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[genet-news] Irish Missionary Union calls for objection to ’pro-GMO’ Vatican study week



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  IMU CALLS FOR OBJECTION TO ?PRO-GMO? VATICAN STUDY

SOURCE: The Irish Catholic, Ireland

AUTHOR: Mags Gargan

URL:    http://www.irishcatholic.ie/d5/content/imu-calls-objection-pro-gmo-vatican-study

DATE:   26.03.2009

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IMU CALLS FOR OBJECTION TO ?PRO-GMO? VATICAN STUDY

The Irish Missionary Union (IMU) is calling on all members to register their objection to a GMO Study Week in Rome for being one-sided.

The Vatican?s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is organising a study week in May on ?Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development?.

According to the brochure, the idea of the conference is to explore arguments as to why food security for the poor needs efficient access to GM-technology and why ?extreme precautionary regulation? is unjustified.

Members of the IMU have written to the Papel Nuncio, Dr. Guiseppe Leanza, protesting that only pro-GMO speakers have been invited to the conference.

Fr Sean McDonagh, a well-known environmental campaigner, said: ?The one certainty about GM crops is that they are making massive profits for biotech corporations such as Monsanto.

The silence on this crucial matter from all those who will be speaking at the Pontifical Academy event is staggering.

?GM has made a fortune for biotech companies. Monsanto?s monopoly position has meant that it can increase both the price of ots GM seeds and herbicide, even when food prices are increasing rapidly, thus pushung more and more poeple into poverty.

?How this technology which is owned by corporations can help the poor is beyond me.?



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  JOIN OUR PROTEST

SOURCE: Irish Missionary Union, Ireland

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.imu.ie/index.php/community-forums/groups/viewbulletin?groupid=36&bulletinid=63%20

DATE:   02.03.2009

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JOIN OUR PROTEST

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is organizing a pro-GMO Study Week in Rome from May 15-19, 2009. The IMU GM (Green Mission) Group supports any genuine debate on GMO?s but strenuously objects to what is apparently a totally one-sided campaign to promote genetically modified crops.

We invite you to:

1. Read about the one sided nature of the Study Week here >>>> (http://www.imu.ie/index.php?option=com_community&view=groups&task=viewdiscussion&groupid=36&topicid=7&Itemid=234)

2. Write to the Pontifical Academy to express your concern. You might also consider a letter to your local Bishop, the Nuncio or the Pontifical Academy. See sample letter below.

Nunciature:

His Excellency Most Reverend Dr. Giuseppe Leanza, Titular Archbishop of Lilybaeum

The Apostolic Nunciature

183 Navan Road, Dublin 7

Tel: +353 (0)1 838 0577 Fax: +353(0)1 838 0276 nuncioirl@eircom.net

PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

Casina Pio IV

V-00120 VATICAN CITY

TEL. +39 0669883195 - FAX +39 0669885218 E-MAIL: academy.sciences@acdscience.va

Link to:

Study Week on ?Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development? (15-19 May 2009) - Introduction, Programme, Abstracts, and Biographies and List of Participants

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/2008/booklet_transgenic_09.pdf

SAMPLE LETTER: (adapt as necessary)

As a religious/brother/sister/layperson) who values my relationship with the Church, it is of great concern to me that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding a Study Week on ?Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development? from such a one-sided perspective. A genuine debate on GMO?s within the Church is indeed necessary but it is deeply objectionable to me that major figures who express caution in the development of GMO?s are so obviously excluded from your list of speakers at the Conference. I also find it objectionable that almost half of your 39 contributors are from the United States of America, a country which has yet to sign up to significant environmental protocols.

I strongly urge you to re-consider your list of contributors so that a more balanced necessary debate can take place on a topic that so directly affects the future of life on our planet.

Sincerely yours,



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: RE ?IMU CALLS FOR OBJECTION TO PRO-GM VATICAN STUDY?

SOURCE: AgBioWorld, USA

AUTHOR: The Irish Catholic, Ireland

URL:    http://www.agbioworld.org/newsletter_wm/index.php?caseid=archive&newsid=2883

DATE:   21.04.2009

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: RE ?IMU CALLS FOR OBJECTION TO PRO-GM VATICAN STUDY?

TIC; April 9, 2009; pg. 18

Dear Editor,

I am member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and I am organizing, on behalf of the Academy, the study week ?Transgenic Plants for Food Security in the Context of Development?. I feel some responsibility for responding to the accusations raised in your article from March 26.

For someone reading the information available on the PAS study week with an unbiased mind, it should be obvious that this study week is truly in the interest of the poor. If the author complains that ?only pro-GMO speakers have been invited? he may as well have recognized that ?industry? has not been invited either. And if Fr. Sean McDonagh is angry about ?that GM crops make massive profits for biotech corporations (which is not yet true considering the investment) -- and that there is silence on this crucial matter from all those who are speaking? (I am not sure when he heard them speaking), he is invited to read the abstracts again, and especially my introduction to the meeting.

The topic of this study week is to analyse, what went wrong leading to a situation in which the technology can be used nearly exclusively to the commercial benefit of large companies (there are considerable ?spin-off? benefits for the poor as well), and what has to be changed to enable efficient use of the technology by the public sector institutions and small scale private enterprizes to reap the potential of this technology to the benefit of the poor.

It is obvious already before the start of the study week that present GMO-regulation is the major cause for this ?monopoly position? as Fr. Sean McDonagh phrases it and that?s why discussions about regulations play a major role. It obviously also escaped the attention of your author as well of Fr. Sean McDonagh that ?genetic engineers? are a smaller fraction of those invited. The majority are ethicists, lawyers, regulators, development economists, and biologists.

I would be gratefull if you could bring this information to the attention of your readers.

With kind regards,

Prof. Dr.Dr.Dr. Ingo Potrykus

Chairman Humanitarian Golden Rice Board & Network

++++++++

Dear Editor,

In the article by M. Gargan published yesterday ?IMU calls for objection to pro-GM Vatican study?, Fr. Sean McDonagh complains with a rethorical statement: ?How this technology which is owned by corporations can help the poor is beyond me?. No wonder the question is beyond him. In his desire to deal with every possible subject he forgets the famous quote by Alexander Pope: ?A little knowledge is a dangerous thing?.

As an academic researcher professionally involved since more than 20 years in molecular genetics and since 15 years in plant biology, I can assure that this technology has an enormous potential, especially for the most neglected farmers. Most of the times it is a technology ?in the seed? and does not require additional input than the seed itself. There are several application of biotechnology which have been or are being developed in the public sector and which could provide substantial benefit to the third word (I could provide details about these with a regular column on your newspaper). The main reason because these applications did not yet reached the farmers is exactly the subject of the study week: a regulation which is excessive, very costly, not science-based and therefore not only useless, but damaging the interests of people, especially the poorest. Any open mind can easily understand it by reading the preparatory booklet on the vatican website:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/2009/booklet_transgenic_19.pdf

best regards,

Piero Morandini, researcher in Plant Biotechnology, Univ. of Milan (Italy)


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