Discussions on GMOs take hours in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development

THE GUARDIAN – Lofty goals of paper merging proved to be more difficult than expected for the CSTD as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) slowed negotiations to a snail’s pace yesterday evening. Finally, after “discussing it all day,” according to the Austrian delegate, a compromise was made on the much debated subject of GMOs as reporters were informed during a press conference last night.

With groups who previously were at odds with each other, including the European Union and a group of global South nations, working to merge ideas, points of contention were brought up on the issue of GMOs.

The US and Canada had been at odds with much of the rest of the membership, particularly the Latin American countries along with the European Union. The US and Canada have campaigned for the continued use of GMOs, but many other states brought up concerns they had with the use of GMOs.

While the greater aims of their ideas were generally agreed upon, this one detail caused a rift among the delegates, with many strong stances on both sides and differing ideas.

Bolivia noted they were working to address the issue while still keeping with their policies on GMOs, and hoped their suggestions for organic farming would be included. They emphasized their hope that the issue would be resolved and they would not have to compromise their strong stance on GMOs.

Speaking for the European Union, Austria explained that the EU was not necessarily against GMOs, but they are had concerns over how the lack of research into GMOs. Yet the United States and Canada continued their support for the use of, and research into, GMOs.

“This is a point of contention. We’ve been discussing this all day.” said Austria. “We’re back to square one as of now.”

Though, after hours of debate, the CSTD was able to come to a compromise that all states were amenable to. Unfortunately, just minutes before moving into voting block, issues arose over a plant disease affecting non-GMO crops. We have yet to see if this will undo the hours of debate that have already taken place.