THE IMPACT OF EU GMO REGULATION ON BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD
25th February. European Parliament. Brussels. The Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) and the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament (STOA) organised a seminar to address the impact of GMO regulation on biotechnology transfer. The seminar discussed how current regulations and policies impact the potential for public biotechnology research.
The world community is confronted with unprecedented, escalating developments such as growing world population (+ 50% by 2050); increased consumption of food, feed, fibre and fuel; loss of agricultural land (– 50% by 2050); shortage of fresh water; climate change; increasing demand for renewable fuels, and loss of natural habitats and biodiversity.
These developments create immense challenges to produce more crop per hectare and per litre of water, and to produce on marginal land, enhance the nutritional value of crops, reduce dependence on pesticides and fertilisers, and reduce soil erosion.
No single technology can solve these complex challenges by itself. The future of agriculture is not a matter of “either this or that” technology but rather of combining the most suitable approaches of each available technology and agricultural practice, tailored to specific needs and situations.
As governments and international organisations have stated repeatedly: modern biotechnology – although not a “silver bullet” - can contribute significantly to finding solutions for these challenges. Consequently, governments and international organisations invest considerably in public research in modern biotechnology to strengthen sustainable agricultural production, to improve health care and contribute environmental protection. Despite these investments, the current regulatory situation in many countries, and in the EU in particular, increasingly curtails public research in biotechnology.
Hereunder is an interview with Prof. Walter Alhassan, Coordinator, Project on Strengthening Capacity for Safe Biotechnology Managemt in sub-Sahara Africa (SABIMA)