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Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers

Rutgers Model United Nations 5 growing regions, and refuges of at least 50 per cent of their YieldGard Plus acreage in most cotton growing regions. 13 While this solved the problem of damage to the ecosystem, some disappointed farmers believed the refuges took valuable acreage. The critics of GM foods led protests and influenced government decisions, and in 2002 states within the UN started to make decisions with great impact on the GM food industry. Government Reactions In 2002, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe experienced a widespread famine because of droughts in the region. The United States responded to the problem by donating corn to the United Nations Relief Fund for Africa to offset the food shortages caused by the droughts. The Zambian government raised concerns about the genetically modified corn, claiming that the long-term effects of genetically modified corn were unknown and therefore the government did not distribute the corn to the people. 14 The United States responded by stating that all US corn is mixed, with about 30 per cent of all corn being genetically modified, and that US citizens ate the corn since its creation. 15 The Zambian government sought out other corn sources for its people, while the donated corn from the United States went uneaten. Eventually, the Zambian government rejected all genetically modified corn and attempted to feed its people without the aid of the United States. 16 More than two years later, the Zambian government altered its stance on genetically engineered food and accepted the corn as aid for its starving people. 17 Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa ordered his agriculture officials to allow the corn into the state, ending food riots, and allowing his people to finally access adequate food sources. 18 While Mwanawasa previously stated the food was poisonous, the tragic state of his people forced him to overturn his previous decision and take into account the fact 13 “EPA Approves YieldGard Plus corn” 14 “Greenpeace, Zambia Reject US Claim”, The Washington Times, 31 August 2002, http://ngin.tripod.com/310802a.htm 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid. 17 “Zambia Allows Its People To Eat”, The Center for Consumer Freedom, 14 December 2005, http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm?headline=2936 18 “Zambia Allows Its People To Eat”

Rutgers Model United Nations 6 that the corn had proven harmless since its beginning in 1996. 19 Zambia was not the only state to ban GM food, as Venezuela would soon follow suit. In May 2004, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez placed a ban on all genetically modified organisms, not just foods, in Venezuela. Venezuela previously negotiated a contract with the Monsanto Company to plant up to 500,000 acres of soybeans on Venezuelan farms. When Chavez learned that Monsanto planned to use genetically engineered soybeans, he instated the ban and voided the contract. Chavez cited the Venezuelan constitution, specifically the section referring to food sovereignty and security, when he terminated the project. Instead of the soybeans, Chavez stated that the farmers would plant the indigenous yucca crop on the open farmlands. Chavez stands by his ban on genetically modified organisms and Venezuelan agriculture remains free of genetically modified crops. 20 In 2005, Hungary banned the use of genetically modified corn, becoming the first member from the European Union to place a ban on such organisms. 21 The Hungarian Academy of Sciences performed tests on Monsanto’s Mon-810, a type of genetically modified corn, and found it had high levels of toxic emissions. 22 The Hungarian government supported its ban with these findings, stating that the toxic emissions could prove harmful to other crops as well as insects. 23 The European Union upheld Hungary’s decision to ban genetically modified foods, opening the door for other member states to place their own bans. Later that year, Austria ruled on a ban regarding genetically modified crops. The European Union’s Court of Justice ruled against Austria’s ban on genetically modified crops, citing a lack of new evidence for the ruling. 24 Austria did not provide any new evidence linking genetically modified foods to environmental or health 19 Ibid. 20 Tockman, Jason, “Venezuela: Chavez Dumps Monsanto”, Global Policy Forum, http://www.globalpolicy.org/socecon/tncs/2004/0505venezuela.htm, accessed 4 April 2007 21 “Hungary Sets Example in GM Ban, Greenpeace Says”, Hungarian News Agency, 24 May 2005, accessed via Lexis-Nexis 22 Ibid. 23 Ibid. 24 “EU court rejects Austrian regional ban on biotech crops”, Associated Press Worldstream, 5 October 2005, accessed via Lexis-Nexis

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