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.

Submission Timeline

January 28, 2009

The Secretariat received a submission and began a preliminary analysis of it under the guidelines.

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 28/01/2009

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 26/01/2009

January 6, 2010

The Secretariat notified the submitter(s) that the submission did not meet all of the Article 14(1) criteria and the submitter(s) had 30 days to provide the Secretariat with a revised submission that conforms with Article 14(1).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) authored by Secretariat on 06/01/2010

February 5, 2010

The Secretariat received a revised submission and began to analyze it.

Submission - Submission authored by Submitter(s) on 04/02/2010

Acknowledgement - Communication to Submitter(s) authored by Secretariat on 05/02/2010

March 3, 2010

The Secretariat determined that the submission met the criteria of Article 14(1) and requested a response from the concerned government Party in accordance with Article 14(2).

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 14 (1) and 14 (2) authored by Secretariat on 03/03/2010

March 19, 2010

Under Article 14(3) and Guideline 9.2 the Party notified the Secretariat of an extension from 30 to 60 days to file a Party response.

May 3, 2010

The Secretariat received a response from the concerned government Party and began considering whether to recommend a factual record.

Party Response - Response from the Party under Article 14 (3) authored by Mexico on 03/05/2010

Acknowledgement - Other document authored by Secretariat on 05/05/2010

December 20, 2010

The Secretariat determined not to recommend the preparation of a factual record. Under guideline 9.6, the process was terminated.

Determination - Secretariat Determination under Article 15 (1) authored by Secretariat on 20/12/2010