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International biosecurity protocol applauded

23 September 2004

Government ratification of international biosecurity protocol applauded

The New Zealand Institute of Gene Ecology and the University of Canterbury are applauding the Government’s decision to join over 100 other nations in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The Protocol regulates international trade of certain types of genetically modified organisms known as living modified organisms (LMOs).

Canterbury University is the only university in New Zealand to publicly endorse ratification of the treaty.

In a submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s environment division, the University said: “New Zealand has much to gain from joining and building a coalition of nations with the capacity and intent to monitor the transboundary movement of LMOs, because that capacity will make it much less likely that those and other potential biological threats to New Zealand will go undetected before reaching New Zealand.”

Associate Professor Jack Heinemann, who heads the New Zealand Institute of Gene Ecology which is based at Canterbury University, says New Zealand is showing leadership in biosafety and biosecurity.

“New Zealand is a leading light in our region and has much to offer and gain from our Cartagena Protocol neighbours in the South Pacific.

“Biosecurity is a difficult science. No country or government can be expected to get it completely right every time. But New Zealand gets it right more often than is often appreciated. Ratifying the Protocol will help improve on an already impressive record.”


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