domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2008



firmada en Lima por 21 líderes de las Economías de APEC el 23 de noviembre de 2008

Extracto de la Declaración de Lima:

"... We pledged cooperation to bolster conditions conducive to promoting agricultural research and development. We directed APEC to help member economies develop science-based regulatory frameworks to benefit from the potential of agricultural biotechnology...".

Extracto del discurso pronunciado por el presidente Alan García, anfitrión de la Cumbre APEC Perú 2008, en la ceremonia de presentación de la Declaración Final de los líderes de APEC (Fuente: Diario El Peruano 24-11-2008).

"...que la humanidad tiene un mercado activo que está en todos los hogares, a través de la comunicación y el internet, pero que tiene por sobre todo una capacidad científica y tecnológica en la ingeniería genética, en la nanotecnología, en la digitalización, que como proceso está comenzando recién..."


Lima, Peru, 22-23 November 2008

We, the Economic Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, gathered in
Lima, Peru, under the theme: “A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development”. The theme chosen for APEC 2008 highlights the importance of reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies. We are committed to strengthening the social dimension of globalization and ensuring that all members and all sectors of our economies can access the skills and opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, regional and global trade and investment.

The current global financial crisis is one of the most serious economic challenges we have ever faced. We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown. We welcomed the monetary and fiscal stimulus provided by APEC member economies and will take all necessary economic and financial measures to resolve this crisis, taking the necessary actions to offer hope to those most in need. Our resolve to address the deteriorating global economic situation, and support a prompt, ambitious and balanced conclusion to the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations, is outlined in a separate statement issued at this meeting.

Advancing Regional Economic Integration
Last year we agreed to an ambitious long-term agenda to strengthen regional economic integration. We welcomed the 2008 progress report from Ministers and officials on efforts to achieve this goal. We endorsed the 2009 work plan for the APEC Regional Economic Integration (REI) Agenda in order to build upon this year’s accomplishments on REI and to accelerate efforts in all areas of this agenda.
Our goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region will be achieved through a series of unilateral reform measures combined with bilateral, regional and multilateral liberalization. We are committed to continuing the implementation of APEC’s REI Agenda. In that regard, we:

• welcomed progress made by member economies towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. We reinforced our commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals to promote growth, development and a rapid recovery from the current global slowdown.
• we commended the progress made in examining the prospects and options of a possible Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) as a long-term prospect. We noted advice from Ministers that while an FTAAP would likely be of economic benefit to the region as a whole, there would also be challenges in its creation. We instructed Ministers and officials to undertake further steps in examining the prospects and options of a possible FTAAP, including by conducting further analytical work on the likely economic impact of an FTAAP, and discussing the possible capacity building requirements for any possible future negotiations. In addition, we instructed officials to undertake initiatives designed to promote greater convergence among economies in key areas of APEC’s trade and investment portfolio, including areas such as customs administration, trade facilitation and cross-border services.
• welcomed five new model measures, resulting in a set of 15 completed chapters for Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that will promote high-quality RTAs/FTAs and greater consistency and coherence among these agreements in the region.
• endorsed the continued process of implementation of APEC’s second Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP II) to achieve our stated goal of reducing trade transaction costs by an additional five percent between 2007 - 2010.
• welcomed the APEC Investment Facilitation Action Plan (IFAP) to improve the investment environment in the region and commended the initiation of the study of bilateral investment agreements and core-investment-related activities of existing free-trade agreements.
• emphasized the importance of strengthening financial markets in the region and welcomed the capacity building activities initiated by APEC Finance Ministers to reform capital markets. We recognized the pressing need for infrastructure development in APEC economies and welcomed the work undertaken by Finance Ministers on linkages between private public partnerships and capital market development. In this regard, we called on Finance Ministers to examine more fully the means to optimize linkages between private infrastructure finance and growth and development.
• reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the region, and reiterated the importance of comprehensive and balanced IPR systems that provide for and protect the incentives that encourage creation and innovation. We will continue to promote greater collaboration among our IPR experts and enforcement authorities.
• we welcomed the progress by economies to implement the APEC Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative as well as efforts to improve patent systems in the region and look forward to further progress in this area next year.
• welcomed the Digital Prosperity Checklist as an important tool in APEC´s efforts to promote sustained economic growth through the use and development of information and communication technologies.
We welcomed the views and work carried out by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on improving the business environment, and called for an active participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the REI agenda.

We asked Ministers and officials to continue the implementation of the REI Agenda as outlined in the progress report and report back to us in 2009 with a summary of steps taken to promote this agenda.
Noting the increased economic integration in the region, we also discussed Australia´s suggestions on how regional architecture can keep pace with changing circumstances.
Implementing Structural Reform

We agreed that our Leader’s Agenda to Implement Structural Reform (LAISR) is a central element of APEC’s agenda, integrating the three pillars of trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic and technical assistance and cooperation. We reiterated the fundamental importance of tackling ‘behind-the-border’ barriers to trade and investment in the creation of well-performing, resilient and robust economies.

We welcomed the outcomes of the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM), held in Melbourne in August 2008 and noted the endorsement by Ministers of APEC’s Good Practice Guide on Regulatory Reform. We recognized the importance of developing a program of practical support for member economies to successfully undertake structural reform. This includes capacity building initiatives in the areas of regulatory reform, corporate governance and other LAISR areas. We encouraged active participation in the voluntary system of peer or self-review of our economies’ efforts to implement structural economic reform.

