Titel: Europese Groenen over het UN raport
10 juli 2001
Bron: Stephen Emmott <semmott@europarl.eu.int>
Via: genet-news@agoranet.be


Brussels, 10 July, 2001

The United Nations criticised for suggesting that only rich countries can say no to GM-food.

The Greens/EFA in the European parliament, today attacked the United Nations Development Programme's 2001 Report on Human Development, launched today, which suggests that Northern countries should set aside their fears over GMOs in order to assist developing countries to exploit the potential of biotech. agriculture.

Speaking on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group,
Caroline Lucas MEP (Greens-UK) said:

"The UN's Development Programme's report appears to assume that the extreme reluctance of consumers in richer countries to embrace gene food and gene crops is simply a luxury choice based on irrational or emotional grounds. The truth is that there are strong human health and ecological objections to the use of GMOs in human and animal foodstuffs and these are as equally valid for consumers and the environment in Bangladesh as they are for Bordeaux or Berlin. By publishing such reports, the UNDP risks allowing itself to become a vehicle for industry propaganda.

"On health grounds there is research evidence which, at its very least, demonstrates that we do not know the possible allergic and long-term side-effects of introducing GMOs into our diet. On ecological grounds, claims that GM crops reduce pesticide use are being challenged by a growing number of studies that show the opposite is true. Even on purely agronomic grounds, many GM crops in trials in fact produce lower and less stable yields than conventional crops.

"Some developing countries have already started to take action against GM food. Sri Lanka, for example has notified the World Trade Organisation that it will ban 21 categories of GM food imports to allow it time to study health risks associated with GM foods."

Jill Evans MEP (EFA- Wales) added:

"Food shortages are not normally a problem of lack of agricultural capacity or productivity- they are problems of distorted land use and weak distribution infrastructures, often made worse by political instability. The suspicion is that the true interest of the biotech 'gene giants' is to enable more GM crops for the world market to be grown out of sight of the more critical GM opponents.

"One of the unfulfilled and empty promises of the biotech. industry is that GMOs will feed the world as well as cleaning up the environment and curing the sick. The pro-GMO lobby often cites yellow rice, claiming it reduces Vitamin A deficiency (VAD). But powerful counter arguments challenge not only its effectiveness but the very need for it. VAD is easily treated by a diet chosen from a range of green vitamin-A rich vegetables, most of which can be grown readily in developing countries."

Klaus Topfer from the UNEP is appearing before the European parliament's Environment Committee this afternoon, Tuesday, 10th July 2001.

Eluned Haf

Press Office
Green/ EFA group in the European Parliament

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