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Greenpeace Calls For Biosafety Ratification

Greenpeace Calls For Immediate Ratification Of Biosafety Protocol

15 January 2001, Wellington – During an organic breakfast on the Rainbow Warrior this morning, Greenpeace asked political party representatives to encourage the speedy ratification of the Biosafety Protocol.

The Biosafety Protocol is an international agreement designed to protect biodiversity from the hazards posed by genetically engineered organisms.

Onboard the Rainbow Warrior, Environment Minister, Marion Hobbs, was told about the pressing need for New Zealand to ratify the biosafety protocol. “The protocol has as its objective the protection of biodiversity and human health,” said Greenpeace campaigner Annette Cotter. “It needs 50 countries to ratify it to become a legally binding international environmental treaty and only two to date have done so.11 Bulgaria and Trinadad and Tobago. New Zealand needs to take a prominent role in protecting the environment.”

Luke Anderson from the UK based Genetic Engineering Network briefed the breakfast party on New Zealand’s international obligations under the Biosafety Protocol. These include the stringent application of the precautionary principle in any risk assessments of genetically engineered organisms, and the requirement to take all steps necessary to prevent any harm to biodiversity and human health. Countries who have the right to ban GE imports under the protocol if there is a lack of scientific certainty as to their safety.

“The Biosafety Protocol is about the protection of the health and environment for all New Zealanders, and ultimately for all the world. As part of the international community New Zealand has the responsibility to immediately ratify this agreement,” said Cotter.

The Rainbow Warrior sets sail for Christchurch tomorrow.

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