We welcomed publication of the annual APEC Economic Policy Report and the accelerated work plan for Private Sector Development endorsed by Trade Ministers in June.
Improving Food Security in the Asia-Pacific

We are deeply concerned about the impact that volatile global food prices, combined with food shortages in some developing economies, are having on our achievements in reducing poverty and lifting real incomes over the last decade. The poor are especially vulnerable to increases in food prices. We support a fully coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue through the Comprehensive Framework for Action developed by the United Nations (UN) Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis. We will support the application and implementation of this Framework within the region, as appropriate.

Individual and collective policy responses to expand food and agricultural supply in the region should strengthen market forces to encourage new investment in agricultural technology and production systems. A prompt, ambitious and balanced conclusion to the WTO DDA negotiations would deliver substantial improvements in market access and reduce market-distorting measures in global agricultural trade.

We commended the work that APEC has undertaken in the area of food and agriculture, and welcome the work plan endorsed by APEC Ministers to refine and strengthen APEC’s agenda to meet current and emerging food security challenges. We also recognized the role of ABAC in raising the importance of food and agricultural issues on the APEC agenda.

We directed APEC to increase technical cooperation and capacity building that will help foster agricultural sector growth, including efforts to increase food production; improve agricultural education; enhance natural resource management; promote the development of next generation biofuels made from non-food materials; build well-functioning markets and regulatory institutions; and make food storage, transportation, and distribution systems more efficient. We pledged cooperation to bolster conditions conducive to promoting agricultural research and development. We directed APEC to help member economies develop science-based regulatory frameworks to benefit from the potential of agricultural biotechnology.

Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Asia-Pacific

We stressed that globalization based on economic, social and environmental progress can bring sustainable benefits to all APEC economies, their business sectors and their people. CSR can reinforce the positive effects that trade and investment have on growth, competitiveness and sustainable development. We encourage responsible and transparent business conduct that adheres to local legislation and regulations and takes into account guidelines related to CSR that have been developed by multilateral bodies, as appropriate.

We agreed that given increasing expectations amongst global consumers, investors and business partners regarding responsible and sustainable business practices, the voluntary activities that comprise CSR will remain an important aspect of doing business in the 21st century. We recognize that all stakeholders in our communities benefit when governments foster a business environment that encourages voluntary CSR practices. This will create greater value both for businesses and for the societies in which they function.

We welcomed the work that has been undertaken within APEC to promote CSR awareness and capabilities in the region, and future work that will encourage dialogue on CSR among relevant stakeholders including: businesses, governments, employees, communities, consumers, investors, and non-governmental organizations. We recognized ABAC’s efforts in promoting CSR awareness and uptake in the region through the dissemination of information regarding CSR principles, practices and benefits.

We encouraged companies to incorporate CSR into their business strategies to take account of social, labour and environmental concerns. The development of CSR in the region will depend on the different domestic economic, social and cultural context of APEC members. We agreed to promote CSR practices in APEC economies on a voluntary basis in business operations of all sizes to complement public policies that foster sustainable development.
Combating Corruption in the Region

Corruption in both the public and private sectors is a serious threat to social and economic development in the region. We recognize that when criminal entities collude with corrupt public and private sector officials, it results in a culture of impunity and financial exploitation of the legitimate economy. We agreed to leverage our collective will to combat corruption and related transnational illicit networks by promoting clean government, supporting public-private partnerships, fostering market integrity, and transparent financial systems. We recognize that the criminalization of corruption can facilitate greater regional cooperation.

In support of our earlier APEC anti-corruption commitments, we commend efforts undertaken by member economies to develop comprehensive anti-corruption strategies. These include efforts to restore the public trust and protect against the abuse of our financial system through financial intelligence and law enforcement cooperation related to corrupt payments and illicit financial flows. These anti-corruption activities through APEC are consistent with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which we encouraged economies to ratify and implement, where applicable. We also supported the revised Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, where appropriate.

We welcomed the Lima Anti-Corruption Declaration on Financial Market Integrity through Effective Public-Private Partnerships and the APEC Guidelines for Public-Private Action against Corruption.
Strengthening Cooperation and
Capacity Building in APEC
APEC’s program of Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) is essential to achieving our objective of building capacity in a range of sectors in APEC economies. We reaffirmed our commitment to the Manila Framework, which serves as the basis for the implementation of the ECOTECH activities outlined in the Osaka Action Agenda. We welcomed contributions from economies to APEC’s capacity building programmes.

We welcomed China’s proposal to host the 5th APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting in 2010. Ensuring that all members of our economies receive a quality education is critical to achieving social, individual, economic and sustainable development. It enables people to take advantage of the opportunities created by globalization. We supported the efforts of APEC Education Ministers to strengthen education systems in the region including ongoing support to the APEC Education Network. We welcomed the research-based steps taken by APEC in the areas of mathematics and science; language learning; career and technical education/technical vocational education and training; and information and communication technologies (ICT) and systemic reform. We support the recommendation of Education Ministers to facilitate international exchanges, working towards reciprocal exchanges of talented students, graduates and researchers.

