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Rato Bangala School Model United Nations 2013




Chair: Pujyata Karmacharya Vice Chair: Ishan Ghimire Moderator: Utsah Pandey, Ashruta Acharya

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................... 3 HISTORY OF THE COMMITTEE ............................................................................................... 4 TOPIC 1: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ...................................................................................................... 5 HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM ............................................................................................................ 7 CURRENT SITUATION......................................................................................................................... 8 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM .................................................................................................... 10 HISTORY OF THE PROBLEM .......................................................................................................... 11 CURRENT SITUATION....................................................................................................................... 13 RELEVANT UN ACTIONS .................................................................................................................. 17 PROPOSED SOLUTIONS .................................................................................................................. 19 QUESTIONS A RESOLUTION MUST ANSWER ........................................................................... 20 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH .........................................................................22 REFERENCES .........................................................................................................................23

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

MUN the Model United Nations is an authentic stimulation of the different multilateral bodies such as the General Assembly, The Security Council, UNHRC, SOCHUM, UNEP that that provides a study of international relations, politics and diplomacy. Here, the students step into the shoes of ambassadors of the UN member states to debate on progressing issues, debate and come to a practical solution. Preparing draft resolutions, plotting strategies, questioning each others stances in order to resolve the conflict and in the end, making the three days successful and productive is definitely what the MUN is all about. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is an agency of the UN that coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in executing environmentally sound policies and practices. . It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects. In the coming three days of the MUN conference, UNEP has held itself responsible for dissolving the problem that is occurred by the genetically modified crop and fracking oil. The committee wishes to conquer all grounds of misunderstandings and perform any sort of debate required in order to resolve the environmental issues that come up through the use of chemicals and illegal means of oil extraction. It believes it plays a pivotal role in the conservation of the environment, and also wishes to come up with a malleable solution.

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


The roots of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) can be traced back to 1972 when UN held the Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm. This conference, with all the major powers in the world present, was intended to discuss the growing threats that our environment was facing due to human development. However, one of the greatest impacts of this conference was the founding and the establishment of UN Environmental Program in June. At the conference, members of the UN discussed the need for an international environmental watchdog and with Resolution 2997, they created the first three components of UNEP: the Governing Council, the Secretariat, and the Environmental Fund. The Governing Council, consisting of 58 nations, was set to be in charge of accessing the global environment conditions, program priorities and passing budget. The Secretariat, positioned in UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, was set to act as a coordinator between UNEP and the rest of the UN. Lastly, the Environment Fund is a voluntary Fund that is supported by trust funds and the UNs regular budget per se to finance the programs initiatives. The top contributors to the fund are the US, the UK, France, Netherlands and Germany. UNEPs main mandate is to ensure that nations develop environmentally sound policies. UNEPs aim is to prevent further harm to our environment caused by human development. This way, humanity and its environment will be inseparable and sustainable. UNEP accomplishes these goals by working in cooperation with governments, private industries, NGOs, civil societies and more. These partnerships allows UNEP to assist, in many ways, but not limited to, developing an environmentally sound infrastructure and proposals, offering technological support, and providing key research and information. Notable world projects that UNEP has already accomplished include the Solar Loan Program, the Marshland Projects in the Middle East, and AEO for Youth. Other interesting projects include prevention and awareness of shrinking glaciers in UNEPs Global Glacier Project as well as the development of better infrastructures for electric vehicles in its partnership with Diamler. UNEP has made significant efforts in globalizing the environment movements. Each year, UNEP has dedicated the calendar year to a specific issue that it hopes to spread awareness of and takes steps to resolve. Some recent examples include, 2007 was declared the International year of Dolphins; 2010 was the International year of Biodiversity; 2011 was the International year of forests; 2012 was the International year for Sustainable Energy for all.

