Genemodification and the Third World

April 2, 2002

“We do not want to put limits on technology”. In the U.N.D.P.’s Human Development 2001, a clear position has been adopted in favor of GMO. Counter-reactions emerged immediately: Of course there