05 Oct 2012 – ENSSER participated with 7 delegates at the 6th meeting of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP-6) from 01-05 Oct 2012 in Hyderabad, India. ENSSER convened two side events informing MOP-6 participates about recent scientific research and policy analysis in different biosafety fields. ENSSER’s work at MOP-6 – in conjunction with the biosafety conferences in Hyderabad on Sep 27 and on Sep 28-29 – was well received by Indian journalists who reported repeatedly in major Indian journals. ENSSER concentrated its work at MOP-6 on advancing the work of the Cartagena Protocol on the inclusion of socio-economic considerations in GMO decision making and on promoting the socalled “Roadmap for Risk Assessment”. The Roadmap was developed in the last years to give guidance to governments and stakeholders how to better evaluate risk assessment dossier by developers of GMOs and to reach informed decision making. Both processes were taken forward by the final decisions in Hyderabad, ENSSER is committed to contribute to the ongoing activities until 2014 when MOP-7 will be convened in South Korea. Read the ENSSER statement on the Roadmap for Risk Assessment of LMOs.

Side Event 1: Transgene outcrossing in native and indigenous crops / Horizontal gene transfer

Unexpected and unwanted transgene outcrossing and spreading in native and indigenous crops has been observed in several cases during the last years. Indigenous organisations, conservationists and regulators have been working on options to prevent such transgene spread. One example is the ban of Bt cotton planting in regions of the USA where native and wild cotton varieties are growing. Scientists from Mexico and the USA will present their results on research with maize, cotton and canola in the ENSSER side-event. A scientists from New Zealand will report on a recent controversy concerning monitoring of possible horizontal gene transfer between buried GE cows and soil microorganisms. Risk assessment and management options will be discussed with the audience.

Prof. Cynthia L. Sagers, University of Arkansas, USA
Dr. Ana Wegier, National Institute for Research in Agriculture, Forests and Lifestock (INIFAP), Mexico
Prof. Jack Heinemann, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Side Event 2: Strengthening risk assessment – Lessons learnt from independent research

The scientifically meaningful planning and conduct of Environmental and Health Risk Assessment (ERA & HRA) of genetically engineered organisms has been a matter of dispute since the first deliberate releases and commercialisation of genetically engineered organisms. ERA and HRA has been reviewed and updated since than, many simple methods of the early days derived from chemical toxicology have been evaluated as unsuitable for assessing the potentially more complex effects of living organisms. Scientists from Europe and Africa present their results from research and experiences from the regulatory debates in this ENSSER side-events. The development of scientifically sound approaches and methods will be discussed with the audience.

Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), Switzerland
Prof. Johnnie van den Berg, North West University, South Africa
Robin Mesnage, University of Caen, France


Further links:

web coverage by IISD

Further newspaper coverage: Times of India, Times of India (2), Science and Development Network, The Hindu Business Line, The Deccan Chronicle, The Deccan Chronicle (2), The Hindu, The Hans India, The Biosafety Information Centre, Down To Earth, Down To Earth (2)