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TITLE:  Central Asian NGOs Call on Scientists and Authorities to Announce
        An Official Position Concerning GMOs
SOURCE: International Socio-Ecological Union, Russia
DATE:   Jul 16, 2003

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Central Asian NGOs Call on Scientists and Authorities to Announce An
Official Position Concerning GMOs

This week NGOs of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have directed an open letter
to the scientific community and the officials of their countries to
achieve discussion of the problem of genetically modified organisms (GMO)
introduction on the national level. This decision was made on the first
seminar on biosafety problems held in Almaty (Kazakhstan) the 28-30th of June.

The seminar was organized by International Socio-Ecological Union (ISEU)
together with Eco Press Center (Kazakhstan) and GLIP (Kyrgyztan). The
participants of the meeting have concluded that the imminent widening of
GMO use in agriculture puts development of traditional agriculture,
people's health and national identity of these countries under threat.

The participants of the conference, in particular, say in the open
letter: "We call your attention to urgency of the problem for our
countries. We hope that it will be adequately reflected in the
legislation of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as well as in the programs on
development and invigoration of our nations".

Genetic pollution of the fields, which is the result of crosspollination
of GM crops with their relatives in wild nature, leads to loss of the
unique biodiversity of Kyrgyzstan and other consequences negative to
nature that, in its turn, negatively influences on recreational industry
of the country. For Kazakhstan the risk of GM pollution is very grave
too. For example, this country is the land of crabs' origin (wild apple-
trees), the species, which can disappear in case their GM "relatives"
grow there.

In addition, distribution of GMO will depress the living standard of the
population, already wrecked by adverse environmental conditions and
poverty rate growth, because GM plants have poorer quality than natural
ones. It is known that mass use of GM crops for example, in Argentine,
for more than 5 years have not lowered the rate of sickness, starvation
and poverty in the country. Many African countries have faced with the
whole range of problems caused by GMOs use, and now they gradually refuse
to apply them.

Mass sowing of GM crops (owned by large and powerful corporations) in
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will seriously influence competitiveness of
local food manufacturers, which are only recently have risen. It would be
more difficult for them to sell their own traditional agricultural
products. Such situation there is already in some South African countries.

For further information: (in Russian)
Victoria Kolesnikova, ISEU Biosafety Campaign


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig

phone:  +49-531-5168746
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