Genetically Modified Organisms - Cerritos Model United Nations

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11 Δεκ 2012 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Genetically Modified Organisms

Ce
rritos High School Model United Nations

October Conference 2012


Committee:
Food and Agricultural Organization

Topic:
Genetically Modified Organisms


Intro

Hello delegates! My name is Marwan Salama and I am a senior at Cerritos High School. This is
my fourth year involved in MUN and I have had many incredible experience
s and learned many
lessons as a result. Other than MUN, I am also Vice
-

President of the Cerritos HS California
Scholarship Federation, and Treasurer of the Cerritos HS National Honor Society. I am also in
The Cerritos HS marching band and Wind Symphony, p
erforming in places like Carnegie Hall,
New York and The Olympics in London, as well as in Paris, France. For me MUN has helped
me develop not only as a student, but a leader and has shaped who I am today. The MUN
program provides experiences and lessons n
o other club or class can offer. Prepare well and I
hope you will learn a great deal in the upcoming conference. If you have any questions or
concerns, please email me at
sal_marwan@yahoo.com

.


Background


Th
e Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) established in 1943, has since then set its
purpose as follows: “
raising levels of nutrition and standards of living of the peoples under their
respective jurisdictions; securing improvements in the efficiency of
the production and
distribution of all food and agricultural products; bettering the condition of rural populations; and
thus contributing towards an expanding world economy and ensuring humanity's freedom from
hunger".
With this in mind, a great issue ari
ses compromising such priorities, including health
and economic aspects, which is Genetically Modified Crops (GMC’s).

The FAO has recognized
GMC’s and GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms)
in general
as a global issu
e greatly in the
heat of debate, as thi
s issue can affect a wide variety of aspects including health safety (with
thi
ng
s like toxins), moral complications (do we have the right to alter the genes of organisms),
big company profits (how are small farmers able to thrive when competing against big

name
heap competitors), and more.


GMC’s are
described

as crops in which genes have been altered, if taken from another
organism

or made synthetically, using
methods

of genetic engineering. The purpose of this can
vary from looks of the crop to profit. Ge
netic engineering is what causes our food products to
look s
o

large and vibrant, yet can also be used to improve the survival rate of the crop. Products
like strawberries are altered to have better immunity from f
reezing, bringing more profit,
as they
can
sell much cheaper.
Genetic engineering in relation to crops is mostly used for
soy, corn, and
cotton,
yet not restricted to any crop.
More than 114 million acres of GMC’s have been grown in
each of the past years in more than 30 countries.
The reason this
is so controversial is because
such genetic engineering is not 100% verified as safe. No consequences can be

seen now, yet the
issue is if
side
-
effects can turn up eventually
, or other toxins, allergic reactions, and more are
significant enough to affect p
opulations.



Some countries have updated their GM regulations, yet many other countries have none,
or have banned GMC’s. Citizens have raised debate stating they deserve to know if crops have
been genetically modified, yet some countries do not want to d
o so afraid it will affect profit.
The great “label it” controversy is most
relevant

in developed countries, as some places like
Great
Britain

have required their GMC’s to b
e

labeled,
while other countries do not see it as a
big enough issue
.
Greatly used
for third
-
world hunger,
authorities

are in debate if
feeding

their
Genetically Modified Organisms

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rritos High School Model United Nations

October Conference 2012


people

crops with unknown safety,

or starving is the best thing.
Genetically

Modified Crops can
prove very beneficial in terms of appearance, quantity, disease prevention, and profit, yet t
he
issue of safety
, religious beliefs, and the right to know what is genetically altered or not

is at
hand.


U.N. Involvement


On May 19
th
, 1999, ECOSOC officially recognized Genetically Modified Organisms,
with all sub components to this including
genetic
ally

modified crops, as an issue necessary to
address at an international level, due to its possible effects to the environment, our health, and
more.
Taking

the issue very seriously, the United Nations has since then set protocols,
restrictions
, regulatio
ns, and more, all for the well being of the environment, consumers, and
countries
, recognizing the necessity to effectively and safely distribute and produce such
organisms.
Adopted on January 29
th
, 2000, the Cartega Protocol on Biosafety went into force i
n
September 11
th

2003. Part of the convention on Biological diversity, this protocol acts as an
international treaty to
“govern

the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting
from modern biotechnology from one country to another”. This protoco
l has exactly 156
signatories presented to the secretary general of the UN. Although the United Nations recognizes
the possible risks of genetically modified organisms, it has officially
recognized

their benefits to
environments and developing nations, alo
ng with its
potential

for developing and advancing
due
to modern technologies in resolution A/58/327 in 2003.


