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6-Genetech §§: BIOSAFETY - Join the Miami Watch!



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Join the world in wathing the Miami Group
SOURCE: Genetics, UK
DATE:   January 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


JOIN THE WORLD IN WATCHING THE MIAMI GROUP.

The World is watching the Miami Group and the Biosafety Protocol
Negotiations, Montreal, 24-28 January 2000.

JOIN MIAMIWATCH.

Meet: Monday 24th January at 12 o'clock midday (noon,local time)
outside the Canadian embassy in your country (or if you do not
live in a capital city, outside the Canadian consulate) for a
tour of the six embassies (consulates) of the Miami Group
countries. You will be visiting the embassies (consulates) of
Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Note: If your country is one of the Miami Group, you might wish
to begin MIAMIWATCH at your foreign ministry or State Department
or outside the offices of your national representatives.

Bring: A simple banner with the words 'The World is watching the
Miami Group and the Biosafety Protocol Negotiations, Montreal,
24-28 January 2000', flags, banners, musical instruments and your
imagination.

WHAT'S GOING ON?

Delegates from around the world are meeting in Montreal next week
(24th- 28th January) to effectively decide the fate of Genetic
Engineering. The Biosafety Protocol negotiations, which have been
going on, in effect, since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 aim to
establish global regulation for the safe handling, transfer and
use of LMO's (living modified organisms, treaty -speak for
genetically engineered organisms) across national boundaries.
LMO's include seeds, bacteria, enzymes, grains and processed
food, feed and fibres.

Following on from the WTO ministerial conference in Seattle last
November, the arguments around the Biosafety Protocol present the
same classic case of 'free trade' versus the environment, health
and socio-economic impact.

Most of the countries' negotiating positions have polarised into
two sides: the 'Like-minded Group' and 'Miami Group'. The 'Like
minded Group' consisting of over one hundred Southern countries,
representing the majority of people in the world. That Group is
attempting to enshrine into international law two very simple
rights for countries:
* the right to know what they are importing and
* the right to say "no" on the grounds of unacceptable health and
  environmental risk. At the heart of the Biosafety Protocol
  which they envisage is the Precautionary Principle ("Better
  safe than sorry".).

To achieve biosafety, they are calling for:
* 'Advanced Informed Agreement' (AIA) to ensure that exporting
  countries give the importing country the opportunity to assess
  the potential impacts of the LMO before the first shipment,
* the right to reject LMOs on environmental and health grounds,
  as well as on socio-economic grounds,
* liability and compensation should LMO's cause any harm, and
* clear labelling and segregation to ensure that people know what
  they are getting.

The Miami Group consists of countries which export genetically
engineered organisms: US, Canada, Australia, Chile, Argentina and
Uruguay. They see the Protocol the South is calling for as a
barrier to trade. They oppose most of the proposals of 'the Like
minded group' and wish to limit the scope of the Protocol to
exclude all food, including food that is also seed (like corn and
soya). The US has made it clear that it does not want a Protocol
at all.

The Miami Group believe that the regulation of LMOs should come
under the auspices of the WTO and that the right to trade is more
important than the environment, health or a country's social and
economic well-being (excluding, of course, their own economic
well-being). They came close to succeeding in getting what they
want in Seattle, at the WTO Ministerial. However, Southern
countries took a stand against their bullying and greed and the
talks broke down.

Post-Seattle, the world is watching Montreal to see if the
climate is really changing. There is finally hope for a more
democratic and transparent system of international regulation
which curbs the power of multinational corporations and promotes
justice and fairness and environmental sanity before greed.

WE WANT

1) The right to say no to GMOs in food and feed.

2) Biosafety first - trade second. The Protocol should not be
   subordinate to the WTO or other trade agreements .

3) Polluter pays. The Protocol should include an international
   regime of liability covering all damage that may arise from
   GMOs,including damage to health and the environment

4) A fair deal for everyone. The Miami Group must recognise the
   potentially devastating socio-economic effects that GM
   technology could have on the South.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR MIAMIWATCH:

Meet: Monday 24th January at 12 o'clock midday (noon,local time)
outside the Canadian embassy in your country (or if you do not
live in a capital city, outside the Canadian consulate) for a
tour of the six embassies (consulates) of the Miami group
countries. You will be visiting the embassies (consulates) of
Canada, USA, Australia, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

Note: If your country is one of the Miami Group, you might wish
to begin MIAMIWATCH at your foreign ministry or State Department
or outside the offices of your national representatives.

Bring: A simple banner with the words 'The World is watching the
Miami Group and the Biosafety Protocol Negotiations, Montreal,
24-28 January 2000', flags, banners, musical instruments and your
imagination.

Email: genetics@gn.apc.org to let them know if you are planning
an action.

****************************************

LUMOs (Living Unmodified Organisms) of the World, unite!
You have nothing to lose but your ecosystems!

******************************** 


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