Biotechnology Regulation and GMOs
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Biotechnology Regulation and GMOs

Law, Technology and Public Contestations in Europe

Naveen Thayyil

This book examines the EU regulatory framework in the Genetic Modification of agriculture and food to see how adequately EU law treats serious contestations about the development and use of GMOs. Since linkages between law, technology and public contestations could have a crucial dimension in the shaping of democratic societies, the space EU law provides for publics outside of the scientific experts to shape the regulation of GMOs becomes significant. By examining the employment of the precautionary principle and (the advices from) public bioethics committees in GMO regulation, this book examines the policy claim of public participation as a mechanism to represent and mediate public contestations about the use and regulation of GMOs.
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Chapter 5: Participation in safety and public morals regulation: ambit in global rules

Naveen Thayyil


This chapter seeks to understand this effect on EU regulation of GMOs, and in particular how trade regimes (like the WTO) and environmental instruments (like the Convention on Biodiversity) provide room for public participation in the regulation of GMOs. The discussion in the previous chapters, related to the centrality of public representation and wider participation in the classical regulatory tool of risk and the principle of precaution, is continued here. An appropriate effectuation of the precautionary principle includes new institutional arrangements for public engagement in key areas of risk analysis and management, since the current disposition leaves insignificant room for public participation in safety ascriptions. An examination of global rules in GATT/WTO and the Cartagena Protocol is important in order to understand the permissible ambit for public participation, and non-expert representation in the regulatory pursuit of safety in the EU. The legal analysis of WTO law, which is a large and distinct field in itself, is restricted to this narrow enquiry towards this end. In a similar vein, the chapter also examines constraints imposed by the WTO/GATT in the protection of public morals and values on EU regulation of GMOs, since EU rule-making is supposed to proceed subject to these global rules, standards and principles. Currently the global complex of rules on safety in the use and transport of GMOs consists of trade rules within the WTO regime, a voluntary expert health standard-setting mechanism in the Codex Alimentarius Commission that is intricately linked to the WTO regime, and environmental rules on trans-boundary movement of specific types of GMOs in the Cartagena Protocol to the Convention on Biodiversity.

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