THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and colleagues,
Governments are gathering from 23-27 January for the fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Granda, Spain. One of the key items on the agenda is with regards to the potential socio-economic impacts of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURTs) on indigenous and local communities (Item 1).
Terminator Technology, which is one of the GURTs under development, is an extremely controversial application of genetic engineering. It renders seeds sterile at harvest, thus preventing farmers from saving and re-using seed, and forcing them to return to corporations to buy seed every season.
Although the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has a "de facto" moratorium on the field-testing and commercialization of GURTs, it is under threat, as there have been increased efforts by industry and some governments to overturn this.
Moreover, industry is now presenting the technology as suitable for "biological containment", to prevent gene flow. However, this is a false argument as Terminator is not a reliable gene containment system for both technical and practical reasons (Item 2).
For example, Terminator crops will still produce pollen and could cross with neighbouring non-genetically engineered or organic crops. So gene flow could still occur, with potentially catastrophic impacts on agrobiodiversity and biodiversity, and on seed saving.
It is crucial that the Working Group on 8(j) makes strong and conclusive recommendations against GURTs. Civil society groups are calling for an international ban on Terminator Technology.
For more information, please visit www.banterminator.org
With best wishes,
Lim Li Ching
Third World Network
121-S Jalan Utama
Website: www.biosafety-info.net and www.twnside.org.sg