Seminar: Sustainable and genetically modified?

Crop spraying

A crop is sprayed by a man in a tractor. Illustration photo: Yaymicro

Before the Norwegian authorities decide on whether or not to approve a genetically modified plant for import to Norway or cultivation within Norway, they must assess whether the plant contributes to sustainable development. On a seminar in May we discussed what criteria must be met before the use of such plants can be considered a contribution to sustainable development.

This seminar will consider how national authorities and companies that sell genetically modified seeds may apply a set of criteria for sustainability. We will also discuss how such sustainability requirements will be met by international trade regulations such as the WTO (World Trade Organization).

Watch the presentations (YouTube video clips) from the whole meeting or choose one of the presentations


Time: 10 September 2012, 10:00–15:30
Holbergs terrasse kurs- og konferansesenter, Stensberggata 27, Oslo

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


Registration. Coffee/tea.

Even Søfteland, Member of The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board
and Manager, CapMare AS.
Bjarte Rambjør Heide, Senior Adviser, The Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.

Session 1: Sustainability criteria: How do we know if a GMO is sustainable?

Sustainability criteria for herbicide tolerant GMOs – a draft proposal from the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.
Bell Batta Torheim, Member of the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board
and Adviser, the Development Fund.


BASF’s work on sustainability indicators for agriculture and herbicide tolerant GMOs. 
Dr. Martijn Gipmans, Global Sustainability Coordinator, BASF.


Discussion. Panellists: Bell Batta Torheim, Martijn Gipmans, and Thor Kristoffersen, Quality Director, Denofa.


Session 2: Sustainability, GMOs and trade agreements

The  Norwegian policy and law on biosafety – a perspective from the South
Martin Kohr, Executive Director, South Centre, Switzerland.


Sustainability criteria for GMO approval and WTO –  a Norwegian governmental perspective
Evan Campbell Kittelsen, Director Trade Policy, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



Chair: Sissel Rogne, Director, 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 suggest the most important criteria for assessing whether herbicide tolerant genetically modified plants contribute to sustainable development.

Watch video clips from the seminar about genetically modified plants and sustainability in May here.

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: 22.06.2012. Siden ble oppdatert: 30.09.2014

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