A broad coalition of organisations has launched an international call to request that the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety implement binding regulations to stop the spread of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.
There are already documented cases of genetically engineered plants spreading uncontrolled into wild populations and ecosystems, as well as transgene presence in landraces or local varieties of crop plants such as maize in Mexico and rice in China.
The long-term impact of uncontrolled gene flow of transgenes into the environment could be irreversible. In the meantime, the technical approaches proposed by industry and some governments – such as genetic use restriction technologies (GURTs), also known as “Terminator” – will not only not bring any solutions, but also implicate new and additional risks, and only serve to stop farmers from reproducing seeds.
The organisations signing on to the call hope to gather broad support from civil society and will bring their demands to the meetings of the parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Convention on Biological Diversity, taking place September/October 2014 in South Korea.