Workshop session I in the morning

Emerging technologies - basic science, limitations, biosafety and regulatory issues

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Saal“ (1.OG)

This science-policy interface workshop will address emerging biotechnologies (e.g. TALEN, ZNF, CRISPR) that seek to avoid GMO labeling and GMO regulations and their associated biosafety issues. This workshop will explain the different arguments that are used to call these technologies 'non-GM' and debate uncertainties in European or international (Cartagena Biosafety Protocol) regulations regarding these novel products of biotechnology. The aim is to support civil societies in their on-going efforts to find a joint position regarding the emerging biotechnologies.

Speakers: Eric MeunierAndrás SzékácsRicarda SteinbrecherJonathan LathamSarah Agapito, Elisabeth WaigmannTobin Robinson

Public opinion on new technologies in the European Union by András Székács
- New Plant Breeding Technologies by Ricarda A. Steinbrecher
RNAs: Risks and Hazards in the RNA World by Jonathan Latham
Biosafety considerations of new dsRNA molecules by Sarah Agapito
EFSA’s role in assessing emerging technologies by Tobin Robinson, Science Strategy and Coordination Department Elisabeth Waigmann, GMO Unit

Organized by: European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)

African agriculture under threat: GM crops in the wider context

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Kleiner Saal“ (6. OG)

There have been recent concerted efforts to commercialise GM crops in Africa, including staple crops and with emerging applications such as drought tolerance and nutritional enhancement. These efforts sit squarely in the context of the changing nature of agriculture in Africa, which increasingly pushes for an industrialization/ modernization and Green Revolution paradigm. European countries, some of which have strict national policies on GMOs, may be complicit in some of these initiatives. The workshop will bring together CSOs from Africa who are working on the issues, with the European development and cooperation community, environmental and farmers’ groups as well as scientists, to exchange views and update on the state of affairs regarding the introduction of GM crops in Africa. We will share experiences, connect-the-dots and motivate action with civil society groups in Europe to put pressure on the EU and national governments for the right policy choices, in solidarity with Africa.

Speakers: Mariam Mayet, Bright Phiri (Malawi), Mamadou Goïta, Lim Li Ching, Bern Guri, Daniel Maingi (Kenya), Sabrina Nabifsa, Angelika Hilbeck, Bridget Mugambe

- Profiting from the climate crisis, undermining resilience in Africa: Gates and Monsanto’s Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) Project by Sabrina Nafisa, African Centre for Biodiversity
- Green Revolution push in Africa the occupation of the Guinea Savannah-where the GM push fits in by Mariam Mayet African Centre for Biodiversity
- The GMO Agenda MALAWI Civil Society Coalition by Commons for EcoJustice

Summary of the workshop: African agriculture under threat

Organized by: African Centre for Biodiversity, Third World Network, European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, Inter Pares, Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service

The Anti-GMO Movements in North and South America: A Call for Increased Global Cooperation and Solidarity

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 2 „Wilhelm Leuschner Saal“ (1.OG center)

This workshop will provide analysis of the current state of the movements in North and South America, with some updates on current movement priorities in the US, Canada, Mexico and South America. We will discuss potential strategic areas for collaboration between Europe and North and South America. What do our movements need to move forward and what tools and support can we offer each other?

Speakers: Ronnie CumminsErcilia SahoresLucy Sharratt

Organized by: Organic Consumers Association, Via Organica, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

National GMO bans – joint strategizing

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 1 „Brüder Grimm Saal“ (1.OG left)

Since 2nd April 2015, following four years of negotiations, national governments can now use new legal tools to keep GM crops away from their fields. The new EU Directive 2015/412 gives them ways to achieve that. EU Member States can ask the relevant GM company to exclude their territory from the scope of the EU authorisation of their crop. They can also take measures via the EU-Commission to ban individual GM crops or groups of GM crops from being grown in their territory. The workshop will focus on how EU Member States can best apply the provisions of the new Directive. NGO campaigners will offer their insights into strategies and their successes on this matter.  The workshop will also touch upon a more recent proposal by the European Commission that gives EU Member States the possibility of an “opt out” of EU authorisations for GM crops to be imported.

