8th Roundtable with environmental and health non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and advocacy groups
EFSA and NGOs discuss GMO and environment
Key aspects in EFSA’s current environmental risk assessment work, legal elements in the area of new plant breeding techniques, and EFSA’s work on genetically engineered plants used for food and feed topped the agenda of a meeting in Brussels on 21 June between EFSA and environmental/health non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and advocacy groups.
The participants discussed EFSA’s new, flexible and targeted way to engage with stakeholders and provided clear feedback for fine-tuning the approach.
EFSA scientists and NGO representatives then discussed the latest developments in environmental risk assessment at EFSA, specifically deriving specific protection goals for biodiversity, endangered species as potential non-target organisms, and the temporal/spatial recovery of non-target organisms.
The second half of the meeting focussed on GMOs as EFSA answered specific technical questions requested by the European Commission. NGO representatives gave presentations on several topics, including gene drive technologies, the impact of GMOs on biodiversity and possible improvements to EFSA’s approach for food and feed risk assessment of GMOs. They highlighted their concerns linked to the use of techniques and suggested ways to improve the risk assessment process. In particular, they called for transparency and early stakeholder involvement because of the potential impact these techniques may have on biodiversity.
The regular Roundtable meetings – this was the eighth in the series – provide NGOs with a dedicated forum to exchange views on scientific aspects of the Authority’s work. EFSA relies on the active involvement of participants, who are invited to give presentations or offer their views about topics on the agenda.