Confidence-Building Measures for Genetically Modified Foods
Jurimetrics, Vol. 44, p. 1, 2003
4 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2009
Date Written: 2003
"Confidence-building measures" (CBMs) are concrete, incremental steps, acceptable to all parties, that can be implemented relatively easily to reduce tensions and build trust in a time of conflict. The concept of CBMs arose in the sphere of international relations, and such measures are frequently used in international conflicts as the initial steps for reducing hostilities between enemies. In this international context, CBMs usually involve some mix of communication, constraint, transparency, or verification measures. CBMs are not intended to provide an ultimate solution to a conflict, but rather to reduce tensions and increase trust. This promotes a climate that is more conducive to negotiations and cooperation on a longer-term solution. CBMs are thus intended as pragmatic steps toward more substantial and enduring objectives. The concept of CBMs may be useful for conflicts over genetically modified (GM) foods and other biotechnology products. Biotechnology has the potential to provide many health, environmental, and economic benefits to society, but the realization of those benefits is called into question by public mistrust of this nascent technology. While the American public has not shown the widespread hostility to GM products that has been experienced in Europe, public opinion polls consistently show a strong undercurrent of concern and lack of confidence in the governmental and industry institutions controlling the development of biotechnology.
Keywords: Confidence-building measures, international relations, genetically modified foods
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