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


Induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a system in which stereotypically water is infused with sand and chemicals, and the concoction is inserted at high pressure into a wellbore to generate small breaks (typically less than 1mm), along which fluids such as gas, petroleum and saltwater water may transfer to the well. Hydraulic fracturing is a development used in nine out of 10 natural gas wells in the USA, where millions of litres of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to separate apart the rock and discharge the gas. Hydraulic pressure is detached from the well, then small scraps of prop pant (sand or aluminium oxide) keep these fissures open once the rock attains equipoise. The procedure is very common in wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil, and coal seam gas and hard rock wells. This well process is only conducted once in the life of the well and greatly improves fluid abstraction and well output. The first investigational use of hydraulic fracturing was in 1947, and the first commercially fruitful applications were in 1949. As of 2010, it was projected that 60% of all new oil and gas wells globally were being hydraulically fractured. Adversaries point to possible environmental impacts, including pollution of ground water, reduction of fresh water, dangers to air quality, the passage of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface infection from spills and flow-back, and the health effects of these. Experts are worried that the chemicals used in fracturing may pose a danger either underground or when waste fluids are handled and sometimes spilled on the surface. For these details hydraulic fracturing has come under international inspection, with some countries interrupting or banning it. However, some of those countries, including most remarkably the United Kingdom, have recently raised their bans, choosing to focus on guidelines instead of outright embargo.

The 2013 draft EU-Canada trade treaty includes language banning any "breach of legitimate expectations of investors" which may occur if canceling drilling licences of Canada-registered businesses in the territory of the European Union after the agreement comes into force.

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hydraulic fracturing is a process to encourage a natural gas, oil, or geothermal energy well to take full advantage of the removal. The broader process, however, is defined by EPA as including the attainment of source water, well construction, well stimulation, and waste disposal.

While the main industrial use of hydraulic fracturing is in arousing production from oil and gas wells, hydraulic fracturing is also applied: To arouse groundwater wells To condition or induce rock to cave in mining As a means of enhancing waste remediation procedures, usually hydrocarbon waste or spill To remove of waste by injection into deep rock formations As a method to extent the stress in the Earth For heat mining to produce electricity in improved geothermal systems To proliferate injection rates for geologic sequestration of CO2

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


Despite a history that can be traced back to the 1940s, hydraulic fracturing had not been exploited on a massive scale until 2003, when energy companies began vigorously expanding natural gas survey with an emphasis in shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wyoming, Utah and Maryland. In 2010 the Awareness of Chemicals Act, a bill to modify the Safe Drinking Water Act, was offered to legislators to repeal the 2005 exemption for hydraulic fracturing.

On June 1st, 2011, the California Assembly approved Assembly Bill 591, which would impose a number of new public revelation requirements on operators conducting hydraulic fracturing processes in California. On June 14th, the bill passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, but was discussed back to the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

The EPA has noted that "Ground water contamination with constituents such as those found at Pavillion is typically infeasible or too expensive to remediate or restore (GAO 1989). The main hydraulicfracturing-related air releases are methane emissions from the wells during fracturing and emissions from hydraulic fracturing equipment, such as compressor stations. The big volumes of water required have elevated concerns about fracking in arid areas, such as Karoo in South Africa.During stages of low stream flow it may affect water supplies for cities and industries such as power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life. It may also involve water overland piping from distant sources. Over its lifetime an average well needs 3 to 5 million US gallons (11,000 to 19,000 m3) of water for the initial hydraulic fracturing operation and possible stimulation frac jobs. Using the case of the Marcellus Shale as an example, fracking accounted for 650 million US gallons per year (2,500,000 m3/a) or less than 0.8% o f annual water use in the area overlying the Marcellus Shale as of 2010.To diminish water intake, recycling is one possible option. In 2009 13 water wells in Dimock, Pennsylvania were polluted with methane (one blew up). Arsenic, barium, DEHP, glycol compounds, manganese, phenol, and sodium were also found in intolerable levels in the wells.

Criticisms about water quality from residents near a gas field in Pavillion, Wyoming prompted an EPA groundwater examination. The EPA stated detections of methane and other chemicals such as phthalates in private water wells. An EPA draft report dated December 8, 2011 suggested that the ground water in the Pavillion, Wyoming, aquifer contains "compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing".

It is important to note that not every example of groundwater methane contamination is a result of hydraulic fracturing. Often, local water wells drill through many shale and coal layers that can naturally seep methane into the producing groundwater.

