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• phase II - Expert Teaching Teams
• phase I - workshops to develop methods
• side events at the MOPs
• outreach

Outreach meetings and dialogue with groups outside the public sector

The GMO ERA Project recognizes that groups outside the public sector— including the biotechnology producer industry, non-governmental (NGOs) and civil society organizations, and national regulatory communities— have considerable expertise and interest in environmental risk assessment. Through exchange, we can improve our products and thereby facilitate their adoption. Through this process, the project aims to understand the interests of these groups, seek common ground from which we can work together, and develop concrete issues for exchange.

Workshop in South Africa
GMO ERA Project phase I and II co-coordinator Dr. Angelika Hilbeck presented at a 1-day workshop on “Capacity Building for Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms” in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 24th, 2006. Angelika gave participants an overview of ERA principles and presented the scientific methods and tools from the GMO ERA Project's Brazil and Kenya case studies. The workshop, organized and chaired by Ms. Leseho Sello and Ms. Wadzi Mandivenyi from the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, was geared to help regulators and scientific advisory committee members gain a better understanding of ERA of GMOs, and to provide scientific tools and methodologies that can be used for ERAs and management of transgenic plants in a South African context. The 20 participants included scientists and stakeholders from South African governmental agencies, universities, NGOs and industry.
The workshop included an engaging and constructive discussion on the situation with GM crops in South Africa. Participants remarked they were impressed with the project methodologies and the balanced and thoughtful presentation. They also felt Angelika’s presentation gave them a greater understanding of the state of the GM debate in Europe.

Outreach in Zimbabwe
In November 2006, Dr. Angelika Hilbeck was also invited as an independent expert (not related to GMO ERA Project activities) and scientific resource person to the "Southern Africa Regional Conference on Genetic Engineering" in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where GM crops were discussed from a faith-based perspective. The conference was organized by Christian Care and facilitated by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Most participants felt that GM crops have a minor role in hunger alleviation in Zimbabwe due to other economic and agricultural problems that must be solved first. One Canadian farmer at the conference, who grows GM crops in Canada, agreed with this opinion in his report on the conference, stating that "Crop genetics is not their (Zimbabwe's) limiting factor. Improving them, therefore, cannot be a solution the the problem."

Outreach meeting with representatives of NGOs and biotech industry in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 9-10 March 2006

A few days before the MOP3 convened in Curitiba, GMO ERA Project held two outreach meetings; one with representatives from Brazilian and international non-governmental organizations, and one with representatives from the biotech industry. The meetings served as an opportunity to discuss the project methods and identify topics of common interest and areas of potential conflict, with the aim of increasing the adoption of project methods by a wide variety of groups.

The meetings were opened by Dr. Deise Capalbo, co-coordinator of the project in Brazil. She explained that the GMO ERA project is not an Embrapa project, but has a strong input of Embrapa scientists in collaboration with public sector scientists from universities and research institutes in Brazil and many other countries. Presentations on the project as a whole was given by Dr. David Andow and Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, the coordinators of the international project, followed by a presentation by Dr. Celso Omoto and Dr. Carmen Pires on the project in Brazil and the reasons for the meetings.

Following the presentations, project members and NGO representatives had a discussion about the goals and directions of the project, as well as the concerns of the NGOs about GMO effects. Participants were particularly interested in continuing a dialogue on the relevance of the project methods to evaluate the impacts of GMOs on organic and small scale agriculture in Brazil. As a result of this meeting, Deise Capalbo has set up an email discussion group hosted by Embrapa Environment for all meeting participants.

In the meeting with the biotech industry representatives, the discussion succeeded in clarifying the positions of both groups, and in defining the aims and structure of the project to the participants. As a result of the meeting, more information about the project methods were sent to the industry representatives and they will give scientific input to allow us to identify topics for further discussion.

Project members also held a series of informal outreach meetings during the Second Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol (MOP2) at Montreal in June, with representatives from the technology producers industry and civil society organisations.


Contact us: We welcome any input and support for this project.

PFOA Handbook

Looking at a cotton pest

Cotton boll