GMO news related to Mexico

19.12.2016 |

Biodiversity Convention Adopts Plan for Benefit Sharing for Genetic Sequences

Austin, Texas, 19 December (Edward Hammond) – Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have adopted a decision on sequence information of genetic resources that sets in motion a plan intended to lead to an important decision at their next meeting in two years’ time.

The decision was adopted by the 22nd meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties Cancun (COP), Mexico, which ended on Saturday, 17 December.

The plan is a compromise that emerged after developing countries, concerned that the proliferation of sequences and other genetic information in the internet “cloud” is promoting biopiracy, proposed that the Cancun meeting adopt a decision clarifying that sequence information should be treated equivalently to physical biodiversity samples for the purposes of benefit sharing.

Under pressure, developed countries’ negotiators acknowledged that gene sequences “are an issue to be dealt with.” The European Union, Australia, and others insisted, however, that they were unprepared to negotiate in Cancun because they had not anticipated that the issue would arise. This reason was offered despite a preliminary exchange on the subject at a meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Science, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) in May of this year, and gene sequences appearing in bracketed text in the Convention’s draft decision on synthetic biology.