Building blocks for an assessment framework for the cultivation of GM crops
To break the deadlock in Europe surrounding the decision-making process on genetically modified (GM) crops, the European Union is working on an amendment to the legislation to provide member states with the competence to restrict or prohibit cultivation in their own territory on the basis of considerations other than safety. In this way the EU wishes to defuse the safety discussion and provide member states with the possibility of restricting or prohibiting cultivation.
Since 2010 the EU has been working on a proposal to amend Directive 2001/18/EC to provide national cultivation competence for GMOs. On the basis of the proposal member states must determine how they will implement this in national legislation.
At the request of the then Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), COGEM published a report in 2009 which provided building blocks for a sustainability assessment framework for GM crops. In the context of the European proposal COGEM was requested by the Ministry in July 2014 to examine that report once more and update it where necessary to reflect the Dutch situation, also in the context of the national cultivation proposal. The original report was written on the basis of a worldwide perspective. This report looks at which building blocks may be relevant to the Dutch situation and to what extent these aspects are covered by existing legislation. A number of considerations were also identified concerning decisions that have to be made before an assessment framework can be arrived at. For the purposes of preparing this report, COGEM organised an international workshop ‘A socio-economic assessment framework for GMOs’ to exchange ideas, experience and insight with scientists and policy-makers from other EU member states.