroyed the hopes of improving international laws.”
Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace international genetic engineering campaigner added:
“The actions of Brazil and New Zealand are shameless. They have prevented the vast majority from bringing in rules that will protect the environment. Their victory, however, will be short-lived as global opposition to genetically engineered foods continues to grow.”
for more information contact
Juan Lopez, Friends of the Earth International +1 514 8036 718 or +39 333 1498 049
Doreen Stabinsky, Greenpeace International +1 202 285 7398
Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth International +1 514 996 4090
For information, pictures and reports from Friends of the Earth see: www.foecanada.org
For information on GM contamination see: www.gmcontaminationregister.org