SANTOS, Laymert Garcia dos. Disagreement or Misfit? Brazilian biotechnology faces socio and biodiversity.Translated byEoin PaulÂ O'Neil.
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3 U. Beck. Risk society — towards a new modernity. London: Sage, 1992; [ Links ]
B. Adam, U. Beck, U. and J. Van Loon (orgs.). The risk society and beyond: critical issues for social theory. London: Sage, 2000; [ Links ]
J. Van Loon. Risk and technological culture. International Library of Sociology. London/New York: Routledge, 2002; [ Links ]
H. Martins. Technology, the risk society and post-history. Lisbon: Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, 1996; [ Links ]
"Risco, incerteza e escatologia — Reflexões sobre o experimentum mundi tecnológico em curso". Episteme, year 1, no. 1, Lisbon, Centro de Estudos de Epistemologia e História das Ciências e das Técnicas, Dec. 1997- Jan. 1998; [ Links ]
and "Aceleração, progresso e experimentum humanum". In: H. Martins and J. L. Garcia (orgs.). Dilemas da civilização tecnológica. Lisbon: Imprensa das Ciências Sociais, 2003, pp. 1-61; [ Links ]
P. Virilio. Velocidade e política. São Paulo: Estação Liberdade, 1996. [ Links ]
5 Six points from the last FAO report can be cited here, acclaimed by the Brazilian press as a 'demonstration' that transgenic food is safe because it is supposed to help solving the problem of hunger in the world: 1. A greater research effort is necessary, because the ecological impacts on tropical regions have been evaluated for very few GMOs. 2. Regulatory landmarks need to be reinforced and rationalized to ensure that the environment and public health are protected and that procedures are transparent, predictable and based on science. 3. The handling strategy should include the avoidance of transgenic cultivation in centers of diversity or wherever there are related wild species, or establish buffer zones between cultivations. 4. There is a consensus that the liberation in the environment of GMOs should be compared with other agricultural practices and technological options. 5. There are still no evaluation methods for the environmental impacts at the international level, while the establishment of methodologies for the different eco-systems is necessary. 6. The absence of negative effects observed until now does not signify that they cannot occur, since much still remains unknown. FAO, Agricultural biotechnology: meeting the needs of the poor? Roma, May 2004. [ Links ]
6 Carlos F. M. de Souza Filho. O renascer dos povos indígenas para o direito. 2nd. ed. Curitiba: Juruá, 1999, p. 181. [ Links ]
7 In a very interesting article, Ingrid Sarti wrote: "Countering logic, the debate that is currently underway related to the National Bio-safety Bill, approved by the Congress three months ago, and now transformed into an obscure object of dispute while going through the Senate, is not exactly about bio-safety. [...] the crux of the problem is something else. [...] The economic issues hidden in the law since the debate in the Congress have transformed a conflict of interests into a dispute like a real Fla-Flu football match. The dispute has brought together sectors linked to agribusiness and researchers from the field of molecular genetics working in the development of transgenic organisms against environmentalists. Essentially, and in a few words, because the National Bio-safety Plan maintains a feature which is of fundamental importance to the precautionary principle: scrutiny in commercial licensing. [...] The investments and the safeguards related to flexibility throughout the research process; scrutiny in technical reports; and transparency in the political choices that determine in the final instance the opportunity to put a product on sale are fundamental questions for the development of science, questions that were not exhausted in the legislative process. The fact that all those issues had been taken into account is, however, a starting point for a government intending policy of science for citizenship". "Biossegurança não é a questão", JC email 2531, 25 May 2004, [ Links ]
released on the electronic network Ghente, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro. [ Links ]
9 In her final considerations on the issue of transgenic plants in Brazil, Carmen Luiza Cabral Marinho wrote about CTNBio: "Until now the National Bio-safety Policy, one of the attributions of CTNBio, as ruled by the Bio-safety law , has not been drafted. Also lacking are the normative instructions related to inspections and the necessary financial and human resources, amongst others, as well as the acceptable dimensions of areas allowed for experiments. Nevertheless, despite the absence of clear directives, licenses have been granted for release of GMOs in the environment in areas whose size varies from 0.006 to 110 hectares for the same transgenic and for the same purpose. It is impossible to find which scientific criteria justify such disparity. Equally irresponsible decisions can be found in the licensing of various experiments for 'demonstration purposes', a unique concession being granted to more than forty different private farms. Out of this chaotic scenario figures a total disconnection between the activities of the many officials dealing with the issue of bio-safety related to transgenics in the country. The ministries concerned did not proceed to the inspection required and followed the constant authorizations led by CTNBio, without intervening. On the other hand, despite being aware of the lack of inspection, the Commission continues to authorize experiments in the atmosphere". O discurso polissêmico sobre plantas transgênicas no Brasil: Estado da arte. PhD thesis in Science, in the area of Public Health, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Rio de Janeiro, 2003. [ Links ]
10 On 17 February 2004, Brazilian scientific societies and organizations sent an open letter to senators on the bio-safety bill, which dealt with four points: 1. That the National Technical Commission on Bio-Safety was the only and definitive authority to evaluate the scientific nature of the matter and that the CTNBio technical report would apply both to research activities as well as to trade. 2. That CTNBio was the only and definitive authority to evaluate the safety of the products of science and technology in Brazil, with the National Bio-Safety Commission being responsible for considering the socio-economic relevance of permission to trade. 3. That the acts already practiced by CTNBio from 1995 onwards should be stressed, irrespective of whether they were related to trade or to research. 4. That CTNBio should also be considered as having the legitimacy to have the final word on research involving embryo stem cells. The letter was signed by the Brazilian Academy of Science, the National Association of Bio-Safety, the Brazilian Association of Muscular Dystrophy, the Brazilian Association for Food Protection, the Brazilian Center of Gene Storage, the Center of Studies of the Human Genome, the Brazilian Society for Food and Nutrition, the Brazilian Society of Food Science and Technology, the Brazilian Society of Genetics, the Brazilian Society for the Improvement of Plants and the Brazilian Society of Microbiology. Later, the Brazilian Society of Genetics and the Brazilian Society of Microbiology denied having signed the letter. In addition, according to its former president, Luiz Eduardo R. de Carvalho, the Brazilian Society of Food Science and Technology did not sign the letter. Cf. "Carta de scientists teve assinaturas forjadas", Folha de S.Paulo, 4 March 2004, [ Links ]
and "Sociedade Brasileira de C&T de Alimentos também não assinou documento sobre projeto de bio-security law, JC email 2477, 5 March 2004, [ Links ]