As a member of United Nations, I take great pride in representing my Country of Andorra. As a citizen of Andorra and a part of the UN, I am here to voice the opinions of Andorra on this important issue of GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS, and the potential risks they might implement. We understand the seriousness of the issue, also the harm GMO’s might represent and the precautions all the other nations are taking, so we pledge our full support to the UN and all the nations in this moratorium. The following paper is presented to the United Nations, on behalf of the Principality of Andorra regarding our views on the current issue of genetically modified organisms. Through out this essay, I will be discussing the reasons that have brought me to the decision of agreeing with the global moratorium on the development and release of genetically modified organisms. We discussed this issue in relevance to every sector in our government and its impacts on our society.
Andorra is located in Southwestern Europe, between France and Spain. Andorra maintains a population of 66,824 people, last stated in July 2000. (CIA World Fact book) Principality of Andorra has a current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.2 billion U.S, last recorded in 1998. It is stated that each individual has the purchasing power of $18,000 U.S (CIA World Fact book) Andorra does not hold a set of national accounts, but is being looked into for the future. “Real GDP growth has been strong, perhaps exceeding 5 percent, in recent periods led by tourism and construction.” (Country Information) Andorra does not receive foreign assistance from other nations, which is why our economy is held together by the service sector, as a whole which employs nearly 80 percent of Andorra’s workforce. “Andorra’s merchandise imports in 1998 totaled 161 pesetas versus exports of only 8 million pesetas. Ninety percent of imports are from France and 73 percent are from Spain. Likewise Spain and France consume over 80 percent of Andorra exports.”
(Country Watch) Our country has been improving dramatically in the last decade, which is greatly due to our tourism industry. Andorra is one of Europe’s proud developing nations.
As with every nation, we take great pride in our government, our religious faith and national pride as people of Andorra. Our political system is that of a parliamentary co-principality. The co-princes are the bishop of Urgell and the president of the French Republic. Their powers are identical and jointly they are the heads of state, with strict limiting powers. (MSN Encarta Encyclopedia) Democracy came into effect in March 1993, which allows the people to have more control of what goes on in their nation and limits the power of the coprinces. “In March 1993, a referendum established a parliamentary system of government with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Political parties and labor unions were legalized for the first time.” (Nato) The predominant religion in Andorra is Roman Catholic. Andorra’s government has greatly improved since the referendum in March of 1993 and continues to do so.
The average life expectancy in Andorra is satisfactory; taking into account that it is a developing nation. The average life span for men is 74 years of age, and for women is 81. “The infant mortality rate in 2000 in Andorra was 7 per every 1,000.” (Country Watch) Andorra has no principal health problems, but a few cases of Leishmania/HIV co-infection, have been found in France and Spain. Brucellosis and animal rabies are both found in the southwestern parts of Europe. (World Health Organization)
The issue of Agriculture in Andorra is a rising concern to both the public and the government recently. Presently only 4% of our land is arable for agricultural activities. (Lonelyplanet) The agriculture sector in Andorra contributes 10.0% of the GDP and employs an estimated 0.7% of labor. (Photius) The large proportion of GDP comes from trade followed by tourism. The poor state of agriculture income is due to the increase in imports of food products from France and Spain. Low agricultural GDP is the result of decrease in arable land available and the extreme weather conditions in winter. The country produces small quantities of tobacco, rye, wheat, barley, oats and vegetables. (Photius) Andorra has shifted their focus from the production of food, to these products which are more profitable. As we have stated earlier our major trade partners are France and Spain, we export our agriculture products to our major partners and the rest of Europe. Our Exports – commodities are tobacco products and furniture. 58% of our exports go to Spain and 34% to France. (Hotseeking) Our current food supply can not fulfil the demand of the public, only increased imports or the usage of GMO’s can help the degeneration sector.
An Andorran consumes between 2213 to 2600 calories per day depending on the person and their dietary preference. Andorran’s follow the guide presented by the World Health Organization, consuming between 2200 to 2600 calories per day. (FAO Food Fact Sheet) Andorra imports commodities such as consumer goods, food and electricity from our import partners. We have three major contributors, Spain being the largest with 48% of our imports followed by France consisting of 35% of our annual imports and also the US with 2.3% imports. (Hotseeking) Imports are crucial to the livelihood of our people because of the scarcity of land. The country must import food from France and Spain. The many agriculture products, which are grown in Andorra, are in the lower valleys. Our annual imports succeed our exports due to our land and climate. In 1998 our imports were $1.2 billion U.S. and our exports consisting of only$27.8 million U.S. (Country Information) Our immense supply of imports is due to the scarcity of food products within the country. Andorra is very strong in exporting merchandise to other countries, this is very beneficial to our country. Our imports are extremely high compared to the export figures; we receive products, which are essential to our survival from other nations instead of producing them within Andorra.
