African Civil Society Statement: Call for a ban on GMOs

Download the petition for a ban on GMOs to the African Union.

 
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Introduction
We, the undersigned, members of civil society organisations from across the African continent, hereby call for an immediate and complete ban on the growing, importing and exporting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the African continent.

We call upon the governments of Africa to take the necessary steps to protect the health of their populations by supporting this call and commit to conducting independent and authoritative long-term food safety studies.

We also call upon the governments of Africa to take note of our additional strong objections to GMOs. These concern the patenting of life forms and privatisation of agriculture, which has led to the dependence by farmers, rural communities and indigenous people on external private and monopolistic seeds suppliers. We are also extremely concerned about the adverse impact of industrial and GM based agriculture on biodiversity and climate change. We cannot ignore the suicide epidemic of farmers in India- a direct result of farmers' dependence on GM cotton- and the resultant increased costs and unmanageable debt.
Scientific uncertainty about food safety
During September 2012, Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini, and his research team at the University of Caen in France, published the results of a two-year animal feeding study, in which rats fed with Monsanto's herbicide tolerant GM maize, event NK603, and glyphosate residues, developed tumours and showed signs of liver and kidney damage. The peer reviewed study, published in a highly respected scientific journal has come under vicious and sustained attack from the biotechnology machinery.

Nevertheless, scientific consensus has emerged from the discourse, that the current methods used by Monsanto et al, for testing the safety of GM food are dangerously inadequate and that long term, independent and publicly conducted food safety studies are urgently needed. We also note with concern that there are no internationally agreed protocols for long term testing of GMOs.
The Precautionary Principle
Our call for a ban is consistent with the Precautionary Principle, which states that where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent that damage. This Principle is the cornerstone of the United Nations' Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the only truly global international agreement on GMOs. Even the World Trade Organisation's Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreement supports such a moratorium in these circumstances of scientific uncertainty1.
Maize is a staple food in Africa
We stress that the African continent is particularly vulnerable to food safety risks, taking into account that maize is one of our important staple crops. Many millions of Africans eat maize on a daily basis, in a semi-processed form. Although only South Africa grows GM maize commercially on the continent, thousands of tons of GM maize are being exported to several African countries from South Africa, while the aisles of supermarkets up and down the continent are stocked with GM products. In addition, tons of GM food aid from the United States and other GM producing countries are distributed to Africans.
Ban GMOs in Africa
Recognising that millions of Africans have been consuming GM maize and other GM products without their knowledge or consent; and

Taking into account the new consensus that long term, independent food safety studies are urgently needed;

We strongly urge the government of South Africa, (as the only GM food producer on the continent) and all other African governments that import GMOs and GM products, to urgently respond to our calls for a ban.

We urge our policy makers to follow the guidance provided by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). The IAASTD recommends that policy makers move away from industrial agriculture and GMOs, to food production systems that are appropriate for the millions of small-scale farmers around the world, who are primarily responsible for the global population's sustenance.
1. "Art 5.7--In cases where relevant scientific evidence is insufficient, a Member may provisionally adopt sanitary or phytosanitary measures on the basis of available pertinent information, including that from the relevant international organizations as well as from sanitary or phytosanitary measures applied by other Members. In such circumstances, Members shall seek to obtain the additional information necessary for a more objective assessment of risk and review the sanitary or phytosanitary measure accordingly within a reasonable period of time."[/vc_tab]
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D?claration de la soci?t? civile africaine : appel pour une interdiction des OGM
Introduction

Nous soussign?es, organisations de la soci?t? civile de l?ensemble du continent africain, appelons par la pr?sente ? une interdiction imm?diate et totale de la culture, de l?importation et de l?exportation d?organismes g?n?tiquement modifi?s (OGM) sur le continent africain.

Nous exhortons les gouvernements d?Afrique ? prendre les mesures n?cessaires ? la protection de la sant? de leurs populations, en soutenant le pr?sent appel et en s?engageant ? mener ? bien, sur le long terme, des ?tudes ind?pendantes et faisant autorit? en mati?re de s?curit? alimentaire.

Nous appelons ?galement les gouvernements d?Afrique ? bien vouloir prendre note de nos objections suppl?mentaires concernant les OGM. Celles-ci concernent le brevetage du vivant et la privatisation de l?agriculture, qui a plong? les paysans, les communaut?s rurales et les peuples autochtones dans la d?pendance vis-?-vis du monopole des entreprises semenci?res priv?es. Nous sommes par ailleurs extr?mement pr?occup?s par les impacts n?gatifs sur la biodiversit? et les changements climatiques de l?agriculture industrielle bas?e sur la technique transg?nique. Nous ne pouvons ignorer l??pid?mie de suicides qui a frapp? les paysans indiens, r?sultat direct de la d?pendance de ces derniers vis-?-vis du coton g?n?tiquement modifi? et des co?ts croissants qui en r?sultent, sans parler de la dette ing?rable qu?ils ont ainsi contract?e.
Incertitude scientifique concernant la s?curit? alimentaire

En septembre 2012, le Professeur Gilles-Eric S?ralini et son ?quipe de recherche ? l?Universit? de Caen, en France, ont publi? les r?sultats d?une ?tude toxicologique de deux ans, lors de laquelle des rats nourris avec du ma?s transg?nique tol?rant ? l?herbicide de Monsanto, le NK603, et des r?sidus de glyphosate, ont d?velopp? des tumeurs et pr?sent? des signes de l?sions du foie et des reins. L??tude, r?vis?e par des pairs, publi?e dans une revue scientifique hautement respect?e, a ?t? la cible d?attaques violentes et nourries de la part de l?industrie des biotechnologies.