Speakers: Franziska AchterbergHeidemarie Porstner

How to establish GMO cultivation bans by Franziska Achterberg

Summary of the workshop: National GMO bans – joint strategizing

Organized by: Greenpeace EUGLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria

Presentations and lectures

"U Turn" is a film for campaigners, decision makers and consumers

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 2 „Wilhelm Leuschner Saal“ (1.OG center)

It is a success story that completes the circle of a 13 year campaign to end GMOs in food and feed. In 2005 Romania was growing only GMO soy, while the biotech industry had control over the country at all levels: politicians, scientific community and farmers associations. Some of them had been threatening GMO campaigners with violence. Today they have changed their minds in front of an increasing GMO-free market demand. The former country manager of Monsanto is today the country manager of Danube Soya, to promote sustained GMO-free soya bean cultivation in Europe. The movie is an uplifting sample of success for campaigners all over the world showing that the biotech industry can be defeated and the darkest minds can be shifted. If a whole country can get decontaminated and a Monsanto manager can be converted then positive change is possible.

By Gabriel Paun, Agent GreenDragos Dima

U TURN - a film for campaigners, decision makers and consumers

Austria as a GMO-free Zone - some remarks and lessons learned

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Saal“ (1.OG)

In 1997, NGOs initiated a referendum asking for “No GMO-releases”, “No GM-food” and “No patents on life”, which was signed by more than 21 % of the eligible voters of Austria – the strongest opposing referendum we ever had. As a result Austria banned all commercial uses of GM-seeds. When some years ago the EU started with the discussion on co-existence, all federal provinces made “genetic engineering precaution laws”. These laws have very stringent rules if it would come to a commercialization of GM-seeds; e.g. the legal provisions of Styria on co-existence require the prevention of any GM contamination in neighboring fields at a level of 0,1%. Today, Austria is in the front and center of GMO-free production: No GM-crops in use (even no scientific releases), nearly all milk-production is run GMO-free, most of the egg-production, and parts of the chicken-, pork- and beef-production is labeled GMO-free. Just some weeks ago a first draft of a law on opting-out of GMO cultivation was published. But still we have problems with GMO-contamination, and if somebody would think we have got real zero contamination, he would be quite wrong.

Austria as a GMO-free Zone - some remarks and lessons learned

By Josef Hoppichler, Federal Institute for Less Favoured and Mountainous Areas, methodics, Austria

Sources of contamination of honey with genetically modified material

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Saal“ (1.OG)

Since the foraging range of bees encompasses several kilometers, bees and bee products are uniquely susceptible to exposure from GMO crops. While there has been an extensive debate about what measures are necessary to facilitate the coexistence between different farming methods, the promises of coexistence, freedom of choice and zero-tolerance remain largely unfulfilled for beekeepers and their customers. The impacts of the GMO cultivation on the honey sector are is complex and depends on the properties of the GM crop in question and the target market for the bee products. So far, most of the discussion has revolved around the presence of GMO pollen from GMO crops. But there are several additional sources for GMO cultivation, which have been mostly overlooked. After GMO contamination was found in canola honey of a professional beekeeper in Germany, it was possible to trace the problem back to the commercially available pollen substitute used by the beekeeper. Many bekeepers have relied on the manufacturer’s false claim, that this product is GMO-free. In yet another case of contaminated honey found in Germany, the source is most likely not pollen or pollen substitue, but animal feed containing genetically modified material from soy and maize. This material was actively collected by bees confusing it with pollen. The discussion of GMO-contamination of honey needs to take not just pollen but also pollen substitute and animal feed into account.