We reaffirmed our commitment to build regional capacity to minimize health-related threats including avian and human influenza pandemics and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. We welcomed continuing efforts to ensure economies are well prepared to deal with health threats and to respond to them in a way that minimizes their adverse impacts on human welfare, trade and investment. We reaffirmed our commitment to improve food and product safety standards and practices to facilitate trade and ensure the health and safety of our populations. We endorsed the work of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum’s Partnership Training Institute Network and called on Ministers to take additional steps to enhance food and product safety next year.

We are concerned that gender discrimination continues to have a significant impact on our economies. We committed to strengthening the capacity of APEC members to ensure that gender considerations are taken into account in the development of trade and economic policy, and to ensuring that the region’s women are better able to participate in and benefit from regional and global trade.

Combating Terrorism and Securing Regional Trade
Enhancing human security and protecting the region’s business and trade against natural, accidental or deliberate disruptions remains an enduring priority for APEC, and an essential enabling element in APEC’s core trade and investment agenda.

We agreed that international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery pose a direct threat to our vision of free, open, peaceful and prosperous societies, and reaffirmed our commitment to eliminate these threats. Since 2001, we have worked together with a common understanding that all terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable, and must be unequivocally condemned, especially when they target or injure civilians, or use the abhorrent practices of suicide bombing and hostage taking. Terrorism in all forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, is a profound threat to the peace and security of all people, and of all faiths. Terrorist acts cannot be excused or justified by any alleged cause, conflict, oppression, or poverty.

We agreed that terrorist attempts to abuse or corrupt trade flows, finance, transportation, travel communications and modern technologies will not be tolerated. We pledged our full cooperation to ensure that the flow of people, goods and investments remained secure and open, and that economies and markets operated without disruption. We welcomed the initiative of a group of member economies led by Singapore to undertake a Trade Recovery Programme pilot exercise in 2009. We recognized the important role played by the UN and its Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. We stressed the need for implementation, where applicable, of UN counter-terrorism measures and the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing. We urged APEC Ministers and officials to continue to help secure the region’s economic, trade, investment and financial systems from terrorist attack or abuse and trade-based money laundering. We welcomed the ongoing efforts of the international community to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea and encouraged further concerted efforts to fight against piracy.

Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Management
The frequency and intensity of natural disasters related to the distortion of climate patterns in the region is increasing and the location of, and growth of, cities and mega-cities in vulnerable areas increases the impact of catastrophic events. Improving risk reduction, disaster preparedness and management in the region is a critical human security issue facing the region. We agreed that the challenges in this area are significant and growing in complexity and required greater international cooperation and coordination with the private sector, international organizations and non-government organizations.

We recognized that there continues to be operational challenges in regional disaster responses and greater coordination is needed as the number of disaster management arrangements and players in the region continues to grow. We agreed that greater focus is needed on disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and building domestic disaster management capabilities. In this regard, we welcomed the adoption of an APEC Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness and Response initiated by Peru; the APEC Principles on Disaster Response and Cooperation proposed by China; the Stocktake on Disaster Management Capacity Building Needs; and welcomed the Australia-Indonesia proposal for a Disaster Risk Reduction Facility and its linkages to APEC economies and the APEC Task Force on Emergency Preparedness.

We endorsed the priority APEC has given to promoting risk management, business resilience and public-private sector partnerships, and supported efforts to prepare economies for the recovery phase. We instructed officials to undertake long-term capacity building projects aimed at accelerating recovery in disaster affected areas in APEC economies and supported the inclusion of education on disaster issues in school curricula where appropriate.

Our ability to successfully confront the challenge of climate change will be crucial to the wellbeing of future generations. As a global issue, climate change must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, through international cooperation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009. Reducing poverty is likely to become more difficult in those developing economies most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and related natural disasters. We reaffirmed our commitment to the Sydney APEC Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development.

We support decisive and effective long term cooperation now, up to and beyond 2012 to address climate change under the UNFCCC, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We welcomed decisions taken by the international community at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007 and the efforts to build a consensus on long term cooperative action, including a global emission reduction goal. We also noted the declaration in this regard by the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held in July this year. We recognize the economic diversity and different domestic circumstances of individual APEC economies in addressing climate change.

We reaffirmed our commitment to the Action Agenda announced as part of the Sydney Declaration. We appreciate and encourage the efforts of individual APEC economies to meet these goals. We also welcomed the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Network for sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) and appreciate China’s commitment to further financial support for this initiative. We expressed support for the cooperation and capacity building for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including those that promote the development and deployment of clean technologies. We appreciate Australia, Japan and the United States' financial support for the Climate Investment Funds, particularly the Clean Technology Fund.

We recognized the value of conservation, sustainable forests management and land use practices and enhancement of carbon stocks in forests and agricultural soils for carbon sequestration in the global response to climate change.

