Moratorium

In 2000, governments at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity created a moratorium on Terminator (GURTS or Genetic Use Restriction Technologies) via Decision V/5, III which recommends that governments not approve field testing or commercial use of Terminator.

Initially the Decision was cautiously referred to as a de facto moratorium because, although it functioned in reality as a moratorium, it was not officially called a moratorium. Following the March 2006 UN COP8 meeting in Brazil, the Decision is now understood as a stronger moratorium. This is because of the political will expressed by governments and because the language was slightly strengthened.

Decision V/5, III, 23. "Recommends that, in the current absence of reliable data on genetic use restriction technologies, without which there is an inadequate basis on which to assess their potential risks, and in accordance with the precautionary approach, products incorporating such technologies should not be approved by Parties for field testing until appropriate scientific data can justify such testing, and for commercial use until appropriate, authorized and strictly controlled scientific assessments with regard to, inter alia, their ecological and socio-economic impacts and any adverse effects for biological diversity, food security and human health have been carried out in a transparent manner and the conditions for their safe and beneficial use validated."

In March 2006, at the COP8 meeting of the CBD, governments decided to uphold the moratorium when they agreed to reaffirm the above decision from 2000.

The language of the moratorium was slightly strengthened with the clarification that research on Terminator should take place in accordance with the moratorium - meaning no field trials:

Below is the entirely of the text relating to Terminator/GURTs agreed to by governments at the COP8 meeting:

Agricultural Biodiversity:
C. Genetic Use Restriction Technologies
The Conference of the Parties

1. Reaffirms decision V/5, section III (Genetic use restriction technologies);

2. Encourages Parties, other Governments, relevant organizations, and interested stakeholders to:
(a) Respect traditional knowledge and Farmers’ Rights to the preservation of seeds under traditional cultivation;
(b) Continue to undertake further research, within the mandate of decision V/5 section III, on the impacts of genetic use restriction technologies, including their ecological, social, economic and cultural impacts, particularly on indigenous and local communities; and
(c) Continue to disseminate the results of studies on the potential environmental (e.g., risk assessment), socio-economic and cultural impacts of genetic use restriction technologies on smallholder farmers, indigenous and local communities, and make these studies available in a transparent manner through, inter alia, the clearing‑house mechanism;

3. Invites the governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to examine, within the context of its work, priorities and available resources, the potential impacts of genetic use restriction technologies with special consideration to the impacts on indigenous and local communities and associated traditional knowledge, smallholder farmers and breeders and Farmers’ Rights;

4. Notes that there is a strong demand for capacity-building and technology transfer, particularly for developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and that adequate resources need to be provided, particularly relating to the assessment of, and decision-making, on genetic use restriction technologies, regarding cultural and socio-economic aspects, in accordance with Articles 12, 16, 17, 18 and 20 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and urges Parties to strengthen capacity‑building initiatives covering environmental, cultural and socio‑economic aspects to enable Parties to make informed decisions and actions on genetic use restriction technologies with the participation of indigenous and local communities and other stakeholders; and

5. Notes that the issues related to genetic use restriction technologies should be disseminated in appropriate language and simplified form, through the clearing-house mechanism and other means.