The fate of our country and economy is greatly influenced by our people, which is why changes in the population can both positively and negatively effect the future economy. In the present years the Population has been on a steady rise, the current population is 66,824 with the growth rate of 1.22% in the year 2000. Increases in our population will certainly help boost the economy, we have predicted with current statistics that the population will increase to 74, 530 in the year 2010. Our economy has been greatly improving since the early 1990’s and our GDP in the year 2000 was $1.2 billion U.S. Our GDP is increasing on an annual basis and it is estimated at $1.9 billion U.S in 10 years. The standard of living in our country has been improving since the referendum in 1993, it is predicted to be around $25,000 U.S in the year 2010 assuming both GDP and population raises steady. (CIA World Fact book) Our country cannot produce enough food at the present time with the limitation of arable land; most food has to be imported. Judging on the current state we will not be able to effectively supply the agricultural demand of our people. Our imports will greatly increase in the next ten years unless GMO’s can be used or new agricultural methods be produced. Statistics have showed that both the population and the living costs have been raising. Based on these facts it will be impossible to fulfil the demand of the citizens, in order to feed our people we have to resort to GMO’s or double our imports with our costs multiplying. If we do not deal with this issue of food supply, it will become worsen and will bring the country to enormous debt or sky raising food costs.
Andorra can certainly benefit from the usage of Genetically Modified Organisms since our arable land is only 2% and our imports drastically exceeds our exports. Using GMO’s will help increase our income and lessen the burden of importing foods for the annual cost of over 1.2 billion and rising. The money saved with the usage of GMO’s can be put into other areas to enhance the function of our economy. We can use the money saved by the production of GMO’s to increase the production of hydroelectricity in Andorra rather than importing it from France. We need to import 78% of our electricity from France. (MSN Encarta Encyclopedia) The usage of GMO’s will greatly benefit the Country from lessening the cost of imports in both food and hydroelectricity and increasing our GDP which can be used to enhance our livelihood, improve our tourism sector, and implement more Information technology into the country. Andorra's key current environmental issues include deforestation, overgrazing of mountain meadows, soil erosion and the occasional snow slides and avalanches. (Country Information) GMO’s are beneficial since we deal with many environmental problems, which negatively impacts the economy and effect every other sector. The one major concern that we have at the moment is the effects of Genetically Modified Foods on the human health. If GMO’s are not potentially dangerous to our health than we welcome it. Taking into account the issue with very little arable land and extremely high costs of food imports, we disagree with the global moratorium. At the same time we value the health of our country, weighting the pro’s and con’s of GMO’s we have decided to agree with the global moratorium of putting GMO’s to a 10 year freeze period. This is not an easy decision for myself, because my vote does have repercussions we must deal with. I had to take into account two things, which finalized my decision: Health of our people or Economic Profit and the answer was clear. I have chosen to support the UN because the testing on GMO’s will aid us all in the long run, I could not authorize the use of GMO’s in Andorra without knowing all the facts first. We will continue to import food and try and produce some in our country knowing we made the right choice – we put human lives first. Andorra can profit greatly from GMO’s, but not at the expense of our people.
As a nation, we believe that every country can benefit from the usage of GMO’s, when taken with precaution and only the best intentions at hand. We believe other nations can benefit from GMO’s in many aspects such as saving money, land, and time. Many countries are now faced with the challenges of increased demand in food and shortfall in the supply due to soil erosion and very little land left to harvest. GMO’s will also reduce the amount of money spent on foods imported from other parts of the world. GMO’s will allow the country to serve everyone’s needs when it comes to the variety of foods. The environment can also benefit, because it will not be over cultivated and the usage of pesticide and other chemicals used on foods and plants will decline. We can fully speak for our nation, when we say Andorra will greatly benefit from the development and release of GMO products in the future. Through out this paper we have stated many times that our land has been used to the maximum, there is very little chance of it improving or the demand decreasing. In order to satisfy the public we spend enormous amount of currency on imported food due to the scarcity of the land and our climate. On behalf of all the people of Andorra we vote in favor of the proposed resolution with NO. We are not in favor of the development and the usage of GMO’s, until the risks have adequately been evaluated and presented. GMO’s should be released only after the ten-year period and after sufficient tests.
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