Civil Society Statement

We, the undersigned civil society organisations in Africa, hereby call upon the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Target Malaria project to stop the intended release of 10 000 genetically modified (GM) “male sterile” mosquitoes in Burkina Faso, as the release poses unacceptable risks to human beings and the environment.

We note with grave concern that African citizens are being exposed to life threatening health risks, through questionable technology involving the release of GM mosquitoes. We are even more alarmed to learn that, by Target Malaria’s own admission, there are no advantages expected from the initial proposed GM mosquito release, as it is intended only for training purposes and not expected to deliver any benefits for malaria control in Burkina Faso.

Oxitec’s failed GM mosquito releases worldwide: Forewarnings for Africa and the Target Malaria project

Briefing paper

A decade ago, genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes were first released globally, in the Cayman Islands, by UK-based company Oxitec. Further releases followed in Malaysia, Panama and Brazil.

In a public relations whitewash, Oxitec has repeatedly claimed that the experiments successfully wiped out nearly 90% of the Aedes aegypti mosquito population, which is one of the vectors to transmit tropical diseases such as dengue fever, zika and chikungunya. Their approach was to release GM mosquitoes carrying a trait designed to kill both the male and female offspring before reaching adulthood.

Release of risky GM mosquitoes in Burkina Faso highly unethical

Press release

Press Release issued by African Centre for Biodiversity, Third World Network and GeneWatch UK

Johannesburg, 9 November 2018

Release of risky GM mosquitoes in Burkina Faso highly unethical

Risky genetically modified (GM) “male-sterile” mosquitoes are due to be released in the very near future, in Burkina Faso by the Target Malaria research consortium. However, Target Malaria acknowledges that there are no benefits to the proposed GM mosquito release.

According to Mariam Mayet, Executive Director of the African Centre for Biodiversity, “There is absolutely no justification for releasing these GM mosquitoes. It is highly unethical and totally unacceptable to conduct experiments which carry risks, yet do not bring any benefit for malaria control in Burkina Faso”.