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Sent: 06 February 2005 12:58
Subject: 81: Who pays for the public involvement in decision-making
This is David Steane again.
Regarding 'who pays' at the level of public involvement in decision making: Once sound evidence is available (as discussed already), then further discussion will depend to some extent on the results. Given that an assessment of benefits and costs (not simply direct economic costs) is required, then again this should be part of the whole process and the government and involved companies should pay along with whoever else is directly involved in the planning, operating and scientific evaluation and reporting of results (this is part of the costs of the trials!). Once comprehensive, scientific information is available it makes the whole process much simpler. The methods of communication will depend on the country and its culture etc. but published data which can then be put into simple terminology makes it easier to do.
99 Moo 7 Baan Rong Dua, Thakwang,
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desteane (at) loxinfo.co.th
Sent: 06 February 2005 13:16
Subject: 82: How far should the rural public be involved
I am Yoel T Mesghenna again.
I just noted the interesting topic from message 43 (by John Nishio) about how far the public should be involved. I think it is how far the puplic is involved that has made the computer and recombinant technology to be old and new. Maybe there is no need to tell a rural farmer how a gene is transferred in the lab. What they want to know is how applicable and sustainable this technology is to their condition (seeing from biophysical apects, social and ethical issues etc ); what advantages will they get; Can they always go back to their own technology (e.g. their traditional non-GM crop) whenever the GMOs did not work for them or if they "did not like them" (like in the computerized world someone still can use hard copies or, in in case of drugs, communities are still using their own traditional medicines whenever they feel like or cannot afford to buy modern medicine..matter of individual choice!); What risks (to their ecology, health and other socio economic aspects) are involved and who will take care of such risks; are they compatible with their ethical laws?; Who will subsidize the technology in case they are not affordable (at least in their first implementation but also in maintaining or providing them like GMO seeds) by the rural people etc. Rural People need to know about this and not about its complex scientific background.
After doing this we will have different responses with regard to the acceptance of GMOs: Either directly adopted, modified in the way we use (e.g. rural people may want to have such technology on their non-edible crops but not on the others or farmers may want to grow them in separate areas...); or the rural people may want to continue with other technologies already available to them.
As long as clear, simple and understandable information on biotech and/or GMOs are not shared and discussed with the rural people the issue will always remain "NEW". And new implies a technology that has still to be adopted!
How many of the rural people are to be involved? Well I don't see why some of the comments are suggesting that the rural population is too large and it is a difficult process to involve them. GMOs is not the only issue that needs participation. Many other technologies and development programs have been tried, implemented together with public participation and there is enough experience on that - how many people and when, who and how are involved from the rural people. For instance, depending on the available and suitable system in that given area, the involvement may start with model farmers, community leaders or representatives, target farmers whatever we may call them and, depending on time and resources, the education, discussion and involvement will be expanded. Of course once it starts, the farmer to farmer information transfer will also be there. The difference of GMOs from other development initiatives is that the general public in developing countries has much less common knowledge and needs quite a lot of information ahead.
At the end, for me, rural people involvement does not necessary will mean a vote of "Yes" or "No" for GMOs. Otherwise it will require as to do a kind of referendum and get every individuals view, which simply is not practical. However the rural peoples involvement will enable us to understand the attitude/position and concerns of our rural public towards GMOs and see how to deal with it :- to go ahead with GMOs, try to adopt it with some modifications (for e.g. which crops?) or pull back from GMOs for that matter. This still means the rural people are involved in the decision making!
Yoel T Mesghenna
E.mail: Mty1973 (at) yahoo.com