Biosafety: To label or not to label....
15 Mar 2006 09:20 GMT
On Monday, 13 March the Third Conference on the Biosafety Protocol (MOP3) started in Curitiba, Brazil. The Biosafety Protocol is the only international treaty that sets obligatory rules for the trade with GMOs. (background of COP8/MOP3 meeting)
Main issue of this meeting is the question how GMOs have to be labelled (Article 18). Nearly all countries that have signed the biosafety protocol are in favour of a clear labelling that gives information the GMO in a shipment. Industry and countries that haven't signed the Protocol however just want a vague label, sayingthat a shipment "may contain" GMOs - without even stating which GM crop that might be.
Only two countries at the MOP3 meeting favour such a vague label that would render the biosafety protocol useless. Brazil's president Lula changed his position from being anti-GMO to favouring it, and the Brazilian government is so much split on the issue that the Minister for Envirnoment didn't come to the opening of the MOP3 meeting (video), but stayed in Brasilia to discuss with Lula which position Brazil would take. Brazil chairs this meeting and therefore has more influence on the outcome then usually. At the moment it looks like Brazil is shifting towards a stricter labeling (video).
New Zealand however seems to have set its mind on undermining consensus at this meeting and blocking the proper implementation of the Biosafety Protocol. (Background and call for action)
While 5000 delegates discuss the official texts, the protest movement against GMOs is expected in even stronger numbers. For an action camp of Via Campensia and MST - 20km away from the official conference - about 6000 participants are expected. Others organize an alternative "Global Forum of the Civil Society" on the conference grounds. In the week prior to the MOP3 , a conference on agricultural reforms took place in Porto Alegre, which - among other actions - resulted in the destruction of a research lab for eucalyptus - a tree that is responsible for another form of destructive monoculture. The MOP3 meeting (13-21 March) will be followed by the COP8 meeting on Biodiversity where a key issue will efforts by Canada, UK, Monsanto and others to introduce terminator seeds.
[ Biosafety: videos & reports at Biotrade Watch | Biotech IMC | GMWatch| Friends of the Earth International | blogs: CMI Curitiba | student blog | Biosafety Protocol News ]
[ Biodiversity: Call for Action against New Zealand/