With close association to the FAO, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also
recognized genetically Modified Crops and Organisms as an issue r
elevant to their cause,
considering the certain health and environmental safety risks. Because of this, in the 53
rd

World
Health assembly the issue of genetically modified organisms was recognized and the committee
concluded that transparency and procedure
s is necessary for such genetic engineering of
organisms.

As for the FAO itself, Biotechnology forums have been created to tackle specific
aspects of biotechnology, and used as a guide of regulation for genetically modifies organisms.
Such reforms and prot
ocols are continuing to this day, issues to update countries of what they
can and cant do
concerning

genetic technology, to enhance the benefits of GMC’s, while
eliminating
issues ties with the topic.


Previous Solutions


As the topic of genetically modifi
ed crops has grown, so have both sides of the issue,
whether supporting them or aiming at their elimination. Countries such as the UK have given
consumers the right to know if the crops they are purchasing are genetically modified or not,
while countries l
ike Pakistan have denied their use and banned them from the country. While
things like
labeling

can affect the economic
profit

of such produce, as “genetically modified”
tends to repel customers, so have the bans of genetically

modified

crops.

In Pakistan
for example,
such a ban has caused a black market of genetically modified seed and produce to grow (being
much cheaper and easier to grow), yet negative effects are seen as produce spoils or turns out
toxic and hazardous. For example, several acres of cott
on turned red due to improper GM seeds,
and the effects have devastated the lives of Pakistani farmers.

Such countries banning or
denying

the
purchase

or use
of

genetically modified crops is often due
to
aspects

ranging

f
rom religious denial, or health/
saf
ety concerns.

Such countries have tried to
publicize organic farming, such as the Navi organization in India, helping thousand of farmers
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October Conference 2012


become independent, yet this is often very difficult for others as
o
rganic seeds are much more
expensive and more diff
icult to grow.

Further publicizing of organic farming has increased, by
teaching farmers new methods such as soil oxidation, new and cheap technologies, and more, yet
spread and diffusion of such methods is difficult with the thousand of third
-
world farmer
s
throughout the globe.


Many Developed and under
-
developed

countries have
attained

GM labs specifically for
health and safety
reasons
, to ensure allergens
,

toxins, et
c. are not being spread through
out these
crops, yet modern day
science

i
s

not enough to e
nsure of the safety of such genetically modified
crops. Overall, we are not in a situation to ensure that GMC’s are completely safe, yet modern
science has allowed us to eliminate existing
harmful substances to GMC’s. The international
community has yet to

determine global regulations for GMC’s, as labeling is voluntary, and the
issue of harmful GM seeds and GM black markets is still at hand. Considering this, the debate
over GMC’s as a solution to famine, or a threat to health still continues.



Bloc Posit
ions

African

Bloc
:

Most African Nations are still using conventional farming and very limited
Genetic technology with the exception of South Africa. This is due to the concern of political
leaders with the safety of such GM foods, considering the limited n
utritional supply in most
African nations, risks of Gm foods are difficult to be accepted.

Asian

Bloc
:

In Asia however, more countries are for
genetically

modified crops,
including The
Philippines (great GMC market) and China (top ten producer of GM foods)
, yet countries like
Japan and South Korea are more strict with their use and trade, with the exception of things like
oil.

Latin American Bloc
:

In Latin America, countries see Genetically modified crops as more of a
food source than marketing option, as B
razil, Argentina, and Paraguay are the top three
producers of GMC’s.

Especially with crops such as corn and soy, more and more Latin
American countries are seeing genetically modified crops as a famine solution, such as Mexico
and Honduras.