Sources of contamination of honey with genetically modified material
Abstract: Sources of contamination of honey with genetically modified material

By Walter Haefeker, German Professional Beekeepers Association, Germany

Beyond GM – A Letter from America

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 3 „Heilige Elisabeth von Marburg Saal“ (1.OG right)

The GMO landscape is shifting quickly in the EU prompting an urgent need to reassess how we campaign. Are our efforts too fragmented? Can we/should we be more targeted in our messages? Can there be a pan-EU campaign given the differing levels of public support in various countries?  Should we be putting more energy into cultivating common friends rather than trying to 'hit & hurt' common 'enemies'? Beyond GM launched in autumn 2014 with a remit to revitalise campaigning in the UK and re-engage the public in an issue that affects our collective food futures. Our public -facing campaigns include the Letter from America an international citizen to citizen action, now translated into several European languages and the GM Free Me photo campaign. This session introduces the campaign to our friends in the rest of Europe and kick starts discussion on how we all might work more effectively together.

By Pat Thomas, Beyond GM

FUMIGACIONES: Glyphosate, the urgent need to protect health and the environment

At: Thuringia representation, Library „Bibliothek“ (5. OG)

Manual and aerial fumigation are a common practice in Argentina, the third exporter of transgenic soy in the world. There is no federal law that regulates this practice. Each State has its own regulations which are hardly ever enforced. Lawyers and activists have for years now resorted to using Argentina's National Constitution, article 1, for Federal Environmental Law N°25.675 and using the precautionary principle to try to defend communities affected by this practice. Fumigation poisons, and the cultivation of soy creates a toxic, green desert that has resulted in the death of agriculture, which I refer to as “Agrocidio.” Soy, corn, rice, eucalyptus and pine are fumigated with glyphosate in Argentina, and this practice is subsidized by the state.

By Graciela Cristina Vizcay Gomez, Lawyer, Argentina

Climate Smart Agriculture – grab bag or Pandora’s Box?

At: Thuringia representation, Vestibule „Küchenvorraum“ (1.OG)

A new Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture is claiming triple-wins’ in agriculture: mitigation, adaption and increased crop yield. Its heterogeneous members, from the US to the Niger, from the World Bank to the World Farmers Organisation, from Danone to Mosaic Company, including research institutes and NGOs, do not seem to have much more in common than the rather vague and shiny name of a still undefined concept. Without clear environmental or social criteria “climate smart agriculture” resembles an anything-goes list of agriculture practices, among those GMOs and agrochemicals re-labelled as “climate smart practices”. NGOs around the world are calling for a rejection of this new “corporate greenwash” and see the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture as another space for promoting agribusiness and industrial agriculture that will divert resources and attention from real climate solutions many of them already in practice on farmers’ fields.

By Tina Goethe, Bread for all, Switzerland and Daniel Maingi, Growth Partners Africa, Kenya

Dolly for dinner?! What is at stake in the recent discussions on "clone food"?

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Kleiner Saal“ (6. OG)

With EU legislation lagging behind realities, we cannot be sure if we are already unknowingly consuming food from the offspring of cloned animals. There is neither any traceability nor any labelling requirement, let alone a ban on such food. While it is clear for European consumers that we urgently need to fill this regulatory gap, the European Commission has presented a farcical proposal, denying any connection between the acknowledged animal welfare problems associated with cloning, and food derived from the descendants of clones. Important decisions will be taken this year, and while the European Parliament will stand firm in defending strict rules, it is the Council position that will tip the scales. So we urgently need the involvement of civil society and people power to show what citizens want!

- Clone food: Dolly for dinner?

By Corinna Zerger, Greens/EFA Group EP, Brussels

Organizing Against Non-State Actors: The Example of the Gates Foundation

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Kleiner Saal“ (6. OG)

Growing out of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, the Community Alliance for Global Justice has developed the “AGRA Watch” program which works in support of African civil society countering the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s questionable agricultural programs for that continent.  As one of the organizers, Phil describes the unique challenges in fighting the world’s most powerful non-state actor and home town icon. AGRAWatch hosted a working “food sovereignty summit” of US and African activist groups this past Autumn which increased the strength of this solidarity movement.  The first joint challenge has been to oppose the development of a GM Banana to counter Uganda’s so-called “nutritional needs.”