Cependant, un consensus scientifique a surgi de la controverse, selon lequel les m?thodes actuelles utilis?es par Monsanto et les autres entreprises du secteur pour tester la s?curit? des aliments GM sont dangereusement inappropri?es et que des ?tudes de long terme, ind?pendantes et publiques, sur la s?curit? alimentaire de ces produits, doivent ?tre men?es ? bien de mani?re urgente. Nous notons ?galement avec une pr?occupation certaine l?absence de protocole internationalement reconnu en ce qui concerne les tests d?OGM ? long terme.
Le principe de pr?caution

Notre appel ? une interdiction s?appuie sur le principe de pr?caution, qui stipule que face ? une menace de pr?judices s?rieux ou irr?versibles, l?absence de certitudes scientifiques totales ne peut justifier l?ajournement des mesures pour ?viter ces pr?judices. Ce principe est la pierre angulaire du Protocole de Carthag?ne sur la Bios?curit? des Nations Unies, le seul accord ? port?e internationale sur les OGM. M?me l?accord sur l?application des mesures sanitaires et phytosanitaires (accord SPS) de l?Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) soutient un tel moratoire dans ces circonstances d?incertitude scientifique.1
Le ma?s est un aliment de base en Afrique

Nous insistons sur le fait que le continent africain est particuli?rement vuln?rable aux risques li?s ? la s?curit? alimentaire, si l?on tient compte du fait que le ma?s constitue l?un de nos aliments de base importants. Des millions d?Africaines et d?Africains consomment du ma?s quotidiennement, sous forme semi transform?e. Bien que l?Afrique du Sud soit le seul pays du continent ? cultiver du ma?s transg?nique ? l??chelle commerciale, des milliers de tonnes de ma?s transg?nique sont export?es vers divers pays africains depuis l?Afrique du Sud, tandis que les rayons des supermarch?s du continent tout entier regorgent de produits ? base d?OGM. De plus, des tonnes d?aliments transg?niques provenant des Etats-Unis et d?autres pays producteurs d?OGM sont distribu?es aux Africains sous forme d?aide alimentaire.
Interdisons les OGM en Afrique

Reconnaissant que des millions d?Africaines et d?Africains ont consomm? et consomment du ma?s transg?nique et d?autres produits GM ? leur insu ou sans leur consentement ;

Et consid?rant le nouveau consensus concernant la n?cessit? de mener de mani?re urgente des ?tudes ind?pendantes, sur le long terme, portant sur la s?curit? alimentaire de ces produits ;

Nous encourageons fortement les gouvernements d?Afrique du Sud (en sa qualit? de producteur unique d?aliments GM sur le continent), ainsi que tous les autres gouvernements africains important des OGM ou des produits GM, ? r?pondre de mani?re urgente ? notre appel en faveur d?une interdiction.

Nous encourageons les d?cideurs politiques ? suivre les recommandations de l?IAASTD (Evaluation internationale des sciences et technologies agricoles pour le d?veloppement, de l?anglais International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development). L?IAASTD recommande que les d?cideurs politiques abandonnent l?agriculture industrielle et les OGM, et se tournent vers les syst?mes de production alimentaire appropri?s aux millions de paysans et petits producteurs de par le monde, qui sont ? l?origine de la plupart des aliments produits pour la population mondiale.
1 Art 5.7?Dans les cas o? les preuves scientifiques seront insuffisantes, un Membre pourra provisoirement adopter des mesures sanitaires ou phytosanitaires sur la base des renseignements pertinents disponibles, y compris ceux ?manant des organisations internationales comp?tentes ainsi que ceux qui d?coulent des mesures sanitaires ou phytosanitaires appliqu?es par d?autres Membres. Dans de telles circonstances, les Membres s?efforceront d?obtenir les renseignements additionnels n?cessaires pour proc?der ? une ?valuation plus objective du risque et examineront en cons?quence la mesure sanitaire ou phytosanitaire, dans un d?lai raisonnable
African Centre for Biosafety
Activist Corner
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Declara??o da Sociedade Civil Africana: Apelo ? proibi??o dos OGMs
Introdu??o
N?s, organiza??es da sociedade civil de todo o continente africano assinantes deste chamado, vimos por este meio apelar a uma proibi??o imediata e total do cultivo, da importa??o e exporta??o de organismos geneticamente modificados (OGMs) no continente africano.

Exortamos os governos de ?frica a tomarem as medidas necess?rias ? prote??o da sa?de das suas popula??es, apoiando este apelo e comprometendo-se a levar a cabo estudos de seguran?a alimentar de longo prazo, independentes e fidedignos.

Exortamos igualmente os governos de ?frica a tomarem em considera??o as nossas fortes obje??es adicionais aos OGMs. Estas dizem respeito ? patentea??o de formas de vida e ? privatiza??o da agricultura, o que tem levado ? depend?ncia dos camponeses, das comunidades rurais e dos povos ind?genas em benef?cio dos fornecedores de sementes privados, externos e monopolistas. Estamos igualmente extremamente preocupados com o impacto negativo da agricultura industrial e assente na tecnologia transg?nica sobre a biodiversidade e as mudan?as clim?ticas. N?o podemos ignorar a epidemia de suic?dios dos camponeses na ?ndia ? uma consequ?ncia direta da depend?ncia dos camponeses ao algod?o GM ? e o resultante aumento dos custos e a d?vida insuport?veis.
A incerteza cient?fica acerca da seguran?a alimentar
Durante o m?s de setembro de 2012, o Professor Gilles-Eric S?ralini e a sua equipa de investiga??o na Universidade de Caen, em Fran?a, publicaram os resultados de um estudo de dois anos com base na alimenta??o de animais, no qual ratos alimentados com o milho geneticamente modificado tolerante ao herbicida da Monsanto, o NK603, e aos res?duos de glifosato, desenvolveram tumores e manifestaram sinais de les?es no f?gado e nos rins dos animais. O estudo, revisto paritariamente, publicado numa revista cient?fica altamente conceituada, tem sido alvo de p?rfidos e constantes ataques por parte do aparelho biotecnol?gico.

Mesmo assim, um consenso cient?fico emergiu da discuss?o, concordando-se que os m?todos atuais usados por Monsanto et al para a testagem da seguran?a da alimenta??o GM s?o perigosamente inadequados e que estudos de seguran?a alimentar de longo prazo, independentes e levados a cabo por entidades p?blicas s?o urgentemente necess?rios. Notamos tamb?m com preocupa??o que n?o existem protocolos internacionalmente acordados para a testagem a longo prazo dos OGMs.
O Princ?pio da Precau??o
O nosso apelo ? proibi??o ? consistente com o Princ?pio da Precau??o que estipula que, nos casos em que existem amea?as de danos s?rios ou irrevers?veis, a aus?ncia de certeza cient?fica total n?o dever? ser usada como argumento para adiar medidas para prevenir esse dano. Este princ?pio ? a pedra angular do Protocolo de Cartagena das Na??es Unidas sobre Biosseguran?a, o ?nico acordo internacional verdadeiramente global sobre OGMs. At? o Acordo Sanit?rio e Fitossanit?rio da Organiza??o Mundial do Com?rcio (SPS) apoia esta morat?ria nessas circunst?ncias de incerteza cient?fica1. O milho ? um alimento b?sico em ?frica Salientamos que o continente africano ? particularmente vulner?vel aos riscos de seguran?a alimentar, se tomarmos em considera??o que o milho ? um dos nossos alimentos de base importantes. Embora apenas a ?frica do Sul cultive milho GM de forma comercial no continente, milh?es de toneladas de milho GM est?o a ser exportadas para v?rios pa?ses africanos pela ?frica do Sul, enquanto as prateleiras dos supermercados, por todo o continente, s?o abastecidas com produtos GM. Para al?m disso, toneladas de ajuda alimentar GM dos Estados Unidos e outros pa?ses produtores de GM s?o distribu?das aos africanos.
Pro?ba os OGMs em ?frica
Reconhecendo que milh?es de africanos t?m vindo a consumir milho GM e outros produtos GM sem o seu conhecimento ou consentimento;

Tomando em considera??o o novo consenso de que estudos de seguran?a alimentar de longo prazo e independentes s?o urgentemente necess?rios;

Incitamos fortemente o governo da ?frica do Sul, (na qualidade de ?nico produtor de alimentos GM no continente) e todos os outros governos africanos que importam OGMs e produtos GM, a responder com urg?ncia aos nossos apelos a uma proibi??o.

Exortamos os nossos pol?ticos a seguirem as orienta??es fornecidas pela Avalia??o Internacional da Ci?ncia e Tecnologia Agr?rias para o Desenvolvimento (IAASTD). O IAAST recomenda que os pol?ticos se distanciem da agricultura industrial e dos OGMs, orientando-se para sistemas de produ??o alimentar que sejam apropriados aos milh?es de camponeses de pequena escala em todo o mundo, sendo estes os principais respons?veis pelo sustento da popula??o global.
1 "Art 5.7?Nos casos em que as provas cient?ficas forem insuficientes, um Membro pode provisoriamente adoptar medidas sanit?rias ou fitossanit?rias alegando informa??o relevante dispon?vel, incluindo a de organiza??es internacionais pertinentes, assim como medidas sanit?rias ou fitossanit?rias aplicadas por outros membros. Em tais circunst?ncias, os Membros dever?o procurar obter a informa??o adicional necess?ria para uma avalia??o mais objetiva do risco e rever a medida sanit?ria e fitossanit?ria em fun??o dessa dentro de um per?odo de tempo razo?vel."
African Centre for Biosafety Activist Corner
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