Developed countries have accumulated experiences in regulating biotechnology, including gene technology, ranging from voluntary to legally binding measures; from sectoral to holistic approaches.

The challenge for developing countries and countries with economies in transition is to build on existing experiences, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and taking into full account the growing body, and gaps, in scientific and socio-economic knowledge of biosafety and biotechnology.

A holistic and comprehensive regulatory approach to ensure biosafety would be based on the precautionary principle, covering the entire range of activities from research and development of GMOs to their commercialization, and post-release monitoring.

Sound science draws a clear line between ?containment? and ?release? so that an activity whereby a GMO or parts thereof comes into contact with the environment will be classified as a release. Regulations and measures for release will then apply.

Information disclosure to the public generates feedback, including scientific and technical inputs from independent scientists and researchers in the field of biosafety, which is crucial for sound regulation.

There are ongoing discussions in many countries and at the regional and international level on the scope of information that should be disclosed to the public. Technology developers and private biotechnology companies are claiming broader protection of data, beyond that of traditional trade secrets and confidential business information. The provision of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for claims to ?confidential information?, if inappropriately implemented, can deprive the public of necessary information to ensure biosafety.

National regulations will thus need to ensure information disclosure, from both the private and public sector technology developers.

Improving Traceability to Prevent Unauthorised GMOs in the EU

As traceability can complement detection and identification strategies, improvements to the existing traceability strategy for GMOs in the EU are investigated in this study. […]

Containing the Risks of Escape of GM Rapeseed into the Environment

This review summarizes the cases of unintentional spread of feral GM rapeseed and makes recommendations for the effective monitoring of environmental releases of GM rapeseed as well as management to avoid environmental and agricultural perturbations. […]

“Democratic Deficit” of Public Deliberation over Novel Organism Releases

This article reviews the need for and the challenges to opening up regulatory processes for gene edited and gene drive organisms to outside experts, stakeholders, and publics. […]

Pocket Guide to Support Effective Access to Information and Public Participation Regarding LMOs/GMOs

This pocket guide seeks to help Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and Aarhus Convention and other stakeholders strengthen their capacities for effective access to information and public participation in decision-making processes regarding LMOs/GMOs. […]

Inventor of Genome Editing Technique Caught in Biosafety Violations

Unapproved and unsupervised genetic engineering experiments were carried out in the United States over a period of two years, raising serious questions about the lack of biosafety oversight. […]

US rDNA Committee Disbanded, Exacerbating Poor Oversight of GE Research

This TWN Biosafety Briefing addresses the issue of oversight of GE research in the US, with recommendations for rectifying the numerous problems. […]

Public Awareness, Access to Information and Public Participation regarding LMOs/GMOs

Report of the third Joint Round Table on Public Awareness, Access to Information and Public Participation regarding Living Modified Organisms/Genetically Modified Organisms. […]

Swiss Ethics Committee Defends Precautionary Principle in Regulating New Biotechnologies

A report by the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology shows that the precautionary principle and the precautionary measures to which it gives rise can be justified ethically with respect to regulating new biotechnologies. […]

Joint-checklist and Summary of Tools and Resources on Access to Information, Public Awareness, Education and Public Participation

The secretariats of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Aarhus Convention have jointly developed two documents relevant to access to information, public awareness, education and public participation in the context of GMOs. […]

The Precautionary Principle Should Be Interpreted Critically and Preemptively

This paper, written by the Lead Petitioner in the Public Interest Writ filed in India’s Supreme Court, argues that the Precautionary Principle must be interpreted critically and pre-emptively for its proper application to the unique risks of GM crops. […]