Recognizing that climate change could impede economies’ abilities to achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty, we strongly support international cooperation and capacity building for mitigation and adaptation as objectives that should be equally pursued, including those that promote low-emissions technology development and transfer to, and financial support for, developing economies. We also call for additional and coordinated efforts to better understand vulnerabilities caused by the impact of climate change on our oceans and their resources to develop more effective adaptation strategies. We endorsed the positive contribution of the Major Economies Leaders’ Declaration to the UNFCCC. We committed to concerted action under the UN and complementary processes to reach an equitable and effective post-2012 international climate change arrangement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Conscious that access to adequate, reliable, clean and affordable energy resources is vital to sustaining economic prosperity in the region, we reaffirmed our commitment to supporting the energy needs of regional economies by promoting open energy markets and free energy trade and investment. Such markets are crucial to the development of renewable sources of energy and the dissemination of low emission energy technologies, including new and alternative energy resources and technologies. We encouraged our officials to promote such developments and urge them to pursue regional energy efficiencies and maximize the potential development of clean energy technology.
Strengthening APEC

APEC is the pre-eminent forum for economic cooperation in the region. We are committed to strengthening APEC’s institutional processes to ensure it remains responsive to a rapidly changing global environment. Cooperative action within APEC can contribute to better outcomes on the major international challenges we face. We welcomed advice from APEC Ministers on the successful establishment of a Policy Support Unit in the APEC Secretariat as well as progress on the appointment of an Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat for a fixed term.
We endorsed in full the Joint Statement of Ministers at the 20th APEC Ministerial Meeting.
We welcomed the offer of
Indonesia to host APEC in 2013. We welcomed the invitation from the Prime Minister of Singapore to meet again in Singapore in 2009.

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2008


Diario El Comercio, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

English version (for a version in Spanish please click here)


The Peruvian Association for the Development of Biotechnology, PeruBiotec, and the national deans of the College of Engineers of Peru and the College of Biologists of Peru, join in a warm welcome to the delegations of APEC Economies and their distinguished Leaders who visit Lima these days.

Prosperous, continuing, and successful trade among the APEC Economies will only be possible if development of science & technology is resolutely pursued in each and every participating country. Biotechnology and Bioengineering are environmentally clean technologies of the 21st century with which all APEC Economies have the opportunity to grow and contribute to on an individual basis, regardless of their present level of economic development. In fact, several APEC Economies are global leaders in their use. Unfortunately, Peru is not yet taking part of their benefits.

Three weeks ago, the College of Engineers of Peru and the College of Biologists of Peru – national institutions that together comprise over 114,000 Peruvian professionals as members- organized a Forum on the benefits of biotechnology and, specifically, genetic modification for agricultural development in Peru. After an extensive debate at this forum organized by both Colleges, which by law act as advisory institutions to the Peruvian state, important conclusions and recommendations were reached, such as the following:

1. Genetically Modified -or “transgenic”- Organisms (GMOs) have not affected human health and it is not justifiable to expect them to do so after more than thirteen years of safe use by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

2. Commercial cultivation of genetically modified plant varieties should be the subject of scientific risk assessment on a case by case and step by step basis, according to biosafety regulation standards to ensure their continued safety to human health and the environment.

3. Genetically modified crops constitute a technology option of great potential positive effect for the farmer which can coexist with organic and conventional cropping systems without any environmental problem. To date, 12.2 million farmers all over the world, 90% of them small producers, successfully cultivate genetically modified plant varieties with excellent economic and environmental results, and they do so by their own choosing. It was concluded that Peruvian farmers should not be denied access to this new technology as a result of unfounded fears or arguments with no real scientific basis.

4. There are no grounds to oppose the concept of organic agriculture to one based on Biotechnology. Organic agriculture –as a substitute to conventional farming- does not maximize yields and productivity; arable land area is limited in Peru; and there is insufficient guano production, thus making it a questionable option to secure food supply in this country.

5. Those particular crops, for which Peru is center of origin and diversity, must be considered on a case by case basis in order to develop a suitable management that prevents any negative impact on biodiversity. Bans and moratoria with no scientific basis are ethically and technologically unjustified.

So far this year, three different meetings on biotechnology have taken place in Peru within the framework of APEC, such as: a) Research, Development and Extension, b) Investments, and c) High Level Policies on Modern Biotechnology, that follow other similar meetings conducted in past years to prepare the path to joint projects, investments and trade among APEC Economies using the added value that will result from the application of modern biotechnology.

It is necessary that regulations listed under Law 27104 specific to productive sectors be established, so that biosafety procedures for the responsible introduction of genetically modified crops in Peru could be started. Its implementation by scientific institutions, both public and private, will allow for a true utilization of our genetic resources.

Several of the APEC area countries are –like Peru- megabiodiverse, and this has not prevented them -through conscientious and constructive policies- from utilizing modern biotechnology. National policy decisions on modern Agricultural Biotechnology should be adopted after consulting with Peruvian scientific experts and, in this way, based on solid scientific arguments.

Our vision is that Peru can benefit from modern biotechnology. This requires real promotion of scientific, regulatory and innovative capacities for Peruvians, leading to increased productive competitiveness, just like many developing countries, including our neighbors. However, the success in achieving this task will depend in great part on the sincerity, scientific rigor, and objectivity of all participants: scientists, producers, regulators, and the media, so they would provide society with the trust needed for the use of this technology making sure that all concerns will be considered in a technical and responsible manner.

Modern Biotechnology is an instrument for Peru’s economic development that will help to promote internal food security, enhance foreign trade competitiveness, preserve our rich biodiversity, care for the environment, and generate jobs. At the same time, it will allow us to fulfill all obligations implicit in trade agreements that Peru has already signed and in those currently under negotiation. This will position us to the level of those countries with which we are competing commercially so as to achieve a more prosperous and developed Peru.

