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6-Genetech §§: BIOSAFETY - Central and Eastern European NGO Address



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

TITLE:  The Central and Eastern European NGOšs address
SOURCE: GENET, attending ExCOP1, Montreal
DATE:   January 27, 2000

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


The CEE NGOŒs ADDRESS

We, the citizen groups of CEE express our deep concern regarding
the Biosafety protocol negotiations process. We condemn the fact
that the group of countries known as Miami Group, in reality
representing the interests of industry of a very few countries,
in actuality is blocking the most important provisions of the
Protocol.

We consider that their actions represent an attempt to impose the
profit making interests of their countries over the will of the
majority of the negotiating countries and their citizens to
effectively protect biodiversity. The biosafety protocol is a
protocol of the Convention on the Biological Diversity, which
aims to protect the biodiversity of all, not the economic
interests of a few countries like Canada or USA.

We remind the CEE representatives of their special responsibility
as the situation within the CEE region is characterized by low
public awareness and absence of legislation covering LMOs in many
of the countries of the region. Therefore, we strongly urge the
representatives of CEE region to take the firm stand on the
following positions:

- The Precautionary Principle must be an overriding objective and
the basis for all decision- making under the biosafety protocol.
Therefore, we support the inclusion of the precautionary
principle in Article 8 (Decision procedure) that gives a right to
the Parties to take preventative measures and actions.

- The biosafety protocol should not in any case be subordinated
to other international agreements, including trade agreements
like World Trade Organization (WTO). Were the protocol to be
subordinated to other treaties, relatively poor countries in our
region will be pressured by countries like USA and Canada to
accept LMOs into their markets. Any attempt to refuse an import
of LMOs because of concern about biosafety would be considered a
barrier to free trade, with all the economic consequences that
implies.

- The scope of the biosafety protocol should cover all LMOs as
there is no biosafety-related reason to exclude some of them,
such as pharmaceuticals or LMOs intended for contained use. Once
accidentally released into the environment these LMOs may cause
as much harm to the environment and biodiversity as any other
LMOs.

- The full AIA (Advance Informed Agreement) procedure should be
applied to all LMOs, including LMOs for food, feed and
processing. There must be explicit consent and each country must
be given the right to ban particular LMOs. Without such
conditions set forth in the protocol, we fear that the CEE region
could became a dumping ground or an experimental field plot for
LMOs which are being refused in more developed countries.

Tetyana Topchiy, Green Dossier, Ukraine
Olga Berlova, International Socio - Ecological Union
(Headquarters in Russia, 280 organizations of 18 countries)
Cesta Hrdinka, Greenpeace, Czech Republic 


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