Hydraulic fracturing causes induced seismicity called microseismic events or microearthquakes. The size of these events is usually too small to be noticed at the surface, although the biggest micro-earthquakes may have the magnitude of about -1.6 (Mw). The inoculation of waste water from gas operations, including from hydraulic fracturing, into saltwater disposal wells may cause bigger low-magnitude tremors, being registered up to 3.3 (Mw).

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

A report in the UK determined that fracking was the likely cause of some small earth tremors that happened during shale gas drilling. Several earthquakesincluding a magnitude 4.0 one on New Year's Evethat had hit Youngstown, Ohio, throughout 2011 are likely linked to a disposal well for injecting wastewater used in the hydraulic fracturing process, according to seismologists at Columbia University.

Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


Genetic Engineering is the process of manipulating an organisms genetic materials (usually using genes from another species) to produce desired traits such as greater yields and higher resistance to pesticides. For some, it is an indispensible tool for solving the worlds food problems; for others, it is an example of human overreaching filled with predictable and unpredictable dangers. GM crops have been modified and used with the intention to provide benefits to farmers, industries and consumers. These crops have higher shelf life and thus are a major relief to those members of the food industry who are troubled by natural calamities and difficult climate for agriculture. The first genetically modified crop approved for sale in the U.S. was the `FlavrSavr tomato, which had a longer shelf life in comparison to others. GM crops are also known for their nutritional enhancement. They also tolerate non-biological stresses like drought, frost, soil salinity and nitrogen starvation. The crops have been modified to be resistant to multiple herbicides too, so that the farmers can use a mixture of two, three or four herbicides at a time to get rid of the weeds. Viral pathogens and insects are also weak against the GM crops. These crops have helped to reduce the costs of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals that were essential for the natural crops to grow well. However, with such great relief comes their adversary that makes us and the researchers question the viability of genetic engineering in crops. They have the potential to cause a range of health problems and environmental impacts. They may produce new allergens and toxins, spread harmful traits to weeds and non-GM crops, or harm animals that consume them. Particularly, overuse of herbicide-tolerant GE crops has spurred an increase in herbicide use and an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds", which will lead to even more herbicide use. This eventually leads to harmful effects to terrestrial and aquatic lives around the regions and thus, the ecosystem as a whole. Also, GM crops are a threat to the non-GM crops, whose identity will be hard to maintain with GEs growing use.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


The history of Genetically modified crops stretches back to 1953 when European scientists discovered a way to manipulate and improve plant species for their advancement. Before genetic engineering Prehistoric times to 1900 Gatherers find food from plants they find in nature, and farmers plant seeds saved from domesticated crops. Foods are manipulated through the use of yeast and fermentation. Some naturalists and farmers begin to recognize "hybrids," plants produced through natural breeding between related varieties of plants. 1900 European plant scientists begin using Gregor Mendel's genetic theory to manipulate and improve plant species. This is called "classic selection." A plant of one variety is crossed with a related plant to produce desired characteristics. Modern genetic engineering 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick publish their discovery of the three-dimensional double helix structure of DNA. This discovery will eventually lead to the ability of scientists to identify and "splice" genes from one kind of organism into the DNA of another. 1973 Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen combine their research to create the first successful recombinant DNA organism. 1980 The U.S. Supreme Court in Diamond v. Chakrabarty rules that genetically altered life forms can be patented. The decision allows the Exxon Oil Company to patent an oil-eating microorganism. 1982 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first genetically engineered drug, Genentech's Humulin, a form of human insulin produced by bacteria. This is the first consumer product developed through modern bioengineering. 1986 The first field tests of genetically engineered plants (tobacco) are conducted in Belgium.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

1987 The first field tests of genetically engineered crops (tobacco and tomato) are conducted in the United States. 1992 Calgene's Favr Savr tomato, engineered to remain firm for a longer period of time, is approved for commercial production by the US Department of Agriculture. 1992 The FDA declares that genetically engineered foods are "not inherently dangerous" and do not require special regulation. 1994 The European Union's first genetically engineered crop, tobacco, is approved in France. 2000 International Biosafety Protocol is approved by 130 countries at the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montral, Canada. The protocol agrees upon labeling of genetically engineered crops, but still needs to be ratified by 50 nations before it goes into effect


