World Rainforest Movement

Statement in Support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”


FuturaGene, a biotechnology firm owned by Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano, has requested authorization from the Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) for the commercial release of its genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Brazil.

A letter has been issued by Brazilian and Latin American organizations (including CEPEDES; Terra de Direitos and the Latin American Network against Plantations) to CTNBio to urge them to deny this approval. As the Brazilian Open Letter  explains, if approved, use of GE eucalyptus trees will aggravate the already well-known negative impacts that non-GE industrial eucalyptus tree plantations already pose to communities´ livelihoods.

Below a statement in support to the open letter signed by organizations from around the world.

Statement in Support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”:

The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, an international coalition of 248 groups from 49 countries, founded in 2004, supports a global ban on commercial deregulation of genetically engineered trees (also known as genetically modified trees) based on serious concerns about their impacts on biodiversity and human rights. The Campaign supports the position expressed herein, in solidarity with Brazilian and Latin American groups, calling upon CTNBio to pay heed to public resistance to GE trees and reject Futuragene’s request for commercial approval of GE trees.

The Campaign is joined by the undersigned organizations from around the world that endorse the call for a global ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment, as well as those scientists and organizations that are calling for a moratorium on the release of GE trees until they are proven to have no damaging social or ecological impacts. As no such proof of safety currently exists, but there is significant evidence to the contrary, the release of GE trees must be stopped.

It is, for example, well-documented that increasing the growth rates of plantation trees (as Suzano has done with their GE eucalyptus trees) results in the rapid expansion of plantations, not the opposite. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization between the years 1990 and 2010, the average yield of wood from plantations doubled, yet the amount of land occupied by those plantations increased over 60% from 97 million to 153 million hectares.

[, Table 5.5, page 94]

Additionally, in 2008, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Brazil is a signatory, called for the application of the Precautionary Approach regarding GE trees, and a comprehensive and transparent assessment of their long-term social and ecological risks prior to any open release into the environment. If CTN Bio approves the commercialization of the GE eucalyptus in question, this decision would directly contravene decision IX/5(1) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The decision IX/5 (1) of the UN CBD Conference of the Partiesfrom 2008 states [emphasis added]:

The Conference of the Parties, Urges Parties to:

(r) Reaffirm the need to take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees;

(s) Authorize the release of genetically modified trees only after completion of studies in containment, including in greenhouse and confined field trials, in accordance with national legislation where existent, addressing long–term effects as well as thorough, comprehensive, science-based and transparent risk assessments to avoid possible negative environmental impacts on forest biological diversity; [1]/

(t) Also consider the potential socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees as well as their potential impact on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities;

(u) Acknowledge the entitlement of Parties, in accordance with their domestic legislation, to suspend the release of genetically modified trees, in particular where risk assessment so advises or where adequate capacities to undertake such assessment is not available;

(v) Further engage to develop risk-assessment criteria specifically for genetically modified trees;

(w) Note the results of the Norway – Canada Workshops on Risk Assessment for emerging applications for Living Modified Organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/4/INF/13);

(x) Welcome the decision of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management that is also mandated to address the issue of genetically modified trees;

(y) Collaborate with relevant organizations on guidance for risk assessment of genetically modified trees and guidance addressing potential negative and positive environmental and socio – economic impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity associated with the use of genetically modified trees;

(z) Provide the available information and the scientific evidence regarding the overall effects of genetically modified trees on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to the Executive Secretary for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism;

[1]/ Where applicable, risks such as cross-pollination and spreading of seeds should be specifically addressed.

We therefore support the call to CTNBio and the Brazilian government made by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject the application of Futuragene to commercially plant genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.


The Campaign to STOP GE Trees (International)
Global Justice Ecology Project (US)
EcoNexus (Europe, UK)
Indigenous Environmental Network (North America)
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (Canada)
Biofuelwatch (US, UK)
World Rainforest Movement

Co-Signed by:

