Seminar: Genetically modified plants and sustainability

Can plants that are genetically modified to tolerate herbicides contribute to sustainable development?

Photo: Scanstockphoto

Watch the presentations (YouTube video clips)

The Norwegian Gene Technology Act states that genetically modified plants, in order to be approved for import to Norway or cultivation within Norway, must not be detrimental to health and the environment.  When assessing an application, considerable weight should also be given to whether the use of the plant contributes to sustainable development, is beneficial to society and ethically acceptable.

This seminar will consider plants that are genetically modified to tolerate herbicides.  We will discuss what criteria must be met before the use of such plants can be considered a contribution to sustainable development. The seminar will give input to The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board’s work on further concretizing the sustainability criterion in the Gene Technology Act.

Time: 10 May 2012, 10:00 a.m.–1:15 p.m.

Place: Vika Konferansesenter, Dronning Mauds gate 10, Oslo. Entrance from the corner of Dronning Mauds gate and Munkedamsveien.

The seminar is open to all and will be held in English.
Attendance is free. However, we kindly ask you to register.
Organizers: The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.


The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.

What is sustainable development?
Prof. Desmond McNeill, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo.

Herbicides, GMOs and sustainable development: Experiences from South America.
Georgina Catacora-Vargas, researcher, Genøk – Centre for Biosafety, and biosafety advisor of the Vice-Ministry of Environment of Bolivia.

Can herbicide tolerant GMOs contribute to sustainable development?
Dr. Annemarie Breukers, LEI – Agricultural Economics Institute, Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands.

Coffee break

Austria’s work on socio-economic criteria for GMO approval.
Dr. Andreas Heissenberger, Deputy Unit Head of the Department for Landuse and Biosafety, Environment Agency Austria.

Debate: What are the most important criteria for assessing whether herbicide tolerant GMOs contribute to sustainable development?

Chair: Odd Vangen, professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and member of The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.

Background for the seminar:
The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board and the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management have set up an ad hoc expert group for assessing sustainability of genetically modified plants. The ad hoc group will meet after the seminar. During 2012 the group will define the most important criteria for assessing whether herbicide tolerant genetically modified plants contribute to sustainable development.

Read the report Sustainability, Benefit to the Community and Ethics in the Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms (1999, revised 2009).

Read the report from our project on insect resistant, genetically modified plants and sustainability in 2010 (only available in Norwegian).

Siden ble opprettet: 26.04.2012. Siden ble oppdatert: 13.06.2013

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