Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI
Sustainable introduction of GMOs into European Agriculture (SIGMEA)
Being part of a large consortium of a STREP within the 6 th European framework programme of research and development, Fraunhofer ISI collaborates with the Sheffield University Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics (SIBLE), UK, on social, legal and liability issues related to GMOs in agriculture (work package 6 of the project).
EU Directive 2001/18 introduced two main novelties in the assessment of GMOs for agriculture: addressing systemic effects on biodiversity and providing post-marketing monitoring plans. SIGMEA will provide both a framework as well as a toolbox for supporting these new aspects of GM regulation.
The main objectives of the work package are (1) to determine socio-economic and environmental impacts coming from the adoption or not of GM crops by the farmers and (2) to analyze the current regulatory regimes in the EU and its Member States, their implementation as well as the interest and practice of insurance and re-insurance companies related to liability issues on the release of GMOs which result in damage to persons, property or the environment.
A clear distinction will be made between environmental damages and economical damages related to co-existence issues. Mathematical models will be designed in order to assess, for regional case studies,
- the rate of adoption by farmers growing crops (e.g. insect-resistant maize or herbicide tolerant oil seed rape),
- economic impacts in terms of farm income,
- environmental impacts in terms of variation in use of agrochemicals, and
- social impact in terms of variation in employment.
Furthermore we will analyse border related liability issues. As final output a proposal for a liability regime in the EU will be delivered.
Fraunhofer ISI is specifically involved in the analysis of the practical handling of these regimes. This will compare the varying legal regimes including the day to day operation of the systems, and identify and discuss convergent aspects and divergent aspects of the various regulatory regimes across Europe.
The analysis of border related liability issues with GMOs will be based on this comparison of the legal systems. It will review the resolution of cross-border disputes not only between Member States themselves, but also between Member States and non-Member States and between Countries outside the EU, especially the EU and Switzerland.
Case studies on liability and potential damage related to contamination with genetically modified material will supplement the analyses. They will be used to highlight different scenarios covering the key issues and areas of interest relevant to liability & redress and potential damage related to contamination by GMOs, and thus inform the development of suggestions concerning the formation of a regulatory regime on liability related to GMOs in the EU.
A final stakeholder workshop will be carried out to present the results and discuss them with representatives of insurance and re-insurance companies, farmers unions, biotech companies, administrative bodies and other scientists.
Finished (05/2004 – 05/2007)
European Commission, Research DG
Sheffield University Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics (SIBLE), UK (http://www.shef.ac.uk/%7Esible/)