Volume 4, Issue 12 (Spring 2010)                   MLJ 2010, 4(12): 131-147 | Back to browse issues page

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Ghareyazie B, Mottaghi A, Vishlaghi N, Rashedi H. Biosafety at International Agreements/Organizations. MLJ. 2010; 4 (12) :131-147
URL: http://ijmedicallaw.ir/article-1-464-en.html

Modern biotechnology can help global coalition against hunger and malnutrition. Global area under the production of transgenic plants has reached 134 million hectares at the end of the year 2009 and is expected to reach nearly 150 million hectares by the year 2010. In spite of the benefits that modern biotechnology offers, concerns have been raised in the proper and environmentally sound and safe application of this powerful tool for food production and environmental release of living modified organisms (LMOs). These include, but are not limited to concerns about consumers' safety, animal health, diminishing agricultural biodiversity, environmental pollution, loss of biodiversity, and social, economic and ethical concerns. Concerns about the commercial/environmental release of LMOs have reached from scientific/social debates to the level of governments and international treaties and agreements, reflected in the drafts of several international instruments such as Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Codex Alimentarius Commission, International Standard Organization (ISO), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the GATT agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Addressing these concerns at national and international levels requires an effective policy and regulatory framework, collectively called "biosafety regulations", for research and production; import, export and transit; environmental release, standards for human consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and IPR of the developed innovations. This framework should also promote investment in this field by both local and foreign investors.

There are only a few developing countries that have their own biosafety guidelines; though this number is growing. The countries without their own biosafety regulatory system will essentially have to follow the international agreements and treaties. Developing countries may therefore, face difficulties in the field of agricultural biotechnology as importers, exporters and producers.

The fact that Biosafety issue is included in several international documents indicates that the world has made its decision about modern biotechnology and its application for food security and combating hunger and poverty.

Received: 2010/02/24 | Accepted: 2010/05/11

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