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

Genetic modification is a nascent technology for which development has moved very quickly to commercialization. That has forced most research into the for-profit sector. Without broader research programs outside the seed industry, developments will continue to be profit-driven, limiting the chance for many of the advances that were promised 30 years ago such as feeding the planets burgeoning population sustainably, reducing the environmental footprint of farming and delivering products that amaze and delight. Transgenic technologies are by no means the only way to achieve these aims, but the speed and precision that they offer over traditional breeding techniques made them indispensable 30 years ago. They still are today. GM crops have higher shelf life and thus are a major relief to those members of the food industry who are troubled by natural calamities and difficult climate for agriculture. The first genetically modified crop approved for sale in the U.S. was the `FlavrSavr tomato, which had a longer shelf life in comparison to others. GM crops are also known for their nutritional enhancement. They also tolerate non-biological stresses like drought, frost, soil salinity and nitrogen starvation. The crops have been modified to be resistant to multiple herbicides too, so that the farmers can use a mixture of two, three or four herbicides at a time to get rid of the weeds. Viral pathogens and insects are also weak against the GM crops. These crops have helped to reduce the costs of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals that were essential for the natural crops to grow well. Despite a steady increase in global plantings of transgenic crops from 1996, when they were first introduced, the global percentage of land under GM crops remains relatively small. Figure 1 shows global plantings. Genetically modified crops account for only 4 per cent of total global cultivation (WHO 2005). Global plantings of GM crops jumped by 20 per cent in 2004; this was the second largest yearly increase since commercial plantings began in 1996 (James 2004). In that year, land under GM crops rose to 81 million ha. For the first time, the hectare growth in GM crop areas was higher in developing countries than in developed ones, developing countries accounting for slightly more than one-third of the worlds GM crop area. Land under GM crops is expected to continue increasing as the sector grows in India and China and new countries introduce GM Crops. In 2004, soybean accounted for 60 per cent of all GM crops, maize for 23 per cent and cotton for 11 per cent. In the near future, GM maize is projected to have the highest growth rate as more beneficial traits become available and approved.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

In 2004, there were 8.25 million farmers involved in GM crop production in 17 countries (James 2004). Although 90 per cent of these farmers were from developing countries, only one of these countries, South Africa, was in Africa. The International Service for the acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) predicts that by the end of the decade, up to 15 million farmers will grow GM crops on 150 million ha in up to 30 countries (James 2004). The global biotech crop market was worth US$4 700 million in 2004, and is projected to rise to US$5 000 million in 2005 (James 2004). As shown in Figure 2, there are 14 countries growing over 50 000 ha of GM crops. In 2004, Paraguay, Spain, Mexico and the Philippines joined this group. However, global production is dominated by five countries. The USA with 59 per cent of global sowings has the largest share of total land under GMO production. It is followed by Argentina with 20 per cent, Canada and Brazil with 6 per cent each, and China with 5 per cent of land under GM crops globally. In Africa, the use of GMO technology and its products is still in its infancy.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

