Workshop B1: A GMO free Europe – one step to gain food sovereignty

Saturday, 25th April 2009, 9.00 – 10.30h / Coffee break / 11.00 – 12.00h / Lunch / 13.00 – 15.00h
Language: English

Organizer and Moderator:

Tina Goethe, Switzerland, SWISSAID, Presentation: A GMO free Europe: one step to achieve Food Sovereignty (pdf, 41 KB,English)


Hans Herren, Washington, Co-president of the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD)
Heike Schiebeck, Austria, Farmer and Representative of the European Coordination of Via Campesina
Benny Haerlin, Berlin, Representative of GENET / GMO-free regions
Guy Kastler, France, Confédération Paysanne, Réseau Semences

Outline: Minutes of the Workshop (pdf, 27 KB, English)

After the food crisis the concept of food sovereignty has gained new attention in Europe. Several networks (farmers’ organisations, environmental and development NGOs, social movements etc.) are involved in the debate and try to bring the concept further and to bring about changes in the agricultural and trade policy of the EU and European Countries. In Switzerland the concept is discussed within all farmers organisation as well as at parliament.

Democratic control over food and agriculture is at the core of food sovereignty. The fight for GMO-free regions or a moratorium on GMO is therefore an important part of this change strengthening food sovereignty in Europe. It is one very concrete example of how to claim and to gain democratic control over food production. The experience of the GMOfree movements show, that this is only possible if consumers and producers come together. The Swiss moratorium on GMO being one quite successful example.

The report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD) mentions food sovereignty as an important strategy to ensure food for the world’s population. The report is calling for a paradigm shift in agriculture. How could that report be used within the EU and European countries to bring forward our visions?

The workshop wants to strategies to bring forward the concept of food sovereignty in Europe. The links and synergies with the networks and movements fighting for GMO-free regions and those engaged for food sovereignty should be analysed and, if decided to be useful, strengthened.


(1) Short clarification of the concept of food sovereignty in the European context. What does that mean for Europe?
(2) What are the most important changes we have to engage for regarding the European agricultural and trade policy and its impact on the rest of the world, especially poor countries?
(3) Update on and discussion of strategies to strengthen food sovereignty in Europe.
(4) Analysis and discussion of possible links and synergies between the food sovereignty and the GMO-free regions movements in Europe.
(5) Follow up of the IAASTD process and discussion about how it can strengthen the food sovereignty and GMO-free regions movements.

Background and literature:

SWISSAID background paper on Food Sovereignty (German)
pdf document

The GMO Campaign from Friends of the Earth Europe (English)

The first international forum on food sovereignty February 2007  (French, Spanish, English)
The European Coordination of Via Campesina (French, Spanish, English)

Annecy Manifesto September 2008: For fair, sustainable and mutually supportive agriculture policies (English, Spanish)

Via Campesina International (French, Spanish, English)

The Ecofair-trade Dialogue (Wuppertal Institute, Misereor, Böll Foundation): (French, Spanish, English, German)

Official site of the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD) (French, Spanish, English)

NGO website of the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD) process (English)

Facts aus dem Weltagrarbericht (IAASTD) (French, Spanish, English, Dutch)