Statement in Support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”


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FuturaGene, a biotechnology firm owned by Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano, has requested authorization from the Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) for the commercial release of its genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Brazil.

A letter has been issued by Brazilian and Latin American organizations (including CEPEDES; Terra de Direitos and the Latin American Network against Plantations) to CTNBio to urge them to deny this approval. As the Brazilian Open Letter  explains, if approved, use of GE eucalyptus trees will aggravate the already well-known negative impacts that non-GE industrial eucalyptus tree plantations already pose to communities´ livelihoods.

Below a statement in support to the open letter signed by organizations from around the world.

Statement in Support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”:

The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, an international coalition of 248 groups from 49 countries, founded in 2004, supports a global ban on commercial deregulation of genetically engineered trees (also known as genetically modified trees) based on serious concerns about their impacts on biodiversity and human rights. The Campaign supports the position expressed herein, in solidarity with Brazilian and Latin American groups, calling upon CTNBio to pay heed to public resistance to GE trees and reject Futuragene’s request for commercial approval of GE trees.

The Campaign is joined by the undersigned organizations from around the world that endorse the call for a global ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment, as well as those scientists and organizations that are calling for a moratorium on the release of GE trees until they are proven to have no damaging social or ecological impacts. As no such proof of safety currently exists, but there is significant evidence to the contrary, the release of GE trees must be stopped.

It is, for example, well-documented that increasing the growth rates of plantation trees (as Suzano has done with their GE eucalyptus trees) results in the rapid expansion of plantations, not the opposite. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization between the years 1990 and 2010, the average yield of wood from plantations doubled, yet the amount of land occupied by those plantations increased over 60% from 97 million to 153 million hectares.

[, Table 5.5, page 94]

Additionally, in 2008, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Brazil is a signatory, called for the application of the Precautionary Approach regarding GE trees, and a comprehensive and transparent assessment of their long-term social and ecological risks prior to any open release into the environment. If CTN Bio approves the commercialization of the GE eucalyptus in question, this decision would directly contravene decision IX/5(1) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The decision IX/5 (1) of the UN CBD Conference of the Partiesfrom 2008 states [emphasis added]:

The Conference of the Parties, Urges Parties to:

(r) Reaffirm the need to take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees;

(s) Authorize the release of genetically modified trees only after completion of studies in containment, including in greenhouse and confined field trials, in accordance with national legislation where existent, addressing long–term effects as well as thorough, comprehensive, science-based and transparent risk assessments to avoid possible negative environmental impacts on forest biological diversity; [1]/

(t) Also consider the potential socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees as well as their potential impact on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities;

(u) Acknowledge the entitlement of Parties, in accordance with their domestic legislation, to suspend the release of genetically modified trees, in particular where risk assessment so advises or where adequate capacities to undertake such assessment is not available;

(v) Further engage to develop risk-assessment criteria specifically for genetically modified trees;

(w) Note the results of the Norway – Canada Workshops on Risk Assessment for emerging applications for Living Modified Organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/4/INF/13);

(x) Welcome the decision of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management that is also mandated to address the issue of genetically modified trees;

(y) Collaborate with relevant organizations on guidance for risk assessment of genetically modified trees and guidance addressing potential negative and positive environmental and socio - economic impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity associated with the use of genetically modified trees;

(z) Provide the available information and the scientific evidence regarding the overall effects of genetically modified trees on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to the Executive Secretary for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism;

[1]/ Where applicable, risks such as cross-pollination and spreading of seeds should be specifically addressed.

We therefore support the call to CTNBio and the Brazilian government made by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject the application of Futuragene to commercially plant genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.


The Campaign to STOP GE Trees (International)
Global Justice Ecology Project (US)
EcoNexus (Europe, UK)
Indigenous Environmental Network (North America)
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (Canada)
Biofuelwatch (US, UK)
World Rainforest Movement

Co-Signed by:

Agricultural Missions, Inc (AMI) USA
ALDW Enterprises USA
Allergy & Asthma Research Centre, Kolkata India
Alliance for Global Justice USA
Alliance for Humane Biotechnology USA
anti- GMO committee of the Cyprus Federation of Environmental Organizations Cyprus
Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign/Energy Justice Network USA
ASEED Europe The Netherlands
Azafady UK/Madagascar
Babes Against Biotech
Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh
Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation Canada
Beyond Copenhagen Collective India
Biodiversity Conservation Center Russia
Biofuelwatch UK
BUND - Friends of the Earth Germany Germany
Burning Books USA
Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture UK
Caney Fork Headwaters Association USA
Canopy USA
Capital R Consulting, LLC USA
Carbon Trade Watch UK
CEEweb for Biodiversity
Center for Biological Diversity USA
Center for Food Safety USA
Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON) India
College of Medicine, University of Illinois, USA
Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) Malaysia
Cornucopia Network/NJ/TN Chapter USA
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) Belgium
CSALT Citizens Seeking Alternatives to Log Terminals USA
Cumberland Countians for Ecojustice USA
Dogwood Alliance USA
Earthcare Books
EcoC2S (EcoCsquaredS) USA
Ecological Farmers of Ontario Canada
Ecological Society of the Philippines Philippines
Ecologistas en Accion Spain
Environmental Paper Network UK
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria Nigeria
Essential Ecology USA
Everglades Earth First! USA
Fair World Project USA
FDCL Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.V Germany
Fédération SEPANSO Aquitaine France
Find Your Feet UK
Food & Water Europe Europe
Food & Water Watch USA
Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy USA
Forest Peoples Programme UK
ForestETHics USA
Forum Ökologie & Papier Germany
Friends of the Earth Europe Europe
Friends of the Earth International International
Friends of the Earth Melbourne Australia
Friends of the Earth Spain Spain
Friends of the Earth Sweden Sweden
Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia
Gen-ethical Network Germany
Genetic Engineering Network (GEN) UK
GeneWatch UK UK
Gestos-HIV, Comunicação e Gênero Brazil
Global Forest Coalition/CCRI Thailand
Global GMO Free Coalition International
Global Health Network USA
GMO Free Oregon USA
GMO Free Windsor Canada
GMO-Free Oahu Hawaii, USA
Green Party of the US USA
Greenpeace France France
Grupo AgrOrganico GAO Dominican Republic
Hnutí DUHA - Friends of the Earth Czech Republic Czech Republic
House of Grace USA
IBON International Phillippines
Independent Consultancy on Women's Rights
Institute for Responsible Technology USA
Institute for Social Ecology USA
International Tribal Association International
J & J Enterprise USA
Just Forests Ireland
Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre Nigeria
Land Workers Alliance UK
Lane County Energy Round-Up USA
MADGE Australia
Mangrove Action Project (MAP) USA
Markinch UK
Massachusetts Forest Watch USA
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility Of United Church of Christ USA
NGO Ecosouthwest Bulgaria
Nicaragua Network USA
Nourish, Scotland Scotland, UK
Nourishing Generations Educational Project USA
Núcleo de Aveiro da Quercus - ANCN Portugal
Ogiek People Development Program(OPDP), Kenya
Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (OLSSI) Samoa
Organic Consumers Association USA
Our Forests USA USA
PAN Europe Belgium
Partner Suedmexikos e.V. Germany
Pesticide Action Network North America USA
Plataforma ANdalucía Libre de Transgénicos Spain
Quercus - Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza Portugal
Rainforest Relief USA
REAL Cooperative USA
Red de Accion por los Derechos Ambientales (RADA) Chile
Red de Semillas “Resembradno e Intercambiando” Spain
REDD Monitor
Reforest the Earth UK
Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Rainforest Rescue), Germany
Rising Tide North America US
Rising Tide Vermont USA
Robin Wood Germany
Rochester Committee on Latin America USA
Roots for Equity Pakistan
Russian Academy of Sciences Russia
Sacramento Label GMOs USA
Sahabat Alam (Friends' of the Earth) Malaysia Malaysia
Salva La Selva, Spain
Save America's Forests USA
Sierra Club USA
South Florida Audubon Society USA
Standing Together to Outlaw Pesticides USA
Stockholm International Water Institute Sweden
Sunray Harvesters, India
Support for Women in Agriculture in Agriculture (SWAGEN) Uganda
The Aurora Foundation USA
The Blue Planet Project International
The Corner House UK
The Council of Canadians Canada
The Haiku Aina Permaculture Initiative Hawaii, USA
Third World Network Malaysia
University of Kassel Germany
Washington Biotechnology Action Coalition USA
World Family UK
World Temperate Rainforest Network USA
Yôko Woldering, KoBra e.V. Germany
Zelenyi Svit / Friends of the Earth Ukraine Ukraine