Case on Africa: With the shift away from public sector research to private sector research, agricultural research has become increasingly profitdriven and less focused on needs fulfillment. There are an increasing number of research initiatives of African interest. In Africa, the main GM crops of research and commercial interest are sweet potato, maize, cotton, soybean, pigeon peas, bananas and tobacco. Much of this research is based on public-privatepartnerships (PPPs) as shown, for selected countries, in Table 1. These include projects on vitamin A rice, virus-resistant sweet potato and Insect- Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA). Insect-resistant research is seen as particularly important given the losses that are suffered as a result of insect infestations. In Kenya, for example, farmers lose about 15 per cent of the maize crop to stem borers (Glover 2003a). Research cooperation between developing countries and institutions or companies based in the developed world has been important in promoting transgenic research in Africa. For example, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (SFIT) in Zurich plans to collaborate with researchers in Kenya, Nigeria, the UK and the USA on the African cassava mosaic virus. This virus is transmitted to cassava by whiteflies when they feed on the plant. In parts of Eastern and Central Africa, epidemics of the disease can lead to total loss of harvests. Researchers at SFIT have used genes from a virus that periodically devastates cassava crops to create cassava plants that can resist the virus. Cassava is an important food crop in many parts of Africa and is strongly affected by genetic erosion, pest infestation and plant disease because it is a vegetative propagated crop. Genetically modified cassava could save African farmers large economic losses. So far, the only way to curb the virus is by intensive use of insecticide to kill whiteflies. But this can be prohibitively expensive for subsistence farmers and can threaten their health and that of surrounding plants and animals. Given bio-safety concerns, some countries are investing in improving their research and monitoring capacity. Zambia, for example, has begun building a modern molecular biology laboratory to detect GMOs entering the country. The goal of this US$330 000 laboratory facility is to be accredited as a regional and national referral laboratory that will provide research and training in


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

collaboration with the University of Zambia and the Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology. Other countries such as Madagascar have taken a more cautious approach, banning the growing or importing of GM foods due to concerns over their effect on human health and the environment (Apps 2005). Despite the growing interest in GM crops, no transgenic agricultural research remains the backbone of agricultural research in most African countries. In Kenya, for example, of the 17 biotechnology research and training projects only 2 use transgenic technologies. Researchers in Cte dIvoire and Madagascar are engaged in non-transgenic rice research to improve yield. In Cte dIvoire, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Researchs (CGIAR) West African Rice Development Association (WARDA) has used an embryo rescue technique to cross-breed African and Asian rice. The new variety has several advantages over conventional African varieties including early maturity, improved pest resistance, drought- and acid soil-tolerance and greater height (which make it easier to pick by hand). Madagascar has implemented a system of rice cultivation which through improved agronomic practices, and without the use of GM varieties or chemical inputs, has shown improved yields.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Development Programme says that many developing countries may reap great benefits from genetically modified foodstuffs, that the technology can significantly reduce the malnutrition which affects 800m people, and that it will be especially valuable to poor farmers working marginal land in sub-Saharan Africa. The report is one of the agency's most provocative, and grassroots groups, development charities and environmentalists in more than 50 countries described it as "simplistic", "pandering to the GM industry" and "failing to take into account the views of the poor". Published yesterday, it says there is an urgent need to develop "modern" varieties of millet, sorghum and cassava, the staple foods of millions in developing countries. But it says that commercial research mostly caters for the needs of high earners, and it urges greater public investment in GM research and development to ensure that it meets the needs of the poor. Mark Malloch Brown, the agency's administrator, said recently developed new varieties of rice had 50% higher yields, matured 30-50 days earlier, were substantially richer in protein, and were far more disease and drought resistant. "They will will be especially useful because they can be grown without fertiliser or herbicides, which many poor farmers cannot afford," he said. The report said GM risks could be managed, but most developing countries would need help doing so. Biotechnology and food safety problems were often the result of poor policies and inadequate regulations, it said. Oxfam, Greenpeace International, Actionaid, the Intermediate Technology Development Group and more than 290 grassroots groups around the world objected strongly to the report's conclusions. "It diverts attention from other technologies and farming practices that could also raise productivity," Kevin Watkins, policy director of Oxfam, said. "It ignores the fact that most hungry people live in countries with food surpluses rather than deficits, and overlooks the fact that companies like Du Pont and Monsanto have sought to discover transgenic manipulations designed solely to enhance the value of their own patents." "Complex problems of hunger and agricultural development will not be solved by technological silver bullets," Von Hernandez of Greenpeace South-east Asia said. "The real crisis is the neglect of research and investment in the development of sustainable and ecological agriculture technologies. The UNDP has reduced its support for traditional agriculture and is now insisting on GM crops as a means of 'helping humanity'." Robert Vint of Genetic Food Alert, speaking on behalf of 290 groups in 54 developing countries which disagree with the report and do not want to see GM crops in their countries, said: "It contains frightening echoes of recent biotechnology industry propaganda."


