CUJ has joined other NGOs from around the world for the 6th Meeting of Parties (MOP6) of the Convention of Biological Diversity.
The United Nations conference is held in Hyderabad, India October 1-5, 2012. Just over 2 years ago, everyone met in Nagoya for the MOP5, as negotiators finalized the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, the important legal instrument to deal with damage due to genetically modified organisms (GMO).
Official website: COP/MOP6 Biodiversity Policy & Practice
September 30, 2012
Proposals for Japan to Introduce a National Legislation Regarding the
Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol:
A Call for Action on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity
Through Strict Regulations on the Use of Living Modified Organisms
Amend Japan’s Current Domestic Cartagena Protocol Legislation
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Japan Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture
It is an undeniable fact that Japan imports a large amount of genetically modified organisms/living modified organisms (GMO/LMO). In recent years, we have seen a number of cases of problems where domestic agricultural products are genetically contaminated due to such imported GMOs.
During the course of the nation-wide investigations that we and other civic organizations have undertaken since 2004, wild-growing GM rapeseed (canola) plants have been found all around Japan, ranging from Hokkaido in the north to Chiba Prefecture, Hyogo prefecture, and Fukuoka Prefecture in the south. There have been many cases of hybridization and suspected cases of stacked traits (several GM traits in one type of organism), as well as crossing with other species that are related to rapeseed within the brassica family.
In Mie Prefecture, which for decades have carefully protected local speciality brand crops, it was decided to use seeds from outside the prefecture due to fear of GM contamination within the region.
In 2011, papaya-growers in Okinawa Prefecture were found to be using illegal GM papaya imported from Taiwan. The farmers, who did not even know that their trees were genetically modified to resist virus infections, had to cut down all their trees, incurring losses up to 70 million Yen.
In order to deal with these problems, Japan Citizens’ Network for Sustainable Food and Agriculture strongly urges the Japanese government to sign and ratify the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, and amend its current national Cartagena Protocol law:
1) Amend Japan’s national legislation so that it reflects all the important issues raised in the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, and take the international lead in ratifying the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol. Take special note of the following key issues:
1.a) Ensure that the legislation includes a reference to Article 15 in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development regarding the precautionary principle.
1.b) The term “damage” should include any negative influence to the biological diversity related to ecosystem services as a whole, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and to the health of human beings.
1.c) The term “operator” should include the developer, producer and exporter (i.e. all who are involved in the marketing process) that contribute to commercializing the genetically modified organism.
1.d) In the case of damage, the redress system should give priority not only to financial compensation but to actual restoration to the original state.
1.e) Enact a special civil liability system to cover damages casued by the import of GMOs. Incorporate the following items in the system:
– The system should be based on strict liability.
– Ensure that the operator has retroactive obligations.
– Specify the centralized responsibility.
– Secure the victim’s right to take legal action.
– Ensure that an insurance fund is set up to cover the liability of operators in the case of GMO export and imports, in order to avoid any situation of insufficient compensation due to bankrupcy, etc.
2) Revise Japan’s current domestic Cartagena Protocol legislation and make sure that the related laws fully reflects the Cartagena Protocol. Take special note of the following key issues:
2.a) Ensure that the legislation includes a reference to the precautionary principle.
2.b) The target should include any activity related to ecosystem services as a whole, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and the health of human beings.
(More photos can be found on Linkages, October 1, 2012)