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Summary Findings of IAASTD on GMOs

A briefing published by the Pesticides Action Network – North America,titled "Biotechnology & Sustainable Development" synthesizes the findings from the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), as they relate to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The report warned that continued reliance on simplistic technological fixes — including transgenic crops — is an approach unlikely to address persistent hunger and poverty. In general, the IAASTD found little evidence to support a conclusion that modern biotechnologies are well suited to meeting the needs of small-scale and subsistence farmers, particularly under the increasingly unpredictable environmental and economic conditions that they face.

Instead, the IAASTD lays out a comprehensive set of options to reorient local and global food systems towards greater social equity and sustainability. These include improvements in the sustainability of farming practices on the ground as well as overhauling the institutions and policies that influence the direction of agriculture. Details of the actions proposed are reproduced below.

The full briefing is downloadable from: http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/GMOBriefFINAL_2.pdf

Below is an extract from the briefing.

With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister,
10400 Penang,
Malaysia
Email: twnet@po.jaring.my
Website: www.biosafety-info.net and www.twnside.org.sg

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Biotechnology and Sustainable Development

Findings from the UN-led International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development

Options for Action

The IAASTD lays out a comprehensive set of options to reorient local and global food systems towards greater social equity and sustainability. These include improvements in the sustainability of farming practices on the ground as well as overhauling the institutions and policies that determine so much of what is possible. Options for effective action include:

Support small-scale farmers

• Strengthen small-scale farmers’, women’s, Indigenous and community-based organizations, and invest in rural areas.

• Ensure farmers have secure access to land, seeds, water, information, credit, marketing infrastructure and information.

• Build capacity in participatory agroecological research, extension and education and in biodiverse, ecologically resilient farming practices to cope with increasing environmental stress.

Re-think biotechnology

• Engage all stakeholders in open, informed, transparent and participatory debate about new and emerging biotechnologies.

• Introduce long-term environmental and health monitoring programs and conduct comparative technology assessment to better understand the respective risks, benefits and costs of different technologies and production systems.

• Use full-cost accounting to evaluate and compare the social, environmental and economic costs of different agricultural production systems, guide public policy decisions and set research priorities. (By internalizing “externalities,” this approach begins to correct the market’s failure to price goods and production systems accurately.)

• Use the precautionary approach in decision-making (e.g. as per the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety), which may entail prohibiting the transfer of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) among countries that are centers of origin or of genetic diversity.

• Limit production of GMO plants in regions that have wild relatives and show botanical characteristics that could contaminate the gene pool. Build institutions to support social equity and sustainability

• Revise intellectual property laws to prevent misappropriation of Indigenous, women’s, and local people’s knowledge; establish IP rules that recognize farmers’ and independent researchers’ rights to save, exchange and cultivate seed, particularly for purposes of livelihood and/or public interest research.

• Strengthen the capacity of farmers, Indigenous peoples, vulnerable or marginalized communities and developing countries to engage effectively in international discussions and negotiations (for example, around intellectual property,

bilateral, regional or global trade, climate change, environment, sustainable development, etc).

• More closely regulate globalized food systems for fairness and to ensure that both rural and urban poor have secure access to food and productive resources at all times.

• Establish and enforce fair competition rules to reverse harmful effects of corporate concentration and vertical integration in the food and agriculture industry.

• Establish equitable regional and global trade arrangements that enable farmers to meet food and livelihood security goals and to diversify production.

 


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