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Genetic Engineering and Globalization

Policy reports | 02.02.2006 | 060202-02

In April 2005, the Commission on Genetic Modification (COGEM) organized a workshop concerning the effects of the European legislation on genetic engineering on the economic and societal developments in non-western countries. Subsequently COGEM published the advisory report, Genetic Engineering and Globalization. Suggestions for governmental policy in the field of genetic engineering in the light of increasing globalization In the report, attention is focussed on the effects on countries outside Europe of national and European regulations on the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops and the resultant GM products. These effects are not always intended. The emphasis on the particular European values may for example result in a conflict with other values such as worldwide solidarity and justice. At the same time, consideration is given to a number of unexpected effects that could arise in the Netherlands or the rest of Europe as the result of individual countries’ regulations and the rapid development that GM cultivation is undergoing in some parts of the world. Will the European regulatory framework remain enforceable and affordable? In policy development on gene technology this global dimension deserves attention. COGEM advocates here a pro-active approach, based on dialogue and cooperation with nations with differing values. COGEM is aware that the Dutch government is already involved in the quest for appropriate solutions for a number of problems. COGEM calls on the Dutch government to make every effort to have its approach to ‘capacity-building’ in developing countries – in which it is endeavoured to build up regulatory systems on the basis of the context of local policy, instead of implementing from above regulations that have been developed elsewhere – supported throughout the EU. COGEM is also a proponent of a further harmonized role for the Biosafety Clearing-House as the worldwide registration system for market approval and field trials of GM crops.

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