COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:
The Submission asserts that the Government of Mexico is failing to effectively enforce its environmental laws with regard to control, inspection, investigation, and risk assessment of transgenic maize in Chihuahua, Mexico.
The Submitters further assert, inter alia, that Mexican authorities are failing to effectively enforce the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; the Mexican Biosafety Law on Genetically Modified Organisms (Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados); the Mexican General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio y la Protección al Ambiente); and the Mexican Federal Penal Code (Código Penal Federal). The Submitters moreover assert "that Mexican authorities are failing to adopt measures that ensure an adequate level of protection of native and hybrid maize from genetically modified seeds" in Chihuahua, Mexico. The Submitters also allege that there is evidence of transgenic maize being imported, distributed and grown in the state of Chihuahua in contravention of the Mexican laws at issue.
Summary of the response provided by the Party:
On 3 May 2010, Mexico filed a response to this submission in accordance with NAAEC Article 14(3). The Party asserts that the submission does not meet the eligibility requirements of Article 14(1) since it allegedly contains some provisions that do not meet the NAAEC definition of "environmental law," and others that do not relate to the assertions in the submission. The Party asserts that the Secretariat should not have requested a response from the Party, since the submission allegedly does not meet the criteria of Article 14(2); it argues that pursuant to Article 14(3), the Secretariat should proceed no further with its consideration of the submission given the existence of pending proceedings; it states that in any case Mexico is taking specific and effective measures to enforce domestic law, and it concludes that the matter raised by the Submitters does not warrant the development of a factual record.
Mexico notes that the National Food Safety and Inspection Service (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria-Senasica), the Office of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente-Profepa), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Treasury and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público-SHCP), and the Interministerial Commission on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (Comisión Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad de los Organismos Genéticamente Modificados-Cibiogem) have initiated administrative procedures and implemented inspection and surveillance strategies. In addition, Mexico states that its authorities have followed up on complaints of alleged unauthorized releases of transgenic maize in the state of Chihuahua. Other measures described by Mexico include the drafting of a coordinated action protocol for response to cases of illegal release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment; the formation of a high-level task force mandated with strengthening coordination between authorities for more effective response to cases of illegal release of GMOs; the implementation of a capacity-building project designed to improve implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, and the creation of a living modified organisms information system serving to support the analysis and identification of possible risks to biodiversity arising from environmental release of GMOs.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; Mexican Biosafety Law on Genetically Modified Organisms (Ley de Bioseguridad de Organismos Genéticamente Modificados); the Mexican General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection (Ley General del Equilibrio y la Protección al Ambiente); and the Mexican Federal Penal Code (Código Penal Federal)
Submitter(s):Frente Democrâtico Campesino, Unión Nacional de Productores Agropecuarios, Comerciantes, Industriales y prestadores de Servicio El Barzón, A.C., Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A.C., Greenpeace Mexico, A.C., Helena Iturribarría, et al.