Stay updated on the latest developments in plant science policy and EPSO activities!
EU health Commissioner Andriukaitis stated in his interview with EURACTIV on 27.3.2019 (link) “From my point of view, we need a new legal regulatory framework for these new techniques,”, adding that it should be dealt with by the new European Commission after the EU elections in May. He added “We are currently analysing the ruling and discussing with member states its implementation”. Further on in the interview he insisted that Europe should listen to science, otherwise “it has no chance to have sustainable agriculture and preserve biodiversity”.
EPSO welcomes this statement and call for action by Commissioner Andriukaitis and repeats its offer to collaborate with policy makers to develop an appropriate future-ready regulation to enable the European public sector, small- and medium-sized companies and farmers to contribute more comprehensively to food and nutritional security and to use all available tools to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. Notwithstanding the technical option retained, EPSO supports a science-based revision of the present European legislation establishing a more proportionate product-based risk assessment. EPSO is also willing to contribute to the societal debate on genome editing and to communicate in a fact-based and yet accessible manner about innovative plant science and its societal role.
EPSO publishes its statement to the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on organisms obtained by mutagenesis (case C-528/16) stating that the ruling disregards scientific evidence.
Genome editing is not the only answer to current challenges of agriculture and society, but it represents an important tool for harnessing plant science knowledge toward a future-ready agriculture, for allowing Europe to play a leading role in innovative plant science, and to contribute to the bioeconomy by boosting the performance of underutilised plant species and biological resources. In the drive to achieve sustainable development goals, no useful tool should be neglected. EPSO supports a science-based change to the present European legislation and proposes to establish a legislation adapted to future technological developments by increasing emphasis on product-based risk assessment. Meanwhile, further tangible commitment is needed to support, inform and communicate about innovative plant science and its societal role.
Following the European Court of Justice ruling, that plants obtained by recent techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing mutagenesis are regulated as GMO, the VIB statement addresses the huge problems Europe will face in plant breeding in the future. EPSO anticipates the same problems as depicted in the statement, which is in line with our first reaction, and will publish a full statement in November.
European Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap 2018 published, identifying 8 projects with ESFRI Landmark status and 6 new projects entering the roadmap.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2018 setting out actions to achieve the goal by 2030 and confirming a rise in world hunger: the number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years, returning to levels from almost a decade ago. Multiple forms of malnutrition are evident in many countries: adult obesity is growing even as forms of undernutrition persist. Climate variability and extremes are key drivers behind this rise, together with conflict and economic downturns.