In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (SynBio), a new extreme form of genetic engineering.
With the utmost respect, we address Your Holiness regarding a topic of grave concern and global scope—genetically modified (GM) crops and their impact on peoples and on nature, land, water, seeds, and economies, especially those of the Global South.
Confronted with 35,000 institutional and individual signatures on a petition growing by several hundred an hour, Brazil’s Judiciary Commission agreed to take the Pro-Terminator Bill off the agenda this week leaving open the possibility that the bill will not be passed until Congress reconvenes in early February. However, the Judiciary Commission also determined to sit again next Tuesday and could continue meeting even Wednesday and Thursday before adjourning for Christmas. The Chair of the Commission has reiterated his commitment to block the contentious bill but CSO observers understand that a majority of Commission members are in favor of the suicide seed legislation and could, regardless of a formal agenda, call for a vote at any meeting. Brazilian allies both in the Commission and among the civil society organizations attending the negotiations say that representatives and government officials have been shocked by the scale in ferocity of global opposition to the proposed legislation.
The Food Systems We Don’t Know We Don’t Know – Fifty years ago, at the first World Food Congress in June 1963, the UN was told that, “We have the means, we have the capacity, to wipe hunger and poverty from the face of the earth in our lifetime – we need only the will.” These words have been the mantra of every food conference since. Yet governments still face major gaps in their knowledge about our food supply and consumption. This became horribly apparent in 2007 when governments failed to recognize that a global food crisis was at hand. Fifty years after policymakers committed to end hunger they need to sort out why governments don’t have the means, the capacity, or the will to end hunger.
In this Communiqué, ETC Group identifies the major corporate players that control industrial farm inputs. Together with our companion poster, Who will feed us? The industrial food chain or the peasant food web?, ETC Group aims to de-construct the myths surrounding the effectiveness of the industrial food system.
The expert group that will be filing a report with recommendations to the UN Convention on Biodiversity met in early June, and examined a variety of emerging uses of synthetic biology. Jim Thomas was there representing ETC.
Increasingly, syn bio is moving out of the lab, and companies are conducting experiments and even genetic engineering in the wild – for example, by using viruses or gene drives to change genetic structures in nature.
The following is an excerpt from ETC Group's May 2019 newsletter. To receive regular updates, sign up (see right sidebar)!
As converging global crises – biodiversity, climate, plastic – intensify, governments and corporations are scrambling to create new institutions and investors are lining up to finance a new round of buzzword-driven techno-fixes. Talk of “rapid technological change”, “exponential technologies”, “frontier technologies” and “the fourth industrial revolution” can be heard in hallways of a variety of governments, institutions and UN bodies.
The global meat industry is estimated to be worth over $1 trillion USD in 2019, and is projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2022. The dairy industry is estimated at $442 billion. Industrially processed meat and dairy are notorious for the inhumane conditions of their livestock, and are a climate menace.