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

Klaus Leisinger of the Novartis Foundation, which was set up by the GM company Novartis, described Greenpeace as "Luddites" and urged reliance on "good science". "Let's support public research and not prevent field trials," he said. "The myths have tricked down. This is an ideology with people on both sides trying to prove their case." The main author of the report, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, defended her work. "I think the first-world environmentalists should put on the shoes of a farmer in Mali faced with crop failures every other year and think what technological development could do for his harvest," she said. Meanwhile in Bangkok the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, told an international biotech meeting organised by the British government and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that the world would eventually support GM crop production because it was "widely agreed that it has tremendous benefits". The meeting was boycotted by many grassroots groups, and Mr Prescott's views were not shared by the Thai deputy prime minister, Suwit Khunkitti, who said Thailand would not embrace agricultural biotechnology until it was scientifically proved that it could benefit all people. "I insist that Thailand stays neutral," he said. "Scientists must prove that genetically altered foods increase yields and are safe to humans and the environment in the long run." Two hundred members of five organisations, grouped under the Thai People's Network against GMO, demonstrated outside the venue and distributed GM food. Seeds of conflict GM crops are being grown in 13 countries and tested or developed in dozens more UN points FOR: They could significantly increase yields and raise incomes, lifting people out of poverty and providing food security Health benefits, such as extra vitamins, can be engineered in They could help farmers cultivate marginal land prone to drought or salt They could help the environment by reducing the need for herbicides and pesticides They benefit corporations and western shareholders

UN points AGAINST May be unsuitable for poor farmers who could become locked into a technology they cannot control Expensive: could force farmers into debt and prevent them saving seed Land reform, manure and traditional breeding techniques could deliver more benefits Many claims are exaggerated or unproved. Reduced use of chemicals is debatable


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

According to research done by Friends of the Earth , between 1996-2006 genetically modified crops have done little to tackle hunger and poverty, had little benefit to consumers, and has increased herbicide and pesticide use. The only real benefit has been in increasing the market presence and bottom line of biotech seed companies, with Monsanto being the biggest culprit.

1. Only using pesticides when necessary 2. Using pest tolerant or resistant plant varieties 3. Using cultural controls 4. Using biological controls 5. Monitoring to make sure pesticides are applied at the most effective time 6. Using selective pesticides that break down quickly 7. Only using tank mixtures of pesticides that have different sites of action 8. Using the recommended application rate 9. Getting complete coverage so all plant parts receive the proper pesticide dose


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


The resolution that must be passed for the topic of the damage done by GMCs are as follows:Food Security Global plantings of GM crops jumped by 20 per cent in 2004. For the first time, the hectarage growth in GM crop areas was higher in developing countries than in developed ones. Increasing crop resistance to insects and diseases and reducing weeds could help reduce crop losses and reduce dependence on costly fertilizers and herbicides, resulting in valuable savings for poorresource farmers. However, as the Brundtland Report cautioned as early as 1987, the challenge of improving food security is more than just increasing food production. Due to GM licensing agreements and production systems, farmers are pushed to monoculture and thus reduce the variety of crops planted for house hold consumption. From 2002, GM crops have been offered as food aid. Examples of approaches to GM foods and food aid in Africa include: ANGOLA Banned imports of all GMO produce, except for food aid provided it was milled. WFP reported that the additional cost of milling discourages some food donors. SWAZILAND Has no restrictions on GMO imports. ZAMBIA Banned import of all GMOs, citing concerns over environmental impact and effect on human health. In response, it is alleged that the World Food Programme moved some non-GM food aid stocks out of the country. Africa has more than 2 000 native grains, roots, fruits and other food plants (National Research Council 1996). Development of GMOs should aim to tap the special qualities of Africas native flora and fauna in the efforts to improve food security and make genetic engineering beneficial to Africas environment and development. Biodiversity According to Food and Agriculture Organization and WHO, the introduction of a transgene into a recipient organism is not a precisely controlled process and can result in a variety of outcomes with regard to integration, expression and stability of the transgene in the host. Several concerns can be identified, such as: GM technology could result in the contamination of crops through gene transfer and the development of super weeds; transgenic crops may have a negative effect on non-target species that are harmless or beneficial; GMOs could impact on genetic diversity; and pest resistance can occur.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

