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2-Plants: Convention of Biological Diversity discusses moratorium on GE trees



*------------------------------------------------------------------------*
    SBSTTA Recommendation XI/11

    Forest biodiversity: consideration of matters arising from the
    implementation of paragraph 19 of decision VI/22

    The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological
    Advice recommends that the Conference of the Parties: [...]

    9. Takes note of the potential impacts of genetically modified
       trees on forest biological diversity and suggests a process on
       how to address this issue.
                                                              Dec 2005
http://www.biodiv.org/recommendations/default.aspx?m=SBSTTA-11&id=10970&lg=0
*------------------------------------------------------------------------*



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

TITLE:  Countries Call for Global Moratorium Against Genetically
        Engineered Trees
SOURCE: Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest Coalition, World
        Rainforest Movement, Friends of the Earth International, EcoNexus
        & STOP GE Trees Campaign
DATE:   23 Mar 2006

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Countries Call for Global Moratorium Against Genetically Engineered Trees

On Wednesday, 22 March, delegates from countries around the world raised
the call for a moratorium on the release of genetically engineered trees
into the environment at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity's
Eighth Conference of the Parties in Curitiba, Brazil. Additional
delegates also insisted that the CBD launch a thorough global examination
of the risks and impacts of genetically engineered trees--risks which have
not, at this point, been adequately examined.

"Yesterday was truly an historic day," stated Orin Langelle, Co-Director
of the Global Justice Ecology Project and Coordinator of the STOP GE
Trees Campaign. "The alarm bells we have been sounding about the genetic
engineering of trees have finally been heard," he continued.

"Promoters of this irresponsible and dangerous technology have now
officially been put on notice that people and countries around the world
stand firmly opposed to genetically engineered trees--just as GM crops and
terminator technology are already opposed," stated Lambert Okrah, of the
Ghana chapter of the Global Forest Coalition. "We further applaud the
courageous and far-sighted positions of countries such as Ghana, Iran,
Norway, Madagascar, Egypt, Philippines, Senegal, Malawi and others in
raising the call for a moratorium on genetically engineered trees," he
continued.

Interventions in support of the call for a moratorium were presented by
Global Justice Ecology Project for the Women's Caucus, the International
Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, Global Forest Coalition, Greenpeace,
and the Federation of German Scientists.

"Because there is insufficient scientific data regarding the biological
impacts of transgenic trees, as well as an absence of socio-economic and
cultural impact assessments, it is good scientific practice to invoke the
precautionary principle, which is enshrined in the CBD," stated Dr.
Ricarda Steinbrecher of the Federation of German Scientists. "This means
no release of transgenic trees into the environment whilst this research
is on-going," she added.

The release of transgenic trees will inevitably and irreversibly
contaminate native forests, which will themselves become contaminants in
an endless cycle. The potential effects include destruction of
biodiversity and wildlife, loss of fresh water, desertification of soils,
collapse of native forest ecosystems, cultural destruction of forest
based traditional communities and severe human health impacts. The
negative effects of transgenic trees will impact many generations to come.

Attached is the intervention presented by Anne Petermann, co-Director of
Global Justice Ecology Project, on behalf of the Women's Caucus.

Press release issued by Global Justice Ecology Project, Global Forest
Coalition, World Rainforest Movement, Friends of the Earth International,
EcoNexus and the STOP GE Trees Campaign.

Contact:
Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, +1-802-578-6980
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition, 41-9978-3582

####

Addendum to Press Release
Intervention from the Women's Caucus Regarding Transgenic Trees, 22
March, 2006

My name is Anne Petermann and I am the co-Director of Global Justice
Ecology Project. I am speaking today on behalf of the Women's Caucus on
the issue of transgenic trees, SBSSTA recommendation XI/11 para. 9.

People all over the world are rising up to oppose transgenic trees,
including 2,000 organizations that have signed onto a ban. Transgenic
trees are a unique case. Trees live for centuries if not millennia.
Pollen models created in 2004 by Duke University researchers demonstrated
pollen from native forests in the Southeast U.S. traveling in air
currents for more than 1,200km north into eastern Canada. This means that
transgenic trees cannot be regulated only at the national level.
Transboundary contamination of native forests with transgenic traits is
virtually assured. The Biosafety Protocol, which is based on national
borders, is not adequate.

The release of transgenic trees will inevitably and irreversibly
contaminate native forests, which will themselves become contaminants in
an endless cycle. The potential effects include destruction of
biodiversity and wildlife, loss of fresh water, desertification of soils,
collapse of native forest ecosystems, cultural destruction of forest
based traditional communities and severe human health impacts. The
negative effects of transgenic trees will impact many generations to come.

Women are the ones who think in terms of generations. It is women in
rural and indigenous communities who will bear the greatest burden of the
impacts of GM tree plantations, just as they currently bear the brunt of
the impacts from conventional monoculture tree plantations. The potential
human health impacts of transgenic trees, especially Bt trees, have not
been adequately researched.

Numerous studies have raised serious questions about the potential health
impacts of Bt toxin. A series of published studies found that Bt provokes
a potent systemic immune reaction. Because the risk is greater with
inhalation than ingestion, engineering trees to produce Bt toxin could be
very dangerous. Plantations of Bt trees could potentially lead to
widespread outbreaks of sickness. Women and children will bear the brunt
of this. In July, 2005 the FAO [United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization] published a report entitled "Preliminary Review of
Biotechnology in Forestry Including Genetic Modification." In it, over
half of researchers surveyed reported the environmental threat of escape
of transgenic pollen or plants into native ecosystems and forests and
their impacts on non-target species as a major concern. The FAO report
concludes, "New biotechnologies, in particular genetic modification,
raise concerns. Admittedly, many questions remain unanswered for both
agricultural crops and trees. Given that genetic modification in trees is
already entering the commercial phase with GM populus in China, it is
very important that environmental risk assessment studies are conducted
with protocols and methodologies agreed upon at a national level and an
international level and that the results of such studies are made widely
available." In conclusion, the genetic engineering of trees is being
driven by corporate profit. There is no need for GE trees. Just as women
and indigenous peoples have been the traditional caretakers of
biodiversity, so must this body take action to prevent the ecological,
social, cultural and health disasters that will be unleashed by
genetically engineered trees. The speed with which the technology is
progressing is outpacing regulation and risk assessment. There has been a
severe lack of study of the risks of GM trees, especially on a global
scale. This lack of risk assessment makes it common sense that there not
be any further forward motion in the release of transgenic trees. The CBD
must impose a moratorium on the technology and launch a thorough and
global examination of its risks. In addition, we ask those countries with
outdoor releases of GM trees to take immediate steps to halt the further
release of GM trees and to address those releases that have already
occurred. For more details we have a briefing paper on the issue. Thank you. 



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

TITLE:  FOREST BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
SOURCE: Greenpeace, statement on forest biological diversity at COP-8
DATE:   22 Mar 2006

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FOREST BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Thank you Chair, I am speaking on behalf of Greenpeace. [...] Finally,
dear delegates, the CBD should decide about a moratorium on the release
of all GMO trees. Transgenic trees harm forest biodiversity and creates
social problems through monocultures and plantations. In addition
Greenpeace recommends an Expert Group to report, including those from
indigenous a local communities, on the global ecological and social risk
assessments of genetically modified trees to forest biological diversity
to the last meeting of SBSTTA before and for consideration at the ninth
conference of parties.

In order to achieve the 2010 biodiversity target, we urgently need a
roadmap for recovery for the forest biological diversity. Dear delgates,
start with it NOW!  Thank you Chairman


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