The Swiss GMO-Free Alliance welcomes you to an exclusive scientific symposium on the 10th of November 2016 on the topic of genetic engineering and agriculture. Our goal is to initiate an in-depth discussion about the risks of genetic engineering and to disprove the notion that there is a scientific consensus on the harmlessness and usefulness of GMOs. The symposium is intended for policy makers, scientists, Swiss government representatives, decision-makers in NGOs in this field, interested students and the media. For an overview of the programme scroll down, and for more insights click here.
Introductory speech: Why “Bioengineering” is really Biohacking.
- Dr. Steven M. Druker, founder of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity, author of the book «Altered Genes, Twisted Truth», USA.
Session 1: Knowledge gaps in the risk assessment of GMOs
Speakers session 1:
- Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Institute of Integrative Biology IBZ, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland.
- Dr. Judy Carman, Epidemiologist and Biochemist, South Australia.
- Prof. Dr. Patrick Matthias, Senior Group Leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Switzerland.
- Prof. Jack Heinemann, Lecturer in Genetics at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Panel discussion session 1:
The European Food Safety Authority is often decried for the conflicts of interests of their experts. Studies on health and environmental risks are conducted by companies that commercialise GMOs and data are often confidential. Independent researchers often have no access to basic material for carrying out their research because patent holders block access. The scientific community is divided in terms of the harm GMOs cause to the environment and health. Some scientists praise total deregulation while others call for the precautionary principle. During the morning session, we will try to obtain a clear view and several themes will be addressed in connection with the precautionary principle, and with the health and environmental assessment.
Session 2: Which innovation for which agriculture? Transforming the agrofood production system and the research agenda.
Speakers session 2:
- Dr. David Gee, former member of the European Environment Agency (EEA), UK.
- Dr. Les Levidow, The Open University, UK.
- Prof. Michel Pimbert, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University, UK.
- Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren, President and CEO of the Millennium Institute, founder of Biovision, Switzerland.
Panel discussion session 2:
Industrial and intensive agriculture has significant effects not only on ecosystems, but also on health. It is neither environmentally nor socially sustainable. GMOs are involved in this model. According to the latest «International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development» (IAASTD, 2009), a paradigm shift in agriculture is urgent and necessary. During this session, the focus of the debate will be on solutions available for the agriculture of the future. More specifically, the themes of innovation in agriculture and social issues related to the adoption of new technologies will be addressed. Agroecology is presented as a solution, because it is a great success wherever it is implemented in the world. Is this an applicable model for Switzerland? The specialists will discuss this issue.