There are counter claims to these concerns: the use of herbicide-resistant and pest-resistant crops is believed to have positive implications for biodiversity. The value of existing agricultural approaches and non-transgenic approaches for Africa need to be considered. The value and productivity of traditional agriculture in development and its genetic diversity should not be underestimated. Human health concerns Increased use of herbicide-tolerant GM crops may pose new risks for environmental and human health. For example, Glyphosate is a major formulation of Roundup ready crops and is now the worlds best-selling total herbicide. Due to the introduction of GMO-Roundup Ready crops, human and environmental exposure to the herbicide is expected to increase. However, there is strong evidence that glyphosate-containing products are acutely toxic to animals and humans. New medical risks from GM technologies, for example, gene therapy involves the use of a virus to carry a modified DNA segment and the virus is potentially pathogenic. The risks of these treatments are largely unknown. There are concerns that medical applications involving genetic engineering may produce cancer causing genes from normal human genes. Increased antibiotic resistance may result. For example, Novartis Bt-maize contains a marker gene, which codes for antibiotic resistance in E.coli. There is a risk that if animals or humans consume Btmaize-based products such as cattle feed or starch, some antibiotics would be rendered useless.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


When proceeding to collect further information about the topic, please see that the following points are included. These points must be taken into consideration with malleable solutions. GM does not increase intrinsic yield. Some GM crops have lower yields than non-GM counterparts. GM crops have increased pesticide use by 383 million pounds in the US in the first 13 years since their introduction. The modest reduction in chemical insecticide sprays from GM Bt insecticidal crops is swamped by the large increase in herbicide use with GM herbicide-tolerant crops. GM herbicide-tolerant crops have caused an over-reliance on a single herbicide, glyphosate, leading to the emergence of resistant superweeds and causing farmers to use more herbicides, including older toxic ones like dicamba and 2,4-D. The GM companies solution to the glyphosate-resistant superweeds problem is stacked trait GM crops that tolerate applications of multiple herbicides and mixtures of herbicides. Weed scientists warn that this will cause herbicide use to triple, foster multi-herbicide-resistant superweeds, and undermine sustainable farming. Claims of environmental benefits from no-till of farming as used with GM herbicide-tolerant crops collapse once herbicide use is taken into account. GM Bt crops do not eliminate insecticide use they merely change the way in which insecticides are used. The plant itself becomes an insecticide. GM Bt technology is being undermined by the spread of insect pests that are resistant to Bt crops, forcing farmers to use chemical insecticides as well as buying expensive Bt seed. Bt toxins in GM Bt crops are not specific to insect pests, but harm beneficial insect pest predators and soil organisms. Roundup used on GM herbicide-tolerant crops is not environmentally safe. It persists in the environment and has toxic effects on wildlife as well as humans (section 4). Roundup increases plant diseases, notably Fusarium, a fungus that causes sudden death and wilt in soy plants and is toxic to humans and livestock. The economic impacts on farmers of adopting GM crops were described in a study for the US Dept of Agriculture as mixed or even negative. Coexistence between GM and non-GM crops is impossible as non-GM and organic crops become contaminated, resulting in lost markets and massive economic losses. The possibility that GM traits could spread not only to related species by cross-pollination but also to unrelated species by horizontal gene transfer, should be investigated before commercialising GM crops.


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme


Committee: United Nations Environment Programme Country: Delegate: Topic: Introduction to the Topic In your countrys view, what are the main elements of the problem? What are the roots of these problems and give a brief history concerning the topic and committee?

Current Situation What are your national interests in the situation and briefly explain the stance on the topic? What is your country doing to support or condemn the topic? What past resolutions or treaties have the country supported regarding the topic?

Solution What does your nation believe needs to be done to solve the problem? What would your country want to be included in the committees resolution?


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme

REFERENCES view-source:


Study Guide: United Nations Environment Programme