US agencies, funders such as the Gates Foundation, and agribusiness giant Monsanto are trying to force unwilling African nations to accept expensive and insufficiently tested Genetically Modified (GM) foods and crops, according to a new report released.

Agricultural biotechnology has been used to address constraints in agriculture and has the potential to make a major contribution to the overall goal of sustainable intensification. The adoption of agricultural biotechnology, and specifically

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety establishes the right of Parties to take socio-economic considerations into account when deciding on imports or domestic measures relating to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The inclusion of the socio-economic aspects in environmental decision-making has been practiced since the early seventies. The interactions between the environment and society, the growing demand for social responsibility and the pledge towards sustainable development are some of its drivers. However, in multilateral environmental agreements, particularly in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), the integration of socio-economic matters in decision-making has been difficult and contentions.

Socio-economic considerations are important components for careful decision-making to ensure that society enjoys the benefits of modern technology while minimising or avoiding its potential costs. However, in many parts of the world, information and analysis of the social and economic impacts of modern biotechnology are lagging behind. There is little experience in dealing with these issues in actual decision-making processes.

Panel calls for 10-year moratorium on field trials of Bt food crops

Citing India’s obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity — whose global conference is now underway here — a Supreme Court-appointed panel has recommended a ban on genetically modified (GM) field trials until the regulatory system is completely overhauled. It also called for a ten-year moratorium on field trials of Bt food crops (which are modified with the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, such as the proposed Bt Brinjal), and a complete ban on field trials of transgenics in crops which originate in India.

CropLife International represents a network of regional and national associations in 91 countries, and is led by companies such as BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC, Monsanto, Sumitomo and Syngenta

CropLife International and global Industry Coalition (GIC) have announced the publication of the first tool to aid governments, who wish to implement the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol (SP) on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Discard Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, say NGOs

The Coalition for GM Free India; Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad; and Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture have called upon the Union government to enact a comprehensive National Biosafety Protection Law to address the risks posed by genetic engineering.

But they are likely to affect higher-level species such as birds, says ornithologist

The long-term environmental impacts of Genetically Modified Organisms need intensive study, but they are very likely to have impacts on higher-level species such as birds. Dr. P.A. Azeez, director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, made that observation here in reply to a question on the potential impact of GMOs on bird diversity and health. He was speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing Meeting of the Parties on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which covers living modified organisms.

Genetic engineering has been hailed as a panacea for the problem of global hunger and population explosion, but research studies reveal that it has failed to deliver the goods. At the same time, it has created more problems than it could solve. The Union of Concerned Scientists, an international research group based in the US, said none of the genetically engineered crops under cultivation so far has boosted farm yield or overcome the problem of drought conditions.

“Genetic engineering has actually done very little to increase the yield of food and feed crops. It appears unlikely that this technology will play a leading role in helping the world feed itself in the foreseeable future,” said the Union of Concerned Scientists. In a document — Failure to Yield — released at the CoP-11, the research group reviewed the data on soybeans and corn, the main GE food/feed crops in the USA.

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