Potential Impacts of Synthetic Biology on the Biodiversity

The new and emerging issue of synthetic biology is relevant to the attainment of the objectives of the CBD, its thematic programmes of work and cross-cutting issues. We recommend that SBSTTA, in the development of options and advice on the new and emerging issue of synthetic biology for the consideration of COP11, consider the following actions/recommendations under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.

Synthetic Biology needs urgent attention from the SBSTTA

With Decision IX/29, and in particular in accordance with paragraph 4 of decision X/13, the CBD called for "submissions of information on synthetic biology and geo-engineering, while applying the precautionary approach to the field release of synthetic life, cell or genome into the environment". We herewith would like to submit our concerns and relevant information to particular aspects of Synthetic Biology, such as DIY Synthetic Biology and Bio-hacking. Civil society organisations have highlighted the risks repeatedly over the years.

Information concerning Innovative Financial Mechanisms (IFMs): Offset Programmes

With Decision X/3, A, paragraph 8(c) "invites parties, relevant organisations and initiatives.[...] to submit information concerning innovative financial mechanisms that have potential to generate new and additional financial resources as well as possible problems that could undermine achievement of the Convention's three objectives [...]". This submission focuses on experiences with offset programmes, showing examples and concerns that have arisen from them and that are relevant to ideas of developing biodiversity offset systems or similar mechanisms.

Objection against the planned Rocpwer biofuel plant

I am writing to object to the new planning application from Rocpower Ltd to build a 7 MW biofuel power station at Baraugh Green, which would burn about 10,000 tonnes of vegetable oil every year.

GE Wheat trial by Rothamsted Research

I thus wish to register my objection to the field trial (environmental release) planned for 2012 and 2013 and wish to provide the regulator with my points of concern, based on my knowledge and experience as a biologist and geneticist and on my expertise in risk assessment of GMOs, due to which I currently serve as a member of the ad hoc technical expert group (AHTEG) on risk assessment and risk management of LMOs under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Main points of concerns are:

EU biofuel target causes serious damage in the Global South

We believe that serious damage being done in the global south by the EU biofuel target and that sustainability criteria are completely inadequate to address this.

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