Agricultural Missions, Inc (AMI)USA
ALDW EnterprisesUSA
Allergy & Asthma Research Centre, KolkataIndia
Alliance for Global JusticeUSA
Alliance for Humane BiotechnologyUSA
anti- GMO committee of the Cyprus Federation of Environmental OrganizationsCyprus
Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign/Energy Justice NetworkUSA
ASEED EuropeThe Netherlands
Babes Against Biotech
Bangladesh Krishok FederationBangladesh
Barnard-Boecker Centre FoundationCanada
Beyond Copenhagen CollectiveIndia
Biodiversity Conservation CenterRussia
BUND – Friends of the Earth GermanyGermany
Burning BooksUSA
Caerhys Organic Community AgricultureUK
Caney Fork Headwaters AssociationUSA
Capital R Consulting, LLCUSA
Carbon Trade WatchUK
CEEweb for Biodiversity
Center for Biological DiversityUSA
Center for Food SafetyUSA
Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON)India
College of Medicine, University of Illinois,USA
Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP)Malaysia
Cornucopia Network/NJ/TN ChapterUSA
Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)Belgium
CSALT Citizens Seeking Alternatives to Log TerminalsUSA
Cumberland Countians for EcojusticeUSA
Dogwood AllianceUSA
Earthcare Books
EcoC2S (EcoCsquaredS)USA
Ecological Farmers of OntarioCanada
Ecological Society of the PhilippinesPhilippines
Ecologistas en AccionSpain
Environmental Paper NetworkUK
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth NigeriaNigeria
Essential EcologyUSA
Everglades Earth First!USA
Fair World ProjectUSA
FDCL Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika e.VGermany
Fédération SEPANSO AquitaineFrance
Find Your FeetUK
Food & Water EuropeEurope
Food & Water WatchUSA
Food First/Institute for Food and Development PolicyUSA
Forest Peoples ProgrammeUK
Forum Ökologie & PapierGermany
Friends of the Earth EuropeEurope
Friends of the Earth InternationalInternational
Friends of the Earth MelbourneAustralia
Friends of the Earth SpainSpain
Friends of the Earth SwedenSweden
Friends of the Siberian Forests,Russia
Gen-ethical NetworkGermany
Genetic Engineering Network (GEN)UK
GeneWatch UKUK
Gestos-HIV, Comunicação e GêneroBrazil
Global Forest Coalition/CCRIThailand
Global GMO Free CoalitionInternational
Global Health NetworkUSA
GMO Free OregonUSA
GMO Free WindsorCanada
GMO-Free OahuHawaii, USA
Green Party of the USUSA
Greenpeace FranceFrance
Grupo AgrOrganico GAODominican Republic
Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech RepublicCzech Republic
House of GraceUSA
IBON InternationalPhillippines
Independent Consultancy on Women’s Rights
Institute for Responsible TechnologyUSA
Institute for Social EcologyUSA
International Tribal AssociationInternational
J & J EnterpriseUSA
Just ForestsIreland
Labour,Health and Human Rights Development CentreNigeria
Land Workers AllianceUK
Lane County Energy Round-UpUSA
Mangrove Action Project (MAP)USA
Massachusetts Forest WatchUSA
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility Of United Church of ChristUSA
NGO EcosouthwestBulgaria
Nicaragua NetworkUSA
Nourish, ScotlandScotland, UK
Nourishing Generations Educational ProjectUSA
Núcleo de Aveiro da Quercus – ANCNPortugal
Ogiek People Development Program(OPDP),Kenya
Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated (OLSSI)Samoa
Organic Consumers AssociationUSA
Our ForestsUSA
PAN EuropeBelgium
Partner Suedmexikos e.V.
Pesticide Action Network North AmericaUSA
Plataforma ANdalucía Libre de TransgénicosSpain
Quercus – Associação Nacional de Conservação da NaturezaPortugal
Rainforest ReliefUSA
REAL CooperativeUSA
Red de Accion por los Derechos Ambientales (RADA)Chile
Red de Semillas “Resembradno e Intercambiando”Spain
REDD Monitor
Reforest the EarthUK
Rettet den Regenwald e.V. (Rainforest Rescue),Germany
Rising Tide North AmericaUS
Rising Tide VermontUSA
Robin WoodGermany
Rochester Committee on Latin AmericaUSA
Roots for EquityPakistan
Russian Academy of SciencesRussia
Sacramento Label GMOsUSA
Sahabat Alam (Friends’ of the Earth) MalaysiaMalaysia
Salva La Selva,Spain
Save America’s ForestsUSA
Sierra ClubUSA
South Florida Audubon SocietyUSA
Standing Together to Outlaw PesticidesUSA
Stockholm International Water InstituteSweden
Sunray Harvesters,India
Support for Women in Agriculture in Agriculture (SWAGEN)Uganda
The Aurora FoundationUSA
The Blue Planet ProjectInternational
The Corner HouseUK
The Council of CanadiansCanada
The Haiku Aina Permaculture InitiativeHawaii, USA
Third World NetworkMalaysia
University of KasselGermany
Washington Biotechnology Action CoalitionUSA
World FamilyUK
World Temperate Rainforest NetworkUSA
Yôko Woldering, KoBra e.V.Germany
Zelenyi Svit / Friends of the Earth UkraineUkraine

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