GMO International Trade Accord
First, the definitions in section 1 exclude genetic modifications obtained through natural means, which could have similarly negative effects on the environment. Gene transfers of this sort would be dangerous regardless of the transfer mechanism.
Second, the legislation uses a committee throughout to establish guidelines and employs the word “reasonable” frequently. Committees in the World Assembly can be helpful legislative tools, but they also necessarily make it difficult to establish a proposal’s precise effect. The specific trade guidelines the committee is tasked to produce in section 2 are entirely unknowable. Nor are the guidelines explicitly enforced on member nations. It is also a mystery as to what the “reasonable” measures in section 3 are.
Normally, “reasonable” is a legal fiction used to describe what precautions the average person would do in negligence cases. It is one thing to say that actions already taken were reasonable. But it is a very different thing to impute a duty to do specific unknown actions from that same fiction.
Third, while the proposal regulates the use of GMOs, it does not similarly limit intellectual property. Naturally-spread genetic material discussed in the first clause, if treated as property under international law, would give rights over large parts of the environment to the intellectual property owners.
Overall, it is our opinion that the proposal at vote is not clear as to what policies are to be implemented. Moreover, the resolution’s scope is large enough to make it difficult for a future patching resolution to identify enough problems to justify its passage. Therefore, we recommend a vote against the resolution.
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