Asia

Organisations and institutions active on GMO

THIRD WORLD NETWORK (TWN) 

Third World Network (www.twn.my) is an independent non-profit international network of organisations and individuals involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs. Its mission is to bring about a greater articulation of the needs and rights of peoples in the South, a fair distribution of world resources, and forms of development which are ecologically sustainable and fulfill human needs. TWN's International Secretariat is in Penang (Malaysia) with offices in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Geneva (Switzerland).

The Biosafety Information Centre is a website set up and managed by Third World Network (www.biosafety-info.net/). The goals are to:

  • Increase knowledge on, and deepen understanding of, (w)holistic approaches for a comprehensive assessment of technologies and techniques that involve genetic engineering
  • Contribute to a wider public discussion and critical understanding of the scientific, ecological , social, economic and ethical dimensions of genetic engineering under the rubric of biosafety
  • Contribute to the enhancement of the biosafety capacity of policy makers and regulators in developing countries
  • Promote research (including the identification of gaps in knowledge) on biosafety
  • Promote research on, and implementation of, sustainable systems for agriculture, health and ecological integrity
  • Promote understanding of, and respect for, the rights, knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities


TWN actively and closely follow various meetings related to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationa, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization and other scientific meetings related to genetic engineering. The outcomes are covered in the website. The Biosafety Information Centre offers two online services: 

(a) The Biosafety Information Service (BIS) which is an electronic mailing that provides a wide range of information related to biosafety particularly to policy-makers, regulators, scientists, researchers and civil society organisations in developing countries so that informed decisions can be made on the basis of comprehensive and most up-to-date data and analysis.  
To receive BIS mailings, please subscribe.

(b) The Biosafety Info Update is a monthly electronic mailing which provides a list of new postings published on our website over each month, to enable you to keep track of recent, updated or important information, news and analysis related to biosafety. 
To receive the Update mailings please subscribe.

Publications on genetic engineering, biosafety and related issues that are published or co-published by Third World Network (TWN) are available for online purchase at the TWN website.


CONSUMERS' ASSOCIATION PENANG (CAP)

The mission of the Consumers' Association Penang (www.consumer.org.my) is to promote and strive for a more ecologically sound and socially just society. Among its objectives are: 

  • To educate consumers, balance consumer needs and degree of protection and to provide relevant consumer rights and entitlements.
  • To advice individual consumers and protect their rights.
  • To work with the existing laws in order to protect consumer’s interest and general health.
  • To encourage the involvement of society and citizens (consumers) in the consideration, standardization and basic provision of their rights.


Malaysia has approved eight genetically modified (GM) maize/corn products and six GM soybean products for food, feed and processing purposes. Besides these, approvals have also been given for the field trials of GM mosquitoes, papaya, and release of GM products for use as pesticides and fertilizers. Most Malaysians are unaware of these approvals. These approvals have been issued by the Department of Biosafety in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment under the National Biosafety Act 2007. The approved GM products for food, feed and processing have different traits, namely, insect-resistance and herbicide-tolerance. However, these seemingly innocuous uses hide a multitude of risks that have not been addressed by the authorities adequately in spite of concerns and opposition raised by civil society groups including CAP and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM, Friends of the Earth Malaysia), which have cited supporting scientific evidence. CAP, with its sister organization, SAM, has consistently written to the local media and the Malaysian government challenging the grounds upon which approvals for GMOs are given and highlighting related health, environmental, social, ethical and cultural risks. See for instance: The Silent Threat: GM Food in Malaysia (http://www.consumer.org.my/index.php/food/safety/880-the-silent-threat-gm-food-in-malaysia).


SAHABAT ALAM MALAYSIA (SAM) 
(Friends of the Earth Malaysia)


Sahabat Alam Malaysia (www.foe-malaysia.org) is a member of the Friends of the Earth International. SAM has two offices; one in Penang in Peninsular Malaysia and the other in Sarawak in East Malaysia. It is a sister organization of CAP in Malaysia. Its mission is:

  • To ensure environmental and social justice, human dignity, and respect for human rights and peoples' rights so as to secure sustainable societies.
  • To halt and reverse environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources, nurture the earth's ecological and cultural diversity, and secure sustainable livelihoods.
  • To secure the empowerment of indigenous peoples, local communities, women and other stakeholders in their participation in decision making.
  • To bring about transformation towards sustainability and equity between and within societies with creative approaches and solutions.
  • To engage in vibrant campaigns, raise awareness, mobilise people and build alliances with diverse movements, linking grassroots, national and global struggles. 

SAM has helped set up more than 20 active local groups and indigenous peoples residents' associations in Malaysia. With CAP, it is vocal on biosafety issues affecting Malaysians.PAN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (PANAP)PAN Asia Pacific (www.panap.net) is one of five regional centres of Pesticide Action Network, a global network dedicated to the elimination of harm upon humans and the environment by pesticide use and the promotion of sustainable biodiversity-based ecological agriculture . PANAP's head office is located in Penang, Malaysia.PANAP's vision is a society that is truly democratic and culturally diverse, based on social and gender justice, fair distribution of productive resources and environmental safety and sustainability. Its main focus areas are: food sovereignty and ecological agriculture, women in agriculture, pesticides, and rice.PANAP has taken a strong stand on genetically engineered crops and corporate accountability. Its Save Our Rice Campaign, in particular, has come out strongly against Golden Rice and other GE rice/crops, and the International Rice Research Institute which promotes GE rice, among other corporate agriculture technologies. (See www.panap.net/campaigns/save-our-rice and related publications)PANAP, as part of PAN International, brought the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) Session on Agrochemical Transnational Corporations (TNCs) held in December 2011 in Bangalore, India. The international jury found the Defendant TNCs, the six largest agrochemical companies in the world (Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, Bayer, and BASF), their home states (the US, Switzerland and Germany) and the IMF, WB and WTO guilty of gross, widespread and systematic violations of human rights through various means including the use of genetically engineered crops. (See agricorporateaccountability.net/sites/default/files/tpp_bangalore3dec2011.pdf  and www.panap.net/en/ap/post/about-pan-ap/1365) In addition, PANAP has launched AP BioNet (short for Asia Pacific Biosafety Network). The mission of AP BioNet is to promote human rights, sustainable ecological agriculture, responsible science and biosafety in the Asia Pacific Region. (See www.panap.net/campaigns/save-our-rice/asia-pacific-biodiversity-network-ap-bionet)