Ernesto Bustamante, PhD, National Dean of the College of Biologists of Peru
Eng. Carlos Herrera-Descalzi, National Dean of the College of Engineers of Peru

Signatures on behalf of the Peruvian Association for the Development of Biotechnology, PeruBiotec:

Alexander Grobman, PhD
Luis Destefano-Beltran, PhD
Marcel Gutierrez-Correa, PhD
Ricardo Fujita, PhD
Jorge Mayer, PhD
Dr. Doris Sanchez-Pinedo
Dr. Rolando Estrada-Jiménez
Dr. Javier Verastegui
Dr. Mauro Quiñones-Aguilar
Enrique Fernandez-Northcote, PhD
Susana Sirvas-Cornejo, PhD

Lima, November 19 2008


Diario El Comercio, miércoles 19 de noviembre 2008

Versión en castellano (for an English version please click here)


La Asociación Peruana para el Desarrollo de la Biotecnología, PeruBiotec, y los decanos nacionales del Colegio de Ingenieros del Perú y del Colegio de Biólogos del Perú se aúnan a la cálida bienvenida a las delegaciones de las Economías de APEC y sus distinguidos Líderes que hoy nos visitan.

Un intercambio comercial próspero, continuado y exitoso entre las Economías de APEC solo será posible desarrollando la ciencia y la tecnología en todos y cada uno de los países participantes. La Biotecnología y la Bioingeniería son tecnologías del siglo XXI que son ambientalmente limpias y con las que todas las economías de APEC tienen oportunidad de crecer y contribuir de manera individual, sin importar su grado de desarrollo económico presente. Es más, varias economías de APEC son líderes mundiales en su uso.
Desafortunadamente, el Perú aún no participa de sus beneficios.

Hace tres semanas, el Colegio de Ingenieros del Perú y el Colegio de Biólogos del Perú -que en conjunto agremian a 114,000 profesionales del Perú- organizaron un Foro respecto a los beneficios de la Biotecnología y específicamente de la modificación genética para el desarrollo del agro en el Perú. Luego de un amplio debate en el foro organizado por los dos colegios profesionales, que por Ley actúan como órganos consultivos del Estado, se llegó a conclusiones y recomendaciones como:

1. Los organismos genéticamente modificados o “transgénicos” no han afectado la salud humana, ni es razonable esperar que lo hagan, luego de más de 13 años de consumo por cientos de millones de seres humanos en todo el mundo.

2. El cultivo comercial de variedades genéticamente modificadas debe ser objeto de estudios científicos de evaluación de riesgos, caso por caso, y paso a paso, de acuerdo a una regulación de bioseguridad, a fin de garantizar su continuada inocuidad a la salud humana y al medio ambiente.

3. Los cultivos genéticamente modificados son una opción tecnológica de gran efecto positivo potencial para el agricultor y pueden coexistir sin problemas ambientales con los cultivos orgánicos y convencionales. Ya 12.2 millones de agricultores, 90% de ellos pequeños productores, cultivan con éxito variedades genéticamente modificadas con excelentes resultados económicos y ambientales en todo el mundo, y lo hacen libremente. Se consideró que no se debe impedir a los agricultores peruanos el libre acceso a esta nueva tecnología por prejuicio o con argumentos que carezcan de base científica real.

4. No hay razones para oponer el concepto de agricultura orgánica a aquella que se basa en la Biotecnología del Agro. La agricultura orgánica –como sustitución de la convencional- no maximiza rendimiento y productividad, las tierras arables del Perú son limitadas y no hay suficiente guano de islas, dificultando asegurar el aprovisionamiento alimentario del Perú.

5. Los cultivos para los cuales el país es centro de origen y de diversidad deben ser estudiados caso por caso con el fin de desarrollar un manejo adecuado que impida cualquier impacto negativo sobre la biodiversidad. Prohibiciones o moratorias sin ninguna base científica son ética y técnicamente injustificables.

En lo que va del año se han realizado en el Perú tres reuniones sobre biotecnología dentro del marco de APEC sobre: a) Investigación, Desarrollo y Extensión, b) Inversiones y c) Alta Política de Biotecnología Moderna, que continúan a otras similares conducidas en años pasados para preparar el camino a proyectos conjuntos, inversiones y comercio entre las Economías de APEC usando el valor agregado producto de la biotecnología moderna.

Falta establecer los reglamentos sectoriales de la Ley 27104 que normen los procedimientos de bioseguridad para la introducción responsable de cultivos genéticamente modificados en el Perú. Su desarrollo por las instituciones científicas públicas y privadas nacionales permitirá un verdadero aprovechamiento de nuestros vastos recursos genéticos.

Varios de los países del área de APEC son –como el Perú- megabiodiversos y ello no ha obstado para que con una política consciente y constructiva se aproveche la biotecnología moderna. Las decisiones de política de Estado respecto a los beneficios de la Biotecnología Agrícola moderna deberán ser adoptadas consultando con los expertos científicos peruanos del sector y, de esa manera, se basen en argumentos científicos sólidos.

