The farce behind Mexico's 'Monsanto law' (18/12/2004)

Thanks to Nick Jackson of GM Watch for these summaries in English of 2 documents providing background on the Mexican Senate's recent passing of what has been aptly termed the "Monsanto Law" - a biosafety bill offering more protection to multinationals than to Mexico's farmers and biodiversity.

These documents show how the legislation was watered down and excluded amendments put forward by a group of scientists and academics calling for a continued moratorium on the importation of GM maize.

The drafting of the legislation also paid lip service to public consultation while deliberately excluding any of the amendments to the legislation which were drawn up as a result of those consultation exercises.

This led to "a collective resignation of the Consultation Board which was set up to investigate the issue of GMOs because their opinions were completely ignored.

"We are left with the farce of public consultation exercises which achieve nothing given that the results of all these heated debates are merely filed away." (item 2)

The full Spanish version of the first document can be found here: http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4723
The full Spanish version of the second is given here below the English summary.

1.Scientists and academics reject the proposals of the Biosafety Legislation
2.The farce of public consultation

1.Scientists and academics reject the proposals of the Biosafety Legislation

The undersigned reject the proposals of the Biosafety Legislation because of the complete lack of precautionary measures and the lack of protection for biodiversity, environment and public health in Mexico.

They call for the legislation to include the views of those opposed to GMOs and not just to serve the interests of the big companies.

They call for the following points to be taken into consideration:

A continued moratorium on the commercial importation of transgenic maize and the strengthening of measures to avoid the entry of GM maize seed, given the contamination of maize varieties which has already been discovered in Mexico.

A precautionary approach, in consideration of the possibility of irreversible damage to Mexican biodiversity.

Protection for human health and the environment as a whole.

The inclusion of different views from all areas of science and humanities

A consideration of UK research into the impact of transgenic crops on biodiversity.

The incorporation of criteria used by the E.U. to exclude crops and create a GM-free region.

Changes to the structure of decision-making bodies to ensure that biosafety is not compromised by scientists with conflicts of interest. These bodies should include the views of a broad cross-section of professional opinion.

A prohibition on the release of transgenic crops in environmentally sensitive areas in recognition of the fact that transgenes have been discovered in maize varieties thousands of kms from their source. This is to protect the Mexican maize gene pool.

Effective mechanisms to deal with the issues of compensation and responsibility for genetic pollution

A prohibition on GM releases without risk assessments including GM crop test sites.

Clear thresholds for the volume of GM releases.

Clear, obligatory procedures for risk measurement, labelling and post-commercial monitoring of GM products.

A guarantee, prior to the approval of the legislation, of the human and financial capability to carry out adequate risk assessment.

We believe it should be fundamental to the legislation on biosafety to assess the risks and benefits of GMOs in the light of other alternatives. The most important issues are to conserve natural resources in the long term and to avoid compromising Mexico's food production and technological development.

To achieve this, it's vital that the State favours national research and development to meet the needs of food production and conservation. The current legislation should on no account be rushed through because it may well create more problems than it solves.


Dra. Ma. Elena Álvarez-Buylla, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM; Dra. María Elena Montero Cabrera, Centro de Investigación en Materiales Avanzados, S.C.; Dr. Daniel Piñero Dalmau, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM (miembro AMC); Dr. Omar Masera Cerutti, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, UNAM (miembro AMC); Dr. Luis de la Peña, Instituto de Física, UNAM (miembro AMC); Dr Humberto Peralta Díaz, Centro de Ciencias Geonómicas, UNAM; Dr. Víctor Toledo, CIESOS, UNAM, (miembro AMC); Dra. Ana María Cetto, Instituto de Física, UNAM (miembro AMC); Dr. Ricardo Pérez Avilés, Departamento de Desarrollo Sustentable del Instituto de Ciencias, BUAP; Dr. Alejandro Nadal, El Colegio de México (miembro AMC); Dr. Antonio Serratos Hernández, INIFAP; Rafael Calderón Arózqueta, UAM Xochimilco; Antonio Turrent, INIFAP (miembro AMC); Dra. Marta Astier, Programa de Agroecología, GIRA A. C; M. en C. Luciano Concheiro Borquez, UAM-X; Dra. Elena Lazos, Inst. Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM; Dra. Sonia Emilia Silva Gómez, Inst. de Ciencias, BUAP; Dr. Agustín Plancarte Crespo, Facultad de Medicina, UNAM; Felipe Cruz Garcia, UNAM; M.C. Álvaro Chaos Cador, Facultad de Ciencias; Dra. Ana Luisa Anaya Lang, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM; Dr. Marco Antonio Ramos Ibarra, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas e Ingeniería, UABC; Dr. Luis Garcia Barrios, ECOSUR San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas; Dr. Hugo Perales Rivera, ECOSUR San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas; Dr. Víctor J. Jaramillo, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, UNAM; Dra. Eva Luz Soriano Bello, Instituto de Investigaciones Químico Biológicas, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo; Dr. Blas Lotina Hennsen, Facultad De Química, UNAM; Dra. Gloria Saab Rincón, Instituto de Biotecnología, UNAM; MC Antonio Sandoval Madrigal, Universidad de Guadalajara; M. Tamara Ortiz Avila, Programa de Agroecología, GIRA A.C.; Adriana Raquel Aguilar Melo, Licenciada en Biología de la Universidad de Ciencias y Artes de Chiapas; Dr. Angel Zarain Herzberg, Fac. de Medicina, UNAM; José Luis Piñeyro, Depto. Sociología, UAM-A; Pablo Alarcón-Cháires, Laboratorio de Etnoecología, UNAM; Dr.George Dyer, El Colegio de Mexico; Omar Chassin Noria, Centro Multidisciplinario de Estudios en Biotecnologia Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo; Dra. Ella Vázquez, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM; Biol. Rodolfo Salas Lizana, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM; Dra. Alicia Castillo, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas UNAM Agustino Martínez-Antonio, Centro de Ciencias Geonómicas-UNAM; Biol. Lev Orlando Jardón, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM; Dra. Julieta Benítez-Malvido, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, UNAM; Dr. José Luis Díaz De León Álvarez, Depto. de Agronomía, UABCS; Dr. José Luis Rodríguez De La O, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo; Dr. Francisco Vergara Silva, Museo de Historia Natural, Londres; Alma Piñeyro Nelson, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM; Dr. Jorge Saltijeral, Depto. de Producción Agrícola y Animal, UAM-X; Biol. Dra. Elena Roces Dorronsoro; IBQ Ermilo F. Sandoval Espadas; Instituto Tecnológico Agropecuario N° 5, Campeche; Juan Pablo Pardo Guerra, International Student/Young Pugwash; M. en C. Alicia Cea Bonilla, Fac. de Medicina. UNAM; Dr. Federico Martínez, Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Medicina, UNAM; José Leodegario Méndez, Agrónomo, Jalisco; Dra. Mónica Adriana García Solache, Facultad de C

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