By Phil Bereano, University of Washington, USA

Building an Agro-Ecological Asia-Pacific from Hawaii to Bhutan: Stopping GMO Banana Biopiracy

At: Thuringia representation, Seminar room 2 (3.OG)

Asia, including India, has the largest number of people suffering from starvation, but despite that Asia and the Pacific are mega-biodiverse regions that are a target for bioprospecting and biopiracy, including of climate resilient varieties. The GMO banana was developed in Queensland and funded by Gates Foundation. It targeted regions in Uganda and India. It assumes a false reductionist solution for hunger and malnutrition based on biopiracy of indigenous traditional bananas from Melanesia and Micronesia. As Dr Vandana Shiva has said when the GMO banana project was listed as one of Time Magazine's 25 best inventions of 2014 'Biopiracy is not 'invention’. Theft is not a creative act.'  From Hawaii, the battle ground between GMOs vs biodiversity and indigenous cultures, to Bhutan – working to be the world's first certified organic country, we are building agro-ecological movements across the Asia-Pacific to safely feed and cool the planet.

By Adam Breasley, Our Seeds Our Future Initiative

22 Pacific Island Countries, a region free of GMO... regulation!

At: Thuringia representation, Library „Bibliothek“ (5. OG)

The regulation of economic and agricultural matters was transferred to the local authorities of New Caledonia; Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia from the previous control of France. French and European GMO regulations have not been extended to these territories. STOP OGM Pacifique recently obtained from the Caledonian governement a regulation that forbids the importation of GMO seeds for cereals and fruits, which cover the two main GMO contaminations : GM papaya seeds from Hawaii and Asia and GM wheat from Australia. Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu ... the 22 Pacific island states have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. But only Tonga has implemented biosafety regulations. There is a danger for small Pacific islands farming using traditional agriculture, but near to the biggest GMO laboratory of the world: Hawaii. Those territories are under threat and face a ambivalent situation : in one hand a traditional agriculture, a strong cultural and spiritual attachment to the soil, and on the other hand a huge pressure due to increasing importation of seeds and foods without any control...

Related document: GMO Papaya: Where will the contamination lead us?

By Frédéric Guérin, STOP OGM Pacifique, New Caledonia

Canada: Impacts and Lessons from 20 Years of GMOs

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 1 „Brüder Grimm Saal“ (1.OG left)

After 20 years, we can share the impacts of GMOs in Canada: on our environment, democracy and on farmer livelihoods. Some predicted risks have become a reality and some have not yet unfolded. Democracy in Canada has been compromised to protect the biotech industry for two decades - is this a required condition for GM farming? Canada is lobbying for GM-friendly policies in Europe but GM is not a success story in Canada. Together, we will discuss Canada's global agenda to push GM and what affect this has on resistance in Europe.

GM Canola Contamination in Canada (Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, April 23, 2015)
Joint media release for Europe: GMO contamination risk is too high, say groups from Canada, Australia and Japan

By Lucy Sharratt and Taarini Chopra, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

GMO-Free in Australia, New Zealand and the Western Pacific

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 3 „Heilige Elisabeth von Marburg Saal“ (1.OG right)

Australia has been an important focus for GMO companies, as they are one of the few countries, apart from Canada and US, which exports canola/oilseed-rape. Our non-GMO exports are seen as a threat, which is why Monsanto bought 26% of our publicly-owned crop research body, InterGrain. Although GM canola/oilseed-rape is now grown commercially in 3 states, the harvest is segregated, with non-GM canola attracting a premium and GM canola remaining a small percentage of the total crop. Jessica Harrison, Co-ordinator of the GM-Free Australia Alliance, will describe the situation in her region, including the declaration of 2 GMO-free states, GM wheat and barley "trials", biopiracy and the GM banana "trial" in the tropical north. Organic farmer Steve Marsh taking his GMO-growing neighbour to court for contamination of his farm is still a hot topic in the media, as his appeal is ongoing.

