Organization: Greenpeace NL +
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 10:27:26 +0100
Subject: Biosafety Protocol historic step in fight against
Montreal, January 28, 2000 --- Greenpeace
today congratulated the 50 environment ministers and
approximately 130 government delegations for adopting an
international Biosafety Protocol to control the trade of
genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). "This is a historic
step towards protecting the environment and consumers from
the dangers of genetic engineering", said Benedikt
Haerlin of Greenpeace. "The protocol adopted here
today lays the foundation for a stronger future agreement
which will eventually protect the environment from GMOs."
Greenpeace welcomes the fact that common sense is starting to prevail. "These minimum safety standards must be implemented immediately. We urge all countries to ratify this agreement so that it can enter into force at the latest by the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit in 2002," Haerlin said. "And until the protocol has come into force all exports of GMOs should be prohibited."
The Biosafety Protocol was finally adopted after a series of difficult negotiations complicated by the obstruction of a small minority of GMO-exporting countries, namely the USA, Canada, Argentina and their associates Australia, Chile and Uruguay. "We are happy that the US and Canadian-led Miami Group failed in its efforts to force upon the world this untested and risky technology." said Haerlin.
In a last minute effort to hold hostage the adoption of the entire Protocol, the Miami Group succeeded in erasing mandatory labelling and information about the use of GMOs in food. "This is a cowardly attempt to deceive consumers and importing countries," Haerlin said. "We are confident that this smoke- screen strategy will fail." According to Greenpeace the future of GMOs will depend not only on international and national legislation, but upon consumers. "The market is falling for genetically engineered food. People are avoiding this food like they would mushrooms from Chernobyl," Haerlin explained, "We are confident that consumers will win this battle in the end."
For information please contact:
Greenpeace International Press Office
T: ++ 31 20 5249515
F: ++ 31 20 5236212
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