Nuestra visión es que el Perú puede ser partícipe de los beneficios de la biotecnología moderna. Para ello se requiere un verdadero fomento a las capacidades científicas, regulatorias e innovadoras de los peruanos, lo que llevaría a un incremento de la competitividad productiva del país, tal como lo vienen haciendo muchos países en vías de desarrollo, incluyendo nuestros vecinos. Sin embargo, el éxito en esta tarea dependerá en gran parte de la seriedad, rigor científico y objetividad de todos los actores: científicos, productores, reguladores y medios de comunicación, para dar confianza a la sociedad en el uso de esta tecnología del Siglo XXI, dejándole saber que sus preocupaciones serán consideradas en forma técnica y responsable.

La biotecnología moderna es un instrumento de desarrollo en el Perú que servirá para promover su seguridad alimentaria interna, impulsar su competitividad en el comercio exterior, conservar nuestra rica biodiversidad, cuidar el medio ambiente y generar puestos de trabajo. Simultáneamente nos permitirá cumplir con la letra de los tratados comerciales que el Perú ya ha firmado y otros que actualmente tiene en vías de negociación, asegurando ponernos al nivel de los países con los cuales estamos compitiendo comercialmente, en el propósito de lograr un Perú más próspero y desarrollado.

Ernesto Bustamante Donayre, PhD, Decano Nacional del Colegio de Biólogos del Perú
Ing. Carlos Herrera Descalzi, Decano Nacional del Colegio de Ingenieros del Perú

Por la Asociación Peruana para el Desarrollo de la Biotecnología, PeruBiotec, firman:
Alexander Grobman Tversqui, PhD
Luis Destéfano Beltrán, PhD
Marcel Gutiérrez Correa, PhD
Ricardo Fujita Alarcón, PhD
Jorge Mayer, PhD
Dra. Doris Sánchez Pinedo
Dr. Rolando Estrada Jiménez
Dr. Javier Verástegui
Dr. Mauro Quiñones Aguilar
Enrique Fernández Northcote, PhD
Susana Sirvas Cornejo, PhD

Lima, 19 de noviembre de 2008

martes, 18 de noviembre de 2008

Cultivos genéticamente modificados - Tomás Unger

Los cultivos genéticamente modificados

El Comercio, 18 de noviembre de 2008
Los avances científicos siempre han causado temor y el uso de la ingeniería genética en cultivos no es la excepción. Hay 120 millones de hectáreas bajo cultivo con plantas GM

Por Tomas Unger

Cuando comenzó la electrificación a fines del siglo XIX, hubo quienes pusieron el grito en el cielo. Llevar corriente por las calles a las casas podía electrocutar a humanos y bestias. Efectivamente, a lo largo de más de un siglo de electrificación, algunas personas murieron electrocutadas en la silla eléctrica, y otras, no intencionalmente. Hoy no se recuerda, pero las vacunas también fueron cuestionadas y hay personas que murieron por su causa; sin embargo, hoy nadie las cuestiona tras haber eliminado la viruela y la parálisis infantil.

La manipulación de genes también asusta. En el caso de genes humanos, plantea cuestiones éticas que tardarán en resolverse, pero no la detendrán. En el caso de los cultivos alimentarios, hay miedo e intereses. Como sucedió con la electrificación y con la vacuna, el progreso no se ha detenido en este campo. Actualmente, hay más de 120 millones de hectáreas bajo cultivo con plantas genéticamente modificadas (GM). Estas van desde la soya, de la cual un 64% es GM, pasando por el maíz (24%), el algodón (43%) y la canola (20%), hasta la papaya, las berenjenas y el pimentón.

La población mundial ya pasó los 6.700 millones, de los cuales cientos de millones --no hay acuerdo sobre cuántos-- tienen hambre. La disponibilidad de agua dulce, tanto potable como de riego, se torna aleatoria, problema acentuado por el cambio climático. La necesidad de incrementar el área de cultivo amenaza los bosques que reciclan el CO2. El mundo requiere más comida y mayor variedad nutricional. La variedad está fuera del alcance de los pobres, lo que les causa deficiencias nutricionales.

Para alimentar a la creciente población se requiere cultivar más alimentos, con menor incremento de área, menor requisito de agua y mayor contenido nutricional. Los cultivos tradicionales son el producto de una manipulación genética que lleva milenios. El trigo es producto de una manipulación genética que culminó en 1876 cuando fue cruzado con el centeno para resistir la roya. Los agricultores siempre han manipulado plantas y, a partir de 1985,* pueden hacerlo a nivel molecular, introduciendo en una planta genes de otra especie.

El espectacular avance de la genética ha permitido introducir características deseadas en diversas plantas y lograr resultados espectaculares. El arroz dorado, al que se ha introducido el gen del caroteno, permitirá a una población alimentada con arroz superar una deficiencia nutricional crítica, al dar acceso a la vitamina A. La soya y el maíz resistentes a insectos y herbicidas han reducido el uso de insecticidas y han aumentado espectacularmente el rendimiento por hectárea y por metro cúbico de agua.

Papayas, berenjenas y pimientos, de gran valor nutricional, hoy resisten a los insectos y los virus, producen más y cuestan menos, gracias a la genética. Estos son logros reales que no tienen marcha atrás, porque están enfrentando un problema de absoluta prioridad en el Tercer Mundo: el hambre. La mayoría de los habitantes del planeta, una mayoría que está creciendo, no puede darse el lujo de escoger el alimento del cual obtienen nutrientes esenciales.