Joint media release for Europe: GMO contamination risk is too high, say groups from Canada, Australia and Japan

By Jessica Harrison, GM-Free Australia Alliance, Australia

The Consumer Led Anti-GMO Movement in Japan 

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 1 „Brüder Grimm Saal“ (1.OG left)

Japan’s anti-GMO movement has been led by consumers with a strong support of food producers. An example among many includes the long established history of direct marketing by consumers’ cooperatives; Soybeans trust project; and Rice-field trust movement. We have been working on the GMO-Free Zone movement since 2005. Its area is expanding every year. GM crops have never been cultivated commercially in Japan so far. This is not to say that there have been no challenges in the face the GM threat. For example, in the millions of tons of imported GM canola seeds from Canada, some have inescapably spilled into the distribution process and have grown wild, thus threatening biodiversity in various regions in Japan. While our periodic investigations with hundreds of voluntary citizens since 2005 have successfully put pressure on the authorities responsible to take the necessary measures, this process has been too slow to eradicate the problem entirely. In addition, the issue around inadequate labelling regulation which does not give consumers the right to choose/avoid will be discussed.

Japan’s Free Zone Movement by Sachiko Maki
The Seikatsu Club’s Investigation on Wild-growing GM Canola by Tsuneko Kimura

Japan: A Decade of Endless Struggle Against GMO Contamination (NO! GMO Campaign in Japan 2015 Spring)
Joint media release for Europe: GMO contamination risk is too high, say groups from Canada, Australia and Japan

By NO! GMO Campaign in Japan

GMO-free Norway – How do we keep it like that? The need for strong national and international alliances to fight threats from trade agreements as WTO/TTIP

At: Thuringia representation, Seminar room 2 (3.OG)

The Norwegian Gene Technology Act demands that any GMO should contribute to sustainable development and benefit to the community before approval. These requirements come in addition to the demand of no risk of adverse effects on health or to the environment. Today no GMOs are permitted for import or growing in Norway. This restrictive policy has support from all stakeholders and NGO’s as well as political parties. Despite Norwegian consensus, the policy is at risk due to to trade agreements (EEA/WTO/TTIP). Network for GMO-free food and feed in Norway coordinates the work on behalf of 16 farm-, environmental- and consumer-organizations.  Our objective is a sustainable food production and to secure consumers and farmers’ the right to choose GMO-free alternatives. Our strategy is to build strong alliances nationally and internationally to secure food sovereignty for all nations, including the right to reject GMO. 

Norway: GMO-free today. How to keep it that way?

By Aina Bartmann, Nettverk for GMO-fri mat og fôr., Norway

Experiences with GMO since 1996 in UK

At Thuringia representation, Antique parlor „Thüringenstube“

I have been campaigning on GMOs since 1996, since before Monsanto' GM soya arrived in Europe. In the first week in December 1996 GM soy came to UK. Many groups and Co's in UK were worried and I was asked by them to get news from the Internet, which started me doing what I now do today. I helped to form the Genetic Engineering Network, which became the main activist network in the UK. My job was to locate the trial sites and let people know what was happening. One of my main concerns, at that time,was that I had a hundred GM Apple growing trees a couple of miles from were I live. I wrote to the Ag/College were they were and asked for their removal. A couple of months later the trees were destroyed and I was accused of it(£100,000) of criminal damage. I them became totally involved and negotiated the six figure grid references of all the 300 plus test sites and passed it out to whomever wanted it.

By Jim Mc Nulty, Co-Founder of Genetic Engineering Network, UK

The Dawn of Common Culture: Permopoly

At: Thuringia representation, Library „Bibliothek“ (5. OG)

Is a family style board game that transmits novel and actual scenarios of human community and cradle to cradle ecologically supportive technology which contrast mega economic projects such as ProSAVANA Mozambique.  Permopoly stimulates lay persons recognition of logical consequences in child rearing, business management, and economic development. Permopoly  rejuvenates Arican Pride with Indian Ingenuity, and aims to attain gain in the eyes of WTO and Co  without GMO. Unlike Monopoly, Permopoly is a game of distribution, and inference. Depending on the intelligence of persons playing….the « winner «  has either the most currency (which is directly based on Biodiversity) or has most correctly inferred the qualities common to the communities that he/she advise.  To this end, I am in need of detailed background information of the chosen communities. Proceeds of the game should go to those communities in most need…they will be listed on my table.

