Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Montreal GM Protocol - The Devil Is In The Detail

Saturday's landmark Montreal Biosafety Protocol which regulates trade in genetically modified organisms establishes a framework for countries to use when making decisions about genetically modified crops. But there are a couple of fish-hooks in it. John Howard reports.

More than 130 countries in Montreal reached a landmark decision early on Saturday to regulate trade in genetically modified organisms. The agreement must be ratified by 50 countries before it goes into effect.

It strikes a delicate balance between the interests of major exporters of genetically modified crops such as the US and Canada, and importers in the EU and developing countries, who had expressed concerns about the health and environmental impact of the new food varieties.

The term "genetically modified organisms" refers to plants and animals containing genes transferred from other species to produce certain characteristics, such as resistance to certain pests and herbicides.

Fish-hook number one - There is no specific requirement that farmers or the grain industry segregate conventional and modified crops. The US won that one on the basis that to segregate would cost billions of dollars.

Fish-hook number two - The agreement contains a "savings clause" which emphasises the new pact does not override rights and obligations under other international agreement's, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

With its language on the "precautionary principle" the proposed Biosafety Protocol agreement could have set the stage for countries to close their markets to genetically modified crops without conclusive scientific evidence of harm. The "savings clause" was introduced to stop that.

Therefore, if New Zealanders decide they are not ready and willing to accept genetically engineered organisms, then, unless that decision is based on proper "scientific appraisal and risk assessment" under the WTO rules, we could have a claim bought against us in the WTO.

A decision cannot be based on emotion, or simply that we don't want it, because that would breach WTO rules.

"If a dispute arises over a country's decision to close a market to a food product, the WTO will review the protocol before making a ruling," European Commission Environment Minister Margot Wallstrom said.

Once the protocol goes into effect, which could take two or three years, commodity shipments that could contain GMO's will have to be labelled " may contain" genetically modified organisms.

At that point, a new round of negotiations on more specific labelling requirements will also have to begin, with the requirement of finishing in two years.

Like most documents - the devil is in the detail.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news