Genetically Modified Crops, Agricultural Sustainability and National Opt­Outs – Enclosure as the Loophole?

Mary Dobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
655 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

EU Member States are faced with a quandary – after decades of demanding powers to choose whether to cultivate genetically modified (GM) crops or not, the EU has returned some limited powers to them. A 2015 EU Directive permits Member States to ‘opt-out’ from GM cultivation, provided that they fulfil relevant criteria. Member States therefore now need to decide whether and how to restrict GM crops. A significant consideration is the question of agricultural sustainability (agri-sustainability). In principle GM crops have the potential to promote agri-sustainability, including through increasing agricultural biodiversity (agrobiodiversity). However, the applicability of intellectual property law to both the original GM crops and its progeny enables the legal enclosure of the crops’ genetic make-up, thereby potentially undermining agrobiodiversity and agri-sustainability. This paper argues that legal enclosure could justify imposing restrictions on GM cultivation, in order to conserve agrobiodiversity as an exhaustible natural resource essential to agri-sustainability. For such justifications to succeed legally at both the EU and WTO level, they must be distinguished clearly from any broader environmental concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1122
Number of pages30
JournalCommon Market Law Review
Volume54
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2017

Keywords

  • Agricultural sustainability
  • enclosure
  • genetically modified crops
  • opt-outs
  • Sustainability

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  • Projects

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    • 3 Participation in conference

    The Era of Biotechnology: Lights and Shadows in Trading Genetically Modified Organisms within the WTO Framework Symposium

    Mary Dobbs (Invited speaker)

    24 Sep 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    5th Annual European Environmental Law Forum Conference

    Mary Dobbs (Speaker), & Mary Dobbs (Session chair)

    31 Aug 201701 Sep 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    UCC Law and the Environment Conference 2016

    Mary Dobbs (Speaker)

    21 Apr 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Press / Media

    Biotech Companies Wary of Brexit Threat to EU Crop Approvals

    Mary Dobbs

    20/10/2017

    1 Media contribution

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