Here's the Chair of the African Group, Dr Tewolde's final comments in Montreal at the Meeting of Parties to the Cartegna Protocol, where he warned that the failure to reach agreement would allow "global genetic pollution to escape unnoticed and unscathed".
A consensus that would have required proper labelling of international shipments of GM organisms was blocked by Brazil and New Zealand, effectively forcing each country to develop a patchwork of local laws to try and protect themselves.
for more on these issues see:
Brazil, New Zealand block decision on documentation of GMOs
The South North Development Monitor (SUNS), 7 June 2005, issue #5815
My trip to Montreal was full of adventure as you realize. The saddest part is that we did not conclude on labeling and that was because of Brazil and New Zealand who blocked any progress. The Brazilians were especially culpable for speaking for hours without saying anything. As you asked me by email, I am sending you my short closing speech which expresses our frustration and suggests what we should do.
Five years ago, in this very hall, we decided that we will usher in transparency in information on GMOs.
In this very hall, we have failed today.
I have a feeling that we will fail also in Brazil in COP/MOP 3.
The conclusion is clear, therefore, that we will have to depend on national legislation. I invite all of the delegates from the developing world not to give in to the pressures from those that want to cause global genetic pollution and escape unnoticed and unscathed.
We all come from sovereign states. Let us go back to our respective countries and thwart their design through national legislation. The majority of the industrialized counties have managed to protect themselves through such national legislation. Let us follow their example and not await what might come out of COP/MOP 3 in Brazil.
In this effort, we must keep helping one another.
Finally, I thank the Canadian delegation for promising to solve the visa problems of delegations that come here for work on the CBD. They might, and they might not solve the problems. We will have to wait and see. But, please do not be silent if they fail in their promise. Silent is approval.
In the mean time, I would like to thank them for their promise.
I would also like to thank the Canadian organizations and individuals as well as organizations and individuals from other countries who helped in highlighting this problem.
Thank you all for speaking out for multilateralizim. Goodbye, and I hope to see you all at another time.