Permopoly Underlines & Undermines legal Principles of Precedence

Designed by: Alice Güntert, Matchmaker for Sacred Solutions: Permaculture Commodity Production, Switzerland

Workshop session II in the afternoon

Emerging applications: GM trees, stacks and ‘Clearfield' crops

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Saal“ (1.OG)

This workshop will offer an overview over emerging new GM products already released or tested in various global regions. Their current state of development and application will be reported and their associated risks explained as well as their regulatory challenges discussed. The goal is to provide scientific support to countries and civil societies that deal with these new products and biosafety issues.

Speakers: Eric MeunierAngelika HilbeckRicarda Steinbrecher, Christoph Then

- Transgenic Trees by Ricarda A. Steinbrecher
New challenges: Synthetic genome technologies by Christoph Then

Summary of the workshop: Emerging applications: GM trees, stacks and ‘Clearfield' crops

Organized by: European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER)

Zero tolerance for GM contamination in food, feed and seed: Linking global struggles towards a common strategy

At: Thuringia representation, Plenary hall „Kleiner Saal“ (6. OG)

Many countries have "zero tolerance" towards unapproved GMOs. However, such national policies are constantly challenged by biotech companies that lobby for acceptance of GM contamination ("low level presence") in food, feed and seed. Should contamination with unapproved GMOs be allowed, this would circumvent every country's right to subject GMOs to prior informed consent and risk assessment. The workshop will define key elements towards a common strategy to maintain zero tolerance, by assessing the current international situation and highlighting how some countries are also contributing to the strategy of the biotech industry to drop such policies worldwide.

Related documents:

SpeakersLim Li ChingLucy SharrattHeike MoldenhauerAlejandro GilPhilip L. Bereano

- Zero tolerance and LLP in food and feed in Europe by Heike Moldenhauer, FoE Germany
- Zero tolerance for GM contamination in food, feed and seed: LiNking global struggles towards a common strategy by Lim Li Ching, Third World Network
- EU ‘Zero Tolerance’ in seeds by IFOAM
- LLP presentation by CBAN

Summary of the workshop: Zero tolerance for GM contamination in food, feed and seed

Organized byIFOAM EU

What happens to Bioeconomy?

At: Thuringia representation, Seminar room 2 (3.OG)

Bioeconomy is concept, narrative and agenda of the transition to a sustainable economy on the basis of renewable bio-based resources. Huge programmes have been set up by European institutions and EU-governments; calls are open, e.g. as part of Horizon 2020 - "the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020)". These projects however will lead to more biotech in food, feed and fibre production and processing. Since access to policy makers has been limited for civil society organisations bioeconomy is and will be under the control of the industry. The aim of the workshop is to summarise and discuss the latest developments and to strategise for future engagements of civil society organisations - depending largely on workshop participants. The session will be opened with short inputs.

- Biotechnology goes Bioeconomy by Steffi Ober

Facilitators: Steffi Ober, Federation of German Scientists and Christof Potthof, Gen-ethical Network & GENET

TTIP and what is at stake for European GMO rules?

At: Hesse representation, Seminar room 3 „Heilige Elisabeth von Marburg Saal“ (1.OG right)

European officials have attempted to convince us that nothing would change for EU GMO rules or market realities. However US diplomats have identified better market access for GMO products as the main aim for the trade talks and identify the EU GMO rules as a trade barrier. This workshop will focus on what is at stake for existing GM rules, what we should expect from TTIP and what can we learn from the EU-Canada deal. In addition, this workshop will focus on the exchange of strategies and how to block attempts to bypass and undermine key GMO requirements. With inputs from NGOs and food experts.

Speakers: Mute SchimpfNina HollandPat Thomas

Organized by: Friends of the Earth Europe