Middle Eastern
Bloc
:

The Middle
East
, with exception to some religious
issues
,
is a newer
developer of genetically modified crops, as their GM food market is expanding, yet some
countries still refuse to accept GMC’s due to unknown health risks. While main crops such as
corn and soy are big, the Middle East is still fairly new with GMC’s.

Western
bloc
:

Producing more than half of the worlds genetically modified crops, the western
bloc is in full support of GMC’s and sees them as a solution to the growing hunger in nations
.
With the US as number one, genetically modified crops are continuously being researched and
developed along with the European Union lifting any bans on GMC’s.


Points to Consider

1. Does your country support or go against the use of Genetic engineering a
nd GMC’s?

2. Are GMC’s sufficient for solving the issues of world famines?

3. Does your country have any regulations/restrictions on GMC’s?

4. If your country supports GMC’s, how do you plan to ensure they are safe, if not, how do you
plan to sufficiently
solve the issues of hunger, and overcome obstacles in organic farming?

5. How has your country been involved in tackling the issues of GMC’s?

Genetically Modified Organisms

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October Conference 2012


6. Has your country taken part in any significant actions towards GMC’s?

7. How does your country plan to enforce
GMC regulations, or do you plan to implement any at
all?

8. Do consumers have the right to know what is genetically modified and what is not?


Helpful Websites

1.

http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0111sp.
htm

2.

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

3.

http://www.csa.com/discoveryg
uides/gmfood/overview.php

4.

http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/index.htm

5.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data/biotechcrops/

6.

http://www.globalissues.org/issue/188/genetically
-
engineered
-
food

7.

http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/124/3/923.full




Bibliogr
aphy

1. "20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods."
WHO
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/>.

2. "Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S."
ERS/USDA Data
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.ers.u
sda.gov/data/biotechcrops/>.

3. "The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety."
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
. Web. 23 May
2012. <http://www.cbd.int/biosafety/background.shtml>.

4. "E/1999/31 E/CN.16/1999/9 Commission on Science and Technology for Developme
nt."
UN
News Center
. UN. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.un.org/esa/documents/ecosoc/docs/1999/e1999
-
31.htm>.

5. "FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for a World without
Hunger."
FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United

Nations, for a World
without Hunger
. Web. 23 May 2012. <http://www.fao.org/>.

6.
"Genetically Engineered Food."
-

Global Issues
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.globalissues.org/issue/188/genetically
-
engineered
-
food>.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Ce
rritos High School Model United Nations

October Conference 2012


7.
"Genetically Modified Crops and De
veloping Countries."
Genetically Modified Crops and
Developing Countries
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/124/3/923.full>.

8.
"Genetically Modified Crops."
Scientific Facts on
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.greenfacts.org/en/gmo/ind
ex.htm>.

9.
"Genetically Modified Crops: Will They Help or Hurt?"
Strange Horizons Articles: , by Dawn
Burnell
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.strangehorizons.com/2004/20041004/gmcrops.shtml>.

10.
"Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?"
Genetica
lly Modified Foods: Harmful or
Helpful?

Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php>.

11.
"June 2008 Monthly Update: Genetically Modified Crops and the Future of World
Agriculture | EarthTrends."
June 2008 Monthly Update: Gen
etically Modified Crops and
the Future of World Agriculture | EarthTrends
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://earthtrends.wri.org/updates/node/313>.

12.
"Our Work."
About IFPRI
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.ifpri.org/about/about_menu.asp>.

13.
PBS
. PBS. Web. 23
May 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/harvest/exist/>.

14.
"PIRSA Genetically Modified Crops."
Genetically Modified Crops
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/gmc>.

15.
"Spotlight: Genetically Modified Crops."
Spotlight: Genetically Modified Crops
.
Web. 23
May 2012. <http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0111sp.htm>.

Genetically Modified Organisms

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October Conference 2012


16.
"What Are Genes?"
Genetic Engineering, GMO
. Web. 23 May 2012.
<http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/ge/>.

Closing Remarks

To sum it all up, this issue can be tackled in a great deal of w
ays, so put on your creative hats and
make sure you all come to committee well researched and prepared. I wish you all good luck,
and make sure you email me if you have any questions. See you all in committee!