The use of biological agents such as Fusarium Oxysporum and Pleospora Papaveraceae to eradicate illicit crops raises grave concerns for the environment and agriculture in every region of the world. Global environment authorities should urgently act to pull the world back from the slippery slope of allowing use of biological agents to attack crops and biodiversity.
Some governments, particularly in South America, have already taken steps in this direction. But a global response will be required to make regional efforts most effective. Use of the agents, which are designed to be applied massively over hundreds of thousands of hectares - will have Tran boundary environmental impacts. If the agents are permitted to be used anywhere, backers will argue that it is a precedent and governments across the world will be pressured to risk biodiversity and accept the ill-advised technique of biological eradication.
A very small number of promoters of biological eradication are readying persistent and virulent plant diseases to spray on farmland in South America and Asia. The US and the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) maintain that once tested in one region, this technique may be applied globally - wherever illicit crops are sown. Developed in secret facilities by the US and by researchers who worked in the former Soviet Union’s offensive biological weapons program, the agents are nearly ready for use on opium poppy and coca plants. The US says that the agents field tested so far are non-genetically-engineered fungi; but they have created laboratory GMO strains and US and UK funded researchers in central Asia admit considering genetic manipulation to make more lethal types.
An international network of NGOs including the Sunshine Project, the Latin-America Free of Transgenics Network, Accion Andina, the Transnational Institute, Accion Ecológica, and many more NGOs in Colombia and all over the world are working tostop all use of biological eradication agents. We believe that they are biological weapons that threaten biodiversity and set very dangerous precedents on biological weapons proliferation.
The NGOs of Colombia and Latin America request considering actions on this issue at the First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosecurity and in forthcoming meetings of the CBD
1. We suggest that biological agents may be addressed under the Biosecurity Meeting Agenda, item 4.4 of the provisional agenda, related to Protocol Article 18 (see paragraph 16, UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/6). We urge governments to condemn the development and any use of genetically engineered organisms for use as Biological Weapons to eradicate crops as a plain violation of the spirit and letter of the Biosafety Protocol.
2. We invite governments specifically to reject the use of biological agents to trigger plant disease epidemics in crops, such as strains of Fusarium Oxysporum and Pleospora Papaveraceae, whether genetically modified, products of mutagenesis or other breeding, or naturally occurring virulent isolates, to eradicate illicit crops in Colombia and the Andes, considering the effects on human health, and on indigenous and local communities practices and the biological and cultural diversity of the entire Amazon Region.
3. We also invite governments to commit to reject the use of biotechnological development in the production of biological agents as biological Weapons.
4. We also suggest that biological eradication agents may be addressed by under the Alien and Invasive Species agenda item at the 6th Meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), in Montreal from March 12th 16th, 2001. SBSTTA could recommend that Parties prohibit the use of biological eradication agents and forward this recommendation to the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (The Hague, April 8th 26th, 2002) where a resolution can be passed. Approved by the Conference of the Parties, the ban would provide a sound basis for national legislation and be a strong deterrent to any country considering use of such agents or pressuring others to use them.
Parties to the CBD may also wish to consider, as was proposed by the African Group at the 5th Conference of the Parties in Nairobi (May, 2000), action against biological eradication under the current CBD Program of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity.
We reject Biological Weapons Proliferation that threatens biodiversity in the Amazon and the rest of the World!
RED POR UNA AMERICA LATINA LIBRE DE TRANSGENICOS
GRUPO AD-HOC DE BIODIVERSIDAD - COLOMBIA
CENTRO DE DEBATE Y LEGISLACION AMBIENTAL-COLOMBIA
RED ALERTA SOBRE TRANSGENICOS-ARGENTINA
CAMPANA POR UN BRASIL LIBRE DE TRANSGENICOS
INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURE AND TRADE POLICY IATP- USA
THE SUNSHINE PROJECT-USA/GERMANY
THE EDMONDS INSTITUTE -USA-
BIOWATCH -SOUTH AFRICA
THIRLD WORLD NETWORK
GERMAN NGO FORUM ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
COUNCIL FOR RESPONSIBLE GENETICS USA
DIOCESE WOMEN FOR DIVERSITY- INDIA
RESEARCH FOUNDATION FOR SCIENCE , TECHNOLOGY AND ECOLOGY INDIA
LOCAL ARTISTS ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY SOUTH AFRICA
EARTHLIFE AFRICA JOHANNESBURG -SOUTH AFRICA
SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NETWORK USA-
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL
WASHINGTON BIOTECHNOLOGY ACTION COUNCIL
PROGRAMA SEMILLAS - FUNDACI?N SWISSAID COLOMBIA
For More Information: WebPage: http://www.sunshine-project.org/agua/index.html
Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Hammond- Sunshine Project)
Mail: email@example.com (Centro de Debate y Gestión Ambiental-Colombia)
Programa Semillas - Fundación Swissaid
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Tel: 571-3413153 - 571-3363986 Fax: 571-3800030
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