Biotechnology and biosafety

Source: Third World Network - Resurgence
If a Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing does finally materialise, this would be the culmination of almost 15 years of persistent demands by developing countries, in the face of years of strong resistance and even rejection by most developed countries and big business interests such as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. February 2010. [see more]
Biotechnology involves technological applications that use biological systems, living organisms, or their derivatives, to make or modify products or processes. Given its far-reaching implications, biotechnological development raises ethical questions and has aroused alarm concerning its potential adverse effects on biodiversity and natural resources.

The champions of biotechnological development -international corporations and various developed countries, headed by the United States- claim that the application of biotechnology will guarantee the world's food supply, and promote sustainable agriculture, thus benefiting the environment. They also argue that biotechnology ensures more efficient disposal of toxic waste and prevents pollution by treating waste products before they are released into the environment.

In contrast, opponents of biotechnology argue that not only is it damaging for the environment, but also poses a threat to world security since it facilitates the development of chemical and biological weapons.

Genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs) are increasingly being released in countries in the South, many of which have no legislation governing the use of biotechnology, and lack effective control over compliance with security norms and measures.

In January 2000 the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted. It is the first international treaty to recognise GMOs as a separate category of organism that requires its own specific regulatory framework. Apart from establishing the basis for international legislation on cross-border movement of GMOs, the Protocol is important in terms of its reaffirmation of the "precautionary principle", which states that, in the absence of full scientific certainty, a country can limit importation of GMOs on the grounds of their potentially damaging effects.

On 13 June 2003, Palau became the 50th country to ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, meaning that the pact finally entered into force on 11 September 2003.

9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 9)
Held together with the 4th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, COP 9 takes place in Bonn, Germany from 19 to 30 May 2008.

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UPDATES
Thursday, February 04 2010
Hope for an anti-biopiracy treaty in 2010
(Source: Third World Network - Resurgence)
Thursday, August 14 2008
Women, biodiversity and the gender action plan of the CBD
(Source: WIDE)

Civil society

BioWatch South Africa

Third World Network

The Vancouver Statement (June 1998) (International Forum on Globalization)

The Institute of Science in Society

Agriculture and Biotechnology (CorpWatch India)

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Choike)

Liability and redress discussions under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Greenpeace)

8th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Choike)

What was decided at the Biosafety Protocol meeting (MOP3) ? (South-North Development Monitor)

Historic agreement on documentation for GMO shipments (South-North Development Monitor (SUNS))

Report of 2nd meeting of the Parties (COP-MOP/2) (FAO)

Biosafety Protocol takes bold steps (Institute of Science in Society)

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: a record of the negotiations (Convention on Biological Diversity)

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: from negotiation to implementation (Convention on Biological Diversity)

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Convention on Biological Diversity)

Information resources

Biotechnology and genetic resource policy (International Food Policy Research Institute)

The Sunshine Project

Genetically Engineered Food Alert

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

ETC Group

Monsanto Company

Ag Biotech countdown: vital statistics and GM crops (ETC Group)

Environmental Engineering Association of Thailand

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology

The Edmonds Institute

Bioresources and Biotechnology (TERI)

African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS)

Developing Country Biotechnology Profiles (FAO)

Regulating GMOs in developing and transition countries (FAO)

Nanotechnology: a small scale problem?

Down on the farm: the impact of nano-scale technologies on food and agriculture (ETC group)

Broad international coalition calls for strong oversight of nanotechnology (ETC Group)

Medical applications of nano-scale technologies: what impact on marginalized communities? (ETC group)

Nanotech's "second nature" patents: implications for the Global South (ETC Group)

Between hype and doom: keeping an eye on nanotech (Open Democracy)

The Big Down: technologies converging at the nano-scale (ETC Group)

Nanotechnology and the developing world: hi-tech toys against poverty? (IPS)

The issue of GM trees

GM trees concerns at the Convention on Biological Diversity (TWN,WRM)

Analysis and opinions

Agrobiotechnology Application in West and Central Africa (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture)

Public-private partnerships in modern biotechnology (SciDev.net)

Precision farming: the marriage between agribusiness and spy technology (CorpWatch)

Good-Bye GMOs (I-SiS)

Biotechnology and the FTAA (ACERCA)

Biotechnology and indigenous peoples (Third World Network)

Women, biodiversity and the gender action plan of the CBD (WIDE)

Greenpeace's position paper on liability and redress (Greenpeace International)

West Africa and the biotech push (FoE Africa)

How biotechnology will bypass the hungry (CorpWatch India)

GM battle in danger of trampling Africa (SciDev.net)

Official information

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

Convention on Biological Diversity (UNEP)

Convention text (CBD)

Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture (FAO)

The biotechnological industry

Nano Geo Politics: a survey on the political landscape (ETC Group)

GM cotton fiascos around the world (Institute of Science in Society)

Biotechnology: continuing hype? (Third World Network)

Biotech investment busy going nowhere (Institute of Science in Society)

Canada sows further doubt on GM seed patents (Science and Development Network)

Biotech critic denied tenure (Third World Network Features)

Africa: the new frontier for the GE industry (Pambazuka)

Genetic engineering poses huge financial risks to companies and nations (Third World Network)

Biodiversity and biopiracy

Hope for an anti-biopiracy treaty in 2010 (Third World Network - Resurgence)

International biopiracy protocol: Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples (Third World Network - Resurgence)

WIPO members renew mandate for agreement on protecting genetic resources (Third World Network - Resurgence)

'The 2010 target will not be met!' (Third World Network - Resurgence)

Biotechnology and patent laws

Thirty-six cases show growing bio-piracy in Africa (Third World Network Africa)

Understanding the gender dimensions of biotechnology research and development (Gender, Science and Technology Gateway)

Intellectual property rights on genetic resources and traditional knowledge (Berne Declaration)

Intellectual property, competition and development (Third World Network)

Re-situating the benefits from biodiversity (GRAIN)

Biopiracy: the legal way (India Together)

Articles and reports

Progress report on the 9th Conference to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD Alliance / ECO)

Genetic engineering and omitted health research: still no answers to ageing questions (Biosafety Information Centre)

Groups in Africa, Latin America condemn World Bank biosafety projects (GRAIN)

Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh: a three year assessment

Biotechnolgy in Sub-Saharan Africa: an introduction (African Technology Policy Studies Network)

Convention on biological diversity: civil society prepares for battle (Choike)

Wither biosafety? (GRAIN)

Genetic engineering dangers and impacts: lessons from real life (The Independent Science Pan)

NGOs urge WHO to reject smallpox genetic engineering

Rights and liberties in the biotech age: Why we need a genetic bill Of rights (Council for responsible genetics)

No biosecurity without biosafety (Institute of Science in Society)

US-Latin accord undermines biosafety meeting in Malaysia (ETC Group)

Globalization and the international governance of modern biotechnology: promoting food security in developing countries (Globalization and Poverty)

Media

Biotech's black market (Mother Jones)

Why we need a new forum for the public debate on biotechnology (Science and Development Network)


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