Al iniciarse el cultivo de plantas genéticamente modificadas, surgió una justificada preocupación sobre el efecto que tendrían en el entorno. Si bien se sabía que las plantas se polinizan entre especies espontáneamente, no se sabía qué efectos tendría la modificación genética de laboratorio. Diversos grupos ambientalistas y políticos crearon un ambiente de alarma. Se habló de alergias, de la extinción de mariposas y del enanismo en ratas.

Tras muchos experimentos, quedó demostrado que las acusaciones eran infundadas (ver en esta sección los artículos del 23 de enero del 2000, 16 de enero del 2000 y 1 de abril del 2008), pero el miedo quedó. En Europa, donde hay razones políticas para defender una agricultura ineficiente, las autoridades se encargaron de dar eco a la alarma. Mientras tanto, los cultivos genéticamente modificados siguieron creciendo aceleradamente porque resuelven problemas. El Ministerio de Agricultura de los EE.UU. creó el Servicio Regulador de la Biotecnología (BRS), dedicado exclusivamente a supervisar esta industria. En los últimos 20 años, el BRS ha conducido más de 10.000 experimentos de campo con organismos genéticamente modificados y ha autorizado decenas.

Los 120 millones de hectáreas bajo cultivo con plantas GM, 12% más que el año anterior, indican un creciente aumento. En Sudamérica, Argentina tiene 19 millones de hectáreas; Brasil, 15; y Paraguay, 2,6. Los cultivos GM también van en aumento en Chile y Colombia. En el mundo, EE.UU., Canadá, India y China suman 75 millones y ya hay cultivos genéticamente modificados en 8 países de la Unión Europea.

Hasta ahora, nadie ha podido probar ninguna de las supuestas consecuencias negativas de estos cultivos. Gracias al esfuerzo de la Fundación Rockefeller se ha logrado que se dejen de hacer semillas que producían descendencia estéril y se ha obligado a los agricultores a comprar nuevas semillas para cada cosecha, lo que ha abaratado los cultivos de alto rendimiento resistentes a plagas y herbicidas.

Sin duda, ante la presión demográfica, el peligro de incrementar la deforestación y el cambio climático, aumentarán los cultivos GM. Desgraciadamente, entender el tema requiere de conocimientos que la mayoría de los involucrados en el debate no tiene. Por otra parte, se tiende a captar la imaginación pública y confundirla con preocupaciones ambientales justificadas. Esperemos que quienes han hecho una profesión basada en alarmar y cuestionar todo aquello que no entienden no logren impedir que aprovechemos mejor nuestras escasas tierra y agua para producir más alimentos de mejor calidad.

* Ese año, dos genetistas belgas desarrollaron la primera planta (tabaco) genéticamente modificada para resistir insectos.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008

Debate sobre Transgénicos -El Comercio


Diario El Comercio, lunes 17 de noviembre de 2008

Se requiere mayor investigación sobre los efectos de los transgénicos
Algunos expertos temen que se ponga en riesgo nuestra biodiversidad. Otros señalan que lo transgénico y lo orgánico pueden coexistir en el país

Por Iana Málaga / Bruno Ortiz

De un tiempo a esta parte, el debate sobre los cultivos transgénicos ha ido ganando más fuerza. Hay posiciones encontradas --todas fundamentadas-- sobre si son buenos o no, sobre su incidencia en la salud de las personas que los consumen y sobre si nuestro país debe abrirles las puertas o no. Sin embargo, aún existen muchas dudas y reticencias al respecto, principalmente por la falta de información.

Con la finalidad de ahondar en los diversos aspectos de un tema de tanta importancia para el futuro del Perú, El Comercio organizó la mesa redonda Transgénicos: Definición de Políticas de Estado, que contó con la participación de investigadores, productores y representantes del Gobierno. El encuentro fue moderado por Francisco Miró Quesada Rada, director de esta casa editora, así como por Martha Meier Miró Quesada, asistente de la dirección, y Juan Paredes Castro, editor central de Política. Durante el diálogo se expusieron las razones por las que el Perú debe ser declarado un territorio libre de cultivos transgénicos, y las que apoyan el ingreso de estos cultivos producto de grandes empresas transnacionales.

La principal preocupación de quienes se oponen al cultivo de transgénicos y a la dependencia de las empresas internacionales que monopolizarán las semillas es el posible impacto negativo que puedan tener esos productos en nuestra biodiversidad. "La homogeneización de los cultivos puede destruir el equilibrio de nuestra biodiversidad, que es justamente nuestra mayor riqueza", indicó Gastón Benza Pflücker, presidente ejecutivo de Sierra Exportadora, quien pidió que no se confunda la biotecnología de mejoramiento de alimentos con la tecnología de transgénicos.

Ernesto Bustamante, decano del Colegio de Biólogos del Perú, replicó que los cultivos transgénicos no son lo opuesto a los orgánicos, y que, "por lo tanto, existe la posibilidad de que ambos tipos de cultivo coexistan y resuelvan las necesidades del país". De la misma opinión fue Luis Destefano, profesor de la Unidad de Genómica de la Universidad Cayetano Heredia, quien agregó que esta tecnología ayudaría a resolver problemas causados por sequías o heladas. No se dieron ejemplos de lugares donde esto hubiese ocurrido.

"La introducción de transgénicos nos traería diversos problemas ambientales, como contaminación por polinización cruzada. El país es, además, depositario de una milenaria sabiduría que ha domesticado variedad de especies adaptadas a nuestra realidad ecológica", explicó el doctor Luis Gomero, presidente de la Sociedad Nacional del Ambiente y miembro de un panel de 400 expertos que ha realizado el mayor estudio mundial sobre transgénicos, dirigido por el doctor Robert Watson, científico en jefe del Departamento para el Medio Ambiente, Alimentos y Asuntos Rurales del Reino Unido.

A su turno, la parlamentaria Fabiola Morales, quien viene trabajando una propuesta para etiquetar los productos que entre sus componentes cuentan con transgénicos, señaló que el país debe decidir cómo insertarse en el mercado mundial de productos agrícolas y que hoy los mercados valoran lo natural, lo saludable.

Antonio Brack, ministro del Ambiente, señaló que la discusión se debe basar en lo que el Perú puede ofrecer según sus capacidades. "Es un tema que se debe discutir objetivamente y saber que la decisión será tomada en nombre de nuestros hijos y nuestros nietos", indicó. Agregó, además, que son varias las entidades que deben tomar cartas en el asunto y que resulta contraproducente que solo un organismo pretenda encargarse del reglamento de bioseguridad.

Ante ello, Juan Risi, jefe del Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agraria (INIA), replicó que era necesario contar con un reglamento de bioseguridad en agricultura, y que el INIA era la entidad encargada. Lamentó que hasta ahora no se haya publicado el reglamento de la Ley 27104, que esa institución elaboró en el 2002. El ministro Brack indicó que otras instancias debían tener injerencia y opinión en dicho reglamento.

La ingeniera agrónoma y productora de verduras orgánicas María Teresa Uranga incidió en la importancia de que el contenido de esos documentos sea de dominio público, y refirió la enorme ventaja comparativa del Perú con los productos orgánicos y la agricultura natural basada en 10.000 años de investigación por los antiguos peruanos y por nuestros campesinos.

Durante la mesa también se debatió sobre la urgencia de contar con investigaciones que demuestren fehacientemente que los transgénicos no son perjudiciales para la salud humana. Al respecto, Benza Pflücker dijo que esto tomará un largo período, y solo luego de comprobar que los alimentos genéticamente modificados no producen efectos negativos en las personas ni en el ambiente se podrá empezar a debatir su cultivo en el Perú. A su vez, la ingeniera Uranga advirtió sobre la lógica preocupación por los posibles daños en la medida en que no se tienen informes que den cuenta sobre los beneficios de los transgénicos frente a la agricultura natural.

Por su parte, Alfredo Menacho, director y miembro del Consejo Ejecutivo de ÁDEX, sostuvo que, ante la falta de un consenso científico mundial que señale que los transgénicos no son dañinos, esta institución tiene dudas sobre si en realidad conviene introducir estos productos o no, y agregó que, más allá de las investigaciones, "hace falta demostrar en el terreno de los hechos que estos alimentos son inocuos".

En busca de que el consumidor tenga la última palabra, la congresista Fabiola Morales recordó que la Comisión de Defensa del Consumidor del Congreso ha presentado un proyecto de ley que exige que todos los alimentos transgénicos sean etiquetados. "El objeto de la norma es garantizar el derecho a la información que tienen los ciudadanos sobre los alimentos que compran", dijo.

Jaime Delgado, presidente de Aspec, apoyó la propuesta de la legisladora, pero recordó que etiquetar los productos transgénicos ya es obligatorio, pues la misma Constitución reconoce tal derecho. Además señaló que en 1985 la ONU aprobó una serie de directrices que establecen que las personas deben ser informadas sobre lo que consumen; etiquetado con el que se mostró en desacuerdo el decano del Colegio de Biólogos.

Tomando en cuenta el plano internacional, Benza Pflücker añadió que en países como Venezuela, Brasil, Chile, Alemania e Inglaterra existe una política muy clara sobre el etiquetado de los alimentos y urgió a que lo mismo se haga en el Perú. "Todos los productos de procedencia transgénica que ingresen al país tienen que ser etiquetados", reclamó.

Sin embargo, Bustamante replicó que es iluso etiquetar los alimentos libres de transgénicos porque por debajo del 0,9% de su composición es imposible detectar si contienen proteínas modificadas genéticamente.

Más allá de las posiciones encontradas, los invitados coincidieron en que hace falta más transparencia e información sobre la legislación, la participación de distintas entidades y los intereses comerciales detrás de los transgénicos.

La Ley 27104 y su reglamento
En 1999 se promulgó, sin mayor debate ni información a la población, la Ley de Prevención de Riesgos Derivados del Uso de la Biotecnología (27104), la cual tiene entre sus finalidades "proteger la salud humana, el ambiente y la diversidad biológica".

Esta norma se aplica para la investigación, producción, introducción, manipulación, transporte, almacenamiento, conservación, comercialización, uso confinado y liberación de organismos vivos modificados (OVM). No contempla las actividades en genoma humano, las vacunas para seres humanos y otras.

Su reglamento se aprobó en el 2002 a través de un decreto supremo, pero hasta hoy no se publica. En él se establecen las instituciones responsables, los procedimientos de registro para quienes realicen actividades con OVM y los procedimientos para la evaluación y gestión de riesgos.