Global Motivation or European Character? Four Scenarios for GMOs in European Agriculture

Policy reports | 02.02.2011 | CGM/110224-01

In 2010 the Rathenau Instituut and COGEM performed an explorative scenario study on the situation for GMOs in European agriculture. Based on two ‘drivers’ – ‘societal acceptance in the EU (and the Netherlands)’ and ‘external pressure’ – which are both determining factors for developments as well as uncertainty surrounding the direction in which they are developed, four scenarios or worlds were distinguished. In all scenarios, the Netherlands and Europe are projected within the framework of a world that does cultivate GMOs, just like in the current situation.

The scenarios offer a perspective on the consequences that the (lack of) cultivation and importation of GMOs can have on agriculture, science, business and consumers in the Netherlands and Europe. The scenarios sketch extremes and they are not predictions of the future. They are snapshots of fictional worlds under the conditions set by the drivers societal acceptance and external pressure. As such, they offer a mental framework for identifying relevant policy questions and giving shape to future policies, within each different situation.

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