Mexico launches GMO development plan

The CIBIOGEM has set out its programme of work for 2009-10. The commission says the programme will: promote research into the “responsible use of this technology”; work transparently; raise competitiveness through low costs and high production; and create jobs while preserving ecosystems. Mexico amended its biosafety legislation earlier this year to facilitate the approval of GM maize planting. It removed the requirement of earlier legislation to set up a “special regime for the protection of [native] maize” . The programme sets out 18 specific objectives. Among those the commission highlights are: a deal between the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment to identify native maize species and the geographic areas where they are located; encourage the fulfilment of a regulatory framework, including schools and universities teaching at all levels courses on GMOs, based on scientific knowledge; spread understanding of the GMO regulatory framework to users and developers of the technology; carry out public policy initiatives for the protection, development and sustainable use of native species; and define mechanisms to deal with the illegal use of GMOs. The 2009/10 programme will also initiate and co-ordinate a national network of laboratories checking for the presence of GMOs, while attending to any requests for information or controversies that arise around the matter. The plan designates the CIBIOGEM as Mexico’s representative in international biosafety forums and the enforcer of its commitments to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The CIBIOGEM is composed of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, the Environment, Finance, and the Economy, and the national science council’s director general.

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