Commission on Sustainable Development focuses on biotechnology and Rio+10

Ministers attending the eighth meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-8) have largely agreed that the Commission should lay the ground for the Rio+10 summit in 2002. Other discussions have led to debate on the role of biotechnology in agriculture.

CSD-8, taking place in New York, will continue next week. Thus far, ministers have used the meeting to debate where the Rio+10 summit should take place and what the theme of the summit should be. With the EU having convinced Japan and Russia at the recent G8 meeting in Japan to back its proposal for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002 (see related story), expectations of the Rio+10 summit are mounting.

Several countries have offered to host the event, including South Africa, Brazil and South Korea.

Prior to the ministerial section of CSD-8, multi-stakeholder discussions took place on the nature and future of sustainable agriculture. With speakers representing national governments, industries, trade unions and NGOs, there was wide divergence on the issue of biotechnology. Many NGOs demanded investment in organic farming, but industry representatives said that any expansion of organic farming should be based on sound science and not on “emotionalism”.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin publishes daily from CSD-8 and has reported that some delegates feel the focus on biotechnology has not left enough time to discuss other pressing issues.

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