UK Government panel on sustainable development urges action on GMOs

The British Government Panel on Sustainable Development has repeated its call to the UK government to work out a comprehensive strategy to deal with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)


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Speaking at the launch of the Panel’s Fifth Annual Report, its Convenor, Sir Crispin Tickell, said: “The Panel remains concerned about biotechnology, and in particular the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The Panel believes that the measures taken by the Government to date are no more than a first step. The Panel reiterates its recommendations made in 1996 for a comprehensive strategy to be put in place, governing both the agricultural and medical uses of GMOs, which would include guiding principles, safeguards, monitoring of results, and transparency.”br>

The Panel, which comprises Sir Crispin and five Members, provides independent advice to the UK Government on strategic sustainable development issues.

Each year the Panel considers four major diverse topics for study. In 1998 the Panel reviewed the following: sustainable development and employment; environmental issues and the European Union; land use legislation governing National Parks and Green Belts; and community and indigenous peoples intellectual property rights over biological resources.

In its Fifth Report the Panel makes recommendations for action by the Government and others and reviews action taken as a result of recommendations made in its four previous Reports.

Sir Crispin said: “1998 was the Year of the Oceans and the Panel welcomes the Ocean Workshop held in London in November at which the Government identified seven threats to the seven seas. The Panel renews its recommendation for the establishment of an InterGovernmental Panel on the Oceans to bring these issues together and decide on a coordinated plan of action.

“The continuing decline in fish stocks world wide, and the lack of coherent policies, long or even short term, for their sustainable management, has been a constant lament of the Panel. The Panel again recommends the creation of an advisory forum which would bring together all stakeholders to consider what changes to national and European policies would help fishing communities to replenish stocks, and to contribute to a more sustainable course for the industry as a whole.”

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