from Claire Robinson, editor
Here's our review of all the GM news for December 2005 from around the world. We at GM Watch would like to wish all our readers a very happy and peaceful 2006.
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+ WTO RULES AGAINST EU IN GMO CASE
The French International Trade Minister, Christine Lagard, confirmed to NGOs that the EU has lost the World Trade Organisation (WTO) challenge the US has made against the EU's GM moratorium. The WTO is due to issue its draft final report on the GM trade dispute on 5 January 2006.
+ CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE CALLED TO OPPOSE GMOs AT WTO
In Hong Kong, civil society groups delivered a strong message to the sixth WTO ministerial meeting in a petition against GMOs. Presented to WTO deputy director-general Alejandro Jara, the petition urged the global body to respect people's self-determination to "know and choose what they eat and farm", honour governments' right to "protect their citizens and the environment from GMO food and farming", and reject trading complaints of the US and other GM producers.
+ WTO - THE POOR STAY POOR AND WE CARRY ON POLLUTING
Andy Rowell gives a rundown on the implications of the WTO meeting in Hong Kong. Once again, it's business as usual for the rich countries and poverty as usual for the third world.
+ MANDELSON ROUNDS ON "FAKE" FOOD AID
Peter Mandelson, the EU's trade chief, has branded the US food aid programme "fake" aid designed to help US farmers rather than the world's poor. For once, Mandelson is saying the same thing as the development agencies
+ UK GOVT POLICY PUSHES GMOs
Two papers out in December show the direction of UK government policy. One, the DFID Agriculture Policy Paper, outlines the UK government's Dept for International Development's agriculture policy - including commitments to help promote patented new agricultural technologies (i.e. GM seeds).
The other paper - "Science, technology and innovation in Africa - going for growth" - is published by the Smith Institute, a Labour think tank. It's edited by the ardent GM-supporter Calestous Juma and includes a section contributed by Syngenta and a preface by Tony Blair's successor, Gordon Brown.
+ JOHN VIDAL ON SYNGENTA'S ACCESS TO UK GOVT
The Guardian's John Vidal points out Syngenta's extraordinary access to the UK government: "[Blair's] Development secretary Hilary Benn today [7 Dec] unveils Britain's long-awaited strategy for agriculture in poor countries, and GM crops, as expected, are to be officially blessed. What happy timing, then, that Michael Pragnell, chief executive of Syngenta, the world's third largest GM company, should be in London last week to give a talk about poverty in Africa at No 11 Downing Street. ..."
+ MONSANTO SEIZES TRADE UNION'S BANK ACCOUNTS
Monsanto has seized the bank accounts of France's second largest agriculture trade union, Confederation Paysanne. Monsanto's action follows a court judgment after the trashing, in 1998, of GM maize and soya.
+ FRENCH COURT ACQUITS ANTI-GM PROTESTORS
In a judgment expected to send a chill through companies growing GM crops in Europe and embolden their opponents, a French court was cited as acquitting 49 activists who destroyed GM plants after ruling their actions were justified.
+ EURO COMMISSION ALLOWS GM CONTAMINATION OF ORGANICS
The European Commission has authorised genetic contamination in organic agriculture, putting the biotech industry before organic farmers and consumers. In a draft Regulation on Organic Production, adopted by the Commission on 21 December, products containing up to 0.9% GMOs can be labelled as organic. This is a step backwards compared to existing EU legislat
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