Thursday, March 23, 2006

Peruvian farmers demand Syngenta to abandon terminator potatoe

Trouble is cooking over the move by Syngenta International to introduce a genetically modified form of potato. Indigenous farmers in Peru, the birthplace of the potato, have pleaded with Syngenta to publicly abandon its patent on 'terminator' technology to control sprouting potatoes.
DEVELOPMENT: Trouble Cooking Over Potatoes

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Historic agreement on documentation for GMO shipments

After five days of intense talks under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, there are now international minimum standards that will better protect importing countries, which will urgently need to put these standards into operation in their national biosafety laws, particularly if they are importing from non-Parties to the Protocol. An in depth analysis by the Third World Network.
Biosafety Information Centre / TWN: Historic agreement on documentation for GMO shipments

Hungry nations demand truth about GM food aid

A compromise deal has been struck at the international biosafety meeting in Brazil on how to label GM food imports. But hunger-stricken East African countries are concerned that they still won?t be sure if food aid contains GM.PANOS: Hungry nations demand truth about GM food aid

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Syngenta fined 1 million reais for illegal soybean field testing

IBAMA, the enforcement arm of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, issued an order today (21 March) against Syngenta, fining the company one million reais (386,000 euros) for illegal field trials of GE soy in a buffer zone around the Iguacu Falls World Heritage Site. IBAMA made the announcement at the ongoing meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity taking place in Curitiba, Brazil. National law in Brazil expressly prohibits the planting of GMOs in conservation areas as well as buffer zones around those areas, based on the Precautionary Principle. Syngenta?s GE soy field trials were found six kilometers from the park, however national law requires a buffer zone of at least ten kilometers. In their legal declaration today, IBAMA confirmed they would maintain a ban on the planting of soy in this area. Additionally, they levied a fine of one million reais against the company, ärguing that they considered seriously ?the disrespectful attitude of Syngenta towards the Biosafety Law, which results in a serious threat to a protected ecosystem considered human patrimony under federal law, and which has other consequences not yet clarified that could result in a threat to other crop production, organic production, and human, animal, plant and environmental health.? Finally, IBAMA is directing its legal division to immediately seek judicial authorization to destroy all the GE plants in the experimental field.

Diverse reactions to Biosafety Protocol results

Monday, March 20, 2006

Constructive ambiguitiy saves LMO labelling discussions at MOP-3

A thorough overview by "Bridges" of ICSTD and IUCN on the results of the Biosafety negotiations on Article 18.2a. ICTSD - The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development: Constructive ambiguitiy saves LMO labelling discussions at MOP-3

Cartagena Protocol - what does Africa do now?

The Biosafety Protocol meeting in Brazil has concluded. But, as Ochieng? Ogodo reports, many African countries are concerned about their ability to implement the measures they?ve signed up to.
PANOS: what does Africa do now?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Biosafety Protocol Alive, but Restricted

It was with relief but mixed feelings that the delegates and observers of the Biosafety Protocol meeting in Curitiba welcomed a last minute agreement on the contentious issue of identification and documentation of international shipments of GMOs in food, feed and for processing. After 4 days of intensive negotiations, which went into 6 a.m. in the morning of Friday in the "friends of the chair" drafting group and lasted until 8 p.m. in the plenary a deal was found that does improve the previous interim provisions but fall short of what the large majority of countries wanted. The last watering down of the text, orchestrated by the US and industry, was carried out by Mexico and Paraguay.
IPS: Biosafety Protocol Alive, but Restricted
Greenpeace: Better than nothing
Biotech Trade Watch: Video of last negotiations, Interview with Li Lim Lin (TWN) on results
Friends of the Earth: International Safety Laws Agreed
Sun.Star Phillipines: RP is now GMO-contaminated

Friday, March 17, 2006

Victims of GMO crops speak out in Curitiba

The pain and suffering of victims of toxic agrochemicals invaded the international negotiations on biosafety in Curitiba, Brazil this week with the accounts of a Paraguayan mother whose son died from herbicide poisoning and local residents of a neighbourhood in Córdoba, Argentina facing a severe health crisis caused by the fumigation of surrounding fields.
IPS: Victims of Glyphosate
Biotech Trade Watch: Interview with a mother from Argentina, who's children were poisoned

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mounting concern about NZ stance at biosafety conference

New Zealand is the still standing in the way of any compromise on the labelling issue. Environment Minister, David Benson-Pope, says the Government's opposition to the labelling rules stems from the need to protect New Zealand's trade interests.
Radio New Zealand - Mounting concern about NZ stance at biosafety conference
Cyber-Action: Tell New Zealand not to block the Bisafety Agreement

Governor of hosting State Parana calls for a GMO free future

Roberto Requiao the governor of Parana, who's capital is Curitiba, broadcasted a bold statement to keep the State GMO free and urging delegates of the Biosafety Protocol to find a solution for the identification of GMOs in international shipments.
Video with english subtitles: Welcome message of the governor of Parana

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

MOP 3 officially opened in Curitiba

The 3rd meeting of Parties of the Biosafety Protocol has been officially opened by on Monday in Curitiba, Brazil. It still seems unclear if the 550 delegates from 132 member states, accompanied by 800 representatives of non-parties, industry and NGOs will be able to strike a deal on the issue of future identification and labelling of GMO shipments of food and feed.
ENVIRONMENT: Brazil Still Has Doubts on Labelling of Transgenic Products
ABN: The problem of contamination by genetically modified organisms
Bangkok Post: Governments 'fail to halt' GM crops

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday: MOP 3 - participants gathering in Curitiba

About 1,300 delegates are registered for MOP3, 550 are delegates from governments having ratified the BSP. The other 750 are non-parties delegates (like US, Canada, Argentina, Australia etc.) NGOs and industry.
One of the main points of un-resolved controversy at MOP3 is the amount of information ('documentation') that should be required to be attached to each shipment of agricultural commodities (Article 18.2a). Exporting countries like the US and Canada would prefer minimum requirements and a simple statement 'May contain GMOs' while most of the rest of the international community would generally prefer more comprehensive information requirements, for example a 'unique identifier' (bar code). The purpose of detailled requirement is to assist importing countries to take an informed decision on allowing or not the imports of GE commodities and under what conditions. At the previous meeting, only 2 countries that ratified the BSP opposed an agreement on Article 18: New Zealand and Brazil.
The Brazilian position is still not clear and apparently not fixed yet among the fighting ministries as President Lula is expected back only today. The environment ministry, the governor of the State of Parana (who is defending the states gmo-free policy and controls Brazils biggest soybean harbour at Parangua) today invited to a seminar on the precautionary approach, while preparatory meetings of delegations went on at the convention centre.

World treaty on GMO trade set to spark new tensions

Europe may be on a collision course with its major trading partners as debate heats up over a treaty to regulate the global flow of genetically modified (GMO) foods, largely rejected by Europeans.The European Union's sceptical stance on GMOs has long poisoned relations with biotech-friendly countries like the United States, Canada and Argentina.
Reuters: World treaty on GMO trade set to spark new tensions

Saturday, March 11, 2006

FOE: Biotech Foods: David Versus Goliath

he battle between the majority of developing countries and some of the world's biggest corporations will peak on the global trade in genetically modified (GM)foods and crops will highlight the gap between countries demanding the right to regulate imports of GM products and the huge business interests that seek to benefit from weak rules.
Friends of the Earth International

Greenpeace publishes GM contamination report, calls for biosafety agreement in Curitiba

Greenpeace published a press release on the upcoming biosafety negotiations in Curitiba including a contamination report documenting 113 cases of contamination and illegal spread of GMOs and an overview on national legal protection from unidentified GMO imports.
Global biosafety food standards vital to counter contamination
Science and development: Controls 'fail to stop' illegal GM spread
press release and full reports, charts and map on this web-site

Monday, March 06, 2006

EU council of ministers adopt Curitiba mandate 9 March

"With regard to the meeting of the Parties to the Biosafety Protocol - which governs the cross-border transport of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - the draft Conclusions call for the finalisation of detailed documentation requirements for international shipments of genetically modified agricultural commodities. They also highlight the role of capacity building measures, particularly in the field of risk assessment, as a prerequisite for the Protocol's effective implementation. For MOP-3, the Council is also due to adopt a Decision providing the Commission with a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the EU.
EU-Commission Press Release

UK to push for "case by case" Terminator development

The UK Government is to push for terminator crops to be considered for approval on a 'case-by-case basis' at the Convention of Biological Diversity. Its position closely mirrors the stance of the United States and other GM-promoting countries.

Independent on Sunday: Ministers back 'terminator' GM crops

Friday, March 03, 2006

Monsanto and Walmart to govern US-Indian agricultural agreement

Among the agreements being signed during the visit of U.S. President George Bush to India are the "Indo-U.S. Knowledge Initiative on Agricultural Research and Education'' and a Biotechnology Agreement. Monsanto and Wal Mart are on the governing board.
The The Hindu: Inform people about terms of Umbrella pact: CPI

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bush in India - dont talk agriculture say NGOs

Deccan Development Society (DDS), an NGO promoting organic farming and revival of local food cultures, has appealed to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy not to discuss agricultural issues with American President George Bush during his six hour visit to Hyderabad on Friday as it would only push the state on to the path of destruction and despair: "Except for its brute power, the US has nothing to offer to a civilised state like Andhra Pradesh, more so in the area of agriculture."
Deccan Herald: Meeting Bush? Farming off the menu, says NGO