Tag Archives: food

Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity (E. Morgera et al.)

Author(s)

Elisa Morgera, Elsa Tsioumani, Matthias Buck

Keywords

access, benefit-sharing, environmental sustainability, sustainable development, international law, human rights, intellectual property rights, health, food, oceans

Abstract

The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing is an international environmental agreement that concerns environmental sustainability, other sustainable development issues and equity. It addresses a complex subject matter that affects a range of research, development and commercial activities and is relevant to different areas of international law such as human rights, intellectual property rights, health, food and oceans.

Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol identifies textual, contextual and systemic interpretative questions and suggests solutions that aim to give a coherent and balanced meaning to the text of the Protocol. Offering a systematic discussion of the Protocol’s legal innovations against the background of general international law, this commentary aims to be of use to international biodiversity law scholars and practitioners, as well as to international lawyers that approach access and benefit-sharing for the first time

Citation

E. Morgera et al. 2014. Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Martinus Nijhoff.

Paper

Unraveling the Nagoya Protocol: A Commentary on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity

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Scrutinizing the Impact of GMOs Through the Prism of Human Rights (R. Patowary)

Author

Rashmi Patowary

Keywords

Earth Jurisprudence, Food, Genetically Modified Organisms, Health, Human Rights

Abstract

Necessity is the mother of invention. The booming population triggered the need to carve out efficient ways to feed the growing millions. Biotechnology answered this need with the creation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They are organisms whose genetic make up has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Such alterations enabled to create agricultural products (both plants and animals) that were resistant to diseases, harsh seasonal changes and had better nutritional qualities. Thus, it improved food both in quantitative and qualitative terms. But under the garb of these numerous benefits, one should not ignore the potential risks, which these organisms pose to the human health and the environment at large. GMOs provide a risk to human health as it can cause allergic reactions. It also causes significant loss to biodiversity and dismantle the sensitive balance of a food chain.

Human Rights, the inalienable rights bestowed to mankind, preserving its dignity and sanctity faces dilemma in the midst of the benefits and risks of GMOs. The human right to ‘foodand the human right to ‘health’ are quite relevant in this context. For instance, the benefit of condensing better nutritional qualities in food through the creation of GMOs apparently seems to protect the right to food. But, taking note of the possible threats of allergic reactions (the nature and gravity of which, is not known) and loss to biodiversity, may pose a long-term hidden challenge to the human right to health. Furthermore, human beings are an entity of the ever-changing and mysterious nature. The health and strength of our lives are connected to that of the earth. Thus, a loss of biodiversity and disruption of the sensitive food chain will also have repercussions on our right to food as well. The triggering of genetic mutation will also have effects upon other living organisms, which challenges the greater cohesion inherent in nature. This paper makes a humble attempt to study and analyze subtle but pertinent observations.

The Cartegena Protocol is the first and main international legal instrument regarding biosafety. It broadly covers protection of biodiversity and to regulate the manufacture, import and export of GMO based food products. It emphasis upon the concept of precautionary principle and introduces ‘labeling’ of food containing GMOs. The paper attempts to search solutions and evaluate the efficacy of solutions in existence in the International Legal Framework. The paper will also briefly evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of domestic legislations of India with regard to biosafety. It will try to analyze and evaluate the scales of justice in the light of earth jurisprudence.

Citation

(2014) 07/06 OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development 79-86

Paper

Scrutinizing the Impact of GMOs Through the Prism of Human Rights

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Diagnosis: Mercury – Money, Politics and Poison (J. Hightower)

Author

Jane Hightower

Keywords

Mercury, poisoning, food, health

Abstract

One morning in 2000, Dr. Jane Hightower walked into her exam room to find a patient with disturbing symptoms she couldn’t explain. The woman was nauseated, tired, and had difficulty concentrating, but a litany of tests revealed no apparent cause. She was not alone. Dr. Hightower saw numerous patients with similar, inexplicable ailments, and eventually learned that there were many more around the nation and the world. They had little in common—except a healthy appetite for certain fish.

Dr. Hightower’s quest for answers led her to mercury, a poison that has been plaguing victims for centuries and is now showing up in seafood. But this “explanation” opened a Pandora’s Box of thornier questions. Why did some fish from supermarkets and restaurants contain such high levels of a powerful poison? Why did the FDA base its recommendations for “safe” mercury consumption on data supplied by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist extremists? And why wasn’t the government warning its citizens?

In Diagnosis: Mercury, Dr. Hightower retraces her investigation into the modern prevalence of mercury poisoning, revealing how political calculations, dubious studies, and industry lobbyists endanger our health. While mercury is a naturally occurring element, she learns there’s much that is unnatural about this poison’s prevalence in our seafood. Mercury is pumped into the air by coal-fired power plants and settles in our rivers and oceans, and has been dumped into our waterways by industry. It accumulates in the fish we eat, and ultimately in our own bodies. Yet government agencies and lawmakers have been slow to regulate pollution or even alert consumers.

Why? The trail of evidence leads to Canada, Japan, Iraq, and various U.S. institutions, and as Dr. Hightower puts the pieces together, she discovers questionable connections between ostensibly objective researchers and industries that fear regulation and bad press. Her tenacious inquiry sheds light on a system in which, too often, money trumps good science and responsible government. Exposing a threat that few recognize but that touches many, Diagnosis: Mercury should be required reading for everyone who cares about their health.

Citation

Jane Hightower, Diagnosis: Mercury – Money, Politics and Poison (Island Press, 2008)

Book

Diagnosis: Mercury – Money, Politics and Poison

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GM food labelling rules undermined by lack of reliable tests (Report)

Keywords

Consumer law, EC law, Food, Genetically modified organisms, Labelling

Abstract

Problems with enforcement of 1999 Regulations bringing EC Regulation into force due to lack of standard threshold for traces of GM contamination of non GM foods and lack of standard test for detecting GM material.

Citation

(1999) 290 ENDS Report 49-50

Report

GM food labelling rules undermined by lack of reliable tests

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Climate Change and Human Rights: A Rough Guide (International Council on Human Rights Policy)

Author

International Council on Human Rights Policy

Keywords

Human rights, climate change, mass migration, food, water, disease, shelter, land, cultures, livelihoods

Abstract

What are the human rights implications of climate change? From new health risks, such as the increased incidence of malaria, to mass migration, to threatened food and water supplies, to the disappearance of shelter, land, livelihoods and cultures, climate change creates human rights concerns at every turn. Yet remarkably little study to date has focused systematically on their interconnection.

This situation is unlikely to last. As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, those affected will turn to human rights to frame their claims and to demand responses. Some are already doing so. And as consensus on the need for urgent action to address global warming grows, it will drive numerous other economic, political and social agendas – with further human rights implications.

Human rights are not merely relevant to climate change impacts, however. Mitigation and adaptation strategies each open up hard human rights questions: assigning accountability for extraterritorial harms; allocating burdens and benefits, rights and duties among perpetrators and victims, both public and private; constructing reliable enforcement mechanisms. Human rights advocates will be forced to look hard at large justice issues they can usually set aside.

In thinking through these connections, foresight but also caution will be needed. Human rights can seem intellectually invasive; a tendency to think in moral absolutes can cloud rather than clarify complex issues. Human rights lawyers are not known for seeking consensus or conciliation, both generally thought critical to the negotiation of policies that can successfully address climate change. At the same time, profound justice claims have been raised repeatedly in the course of climate change negotiations only to be finally neglected or removed.

The Council commenced research on this subject in 2007, in order to help orient human rights thinking about climate change and to frame the relevant issues clearly. Our aim has been to identify, on one hand, whether human rights principles, law and policy are equipped for the immense problems generated by global warming and, on the other, how human rights tools can aid in constructing a just regime to manage and mitigate climate change effects.

Citation

International Council on Human Rights Policy, ‘Climate Change and Human Rights: A Rough Guide’ (ICHR, 2008 Switzerland)

Report

Climate Change and Human Rights: A Rough Guide

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