It was clear from the beginning of the biennial United Nations biodiversity conference in Nagoya that money was - and is - a crucial issue. Unfortunately, the conference confirmed a consistent pattern of failure to make sufficient provision for developing countries to enable them to implement their commitments under the CBD.

Antje Lorch, Third World Resurgence No. 242/243, Nov. 2010

On of the first things new EU Commissionair for Health and Consumers John Dalli did today was to authorized BASF's GM potato Amflora.
The EU Commission is only in office since a week, and the responsibility for GM crops was moved from DG Environment to DG Health. Yesterday Dalli talked to members of the EU parliament, but he then nevertheless took a fast decision then.

Few would deny that agriculture is especially severely affected by climate change and that the right practices contribute to mitigate it, yet expectations of the new climate agreement diverge sharply, as well as notions on what are good and what are bad agricultural practices and whether soil carbon sequestration should be part of carbon trading.

Helena Paul, Almuth Ernsting, Stella Semino, Susanne Gura & Antje Lorch (EcoNexus, Biofuelwatch, Grupo de Reflexion Rural, NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark), and The Development Fund Norway.
Report published for COP15, of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, December 2009.

A new study by Charles Benbrook shows that farmers in the US from 1996 to 2008 used 144 million kg (318 million pounds) of herbicides more then compared to conventional agriculture.
This is mainly caused by the development of herbicide resistant weeds and due to the fact that herbicide applications in conventional agriculture continuously decreased in the same period.

It's not often that governments stop GM crops, but it happens - this time it's the South Africa government that rejected the Agriculture Research Council's (ARC's) application to provide Bt potatoes to local farmers, saying it was concerned about its safety and economic effect.

One crop, one country, and officially only for one year, 9 years ago - and yet there is contamination. On 8 September 2009, German authorities notified the other EU member states that they had found unathorized GM flax (linseed) in a shipment from Canada via Belgium (RASFF 2009.1171). The flax (FP967/CDC, Triffid) is herbicide-tolerant, but to a different class of herbicides then usually used with GM crops, and it carries an antibiotic resistance gene as marker.

For the third time the EU Commission handed the Amflora dossier back to the EFSA in 2008. This time not only the GMO panel but also the Biohazard panel are asked about their opinion. And after months EFSA announced that they would need more time to come to a conclusion because two of their experts have a different opinion then the rest.

Today the German minister for Agriculture Aigner announced that she would use the safety clauses in Article 20(3) of the German law on genetic engineering as well as Article 23 of the EU Directive 2001/18 on Deliberate Release to stop the cultivation of Monsanto's GM maize MON810.
In a press conference she stated: "The cultivation of MON810 is thereby forbidden." The assessment of the different authorities gave no consistent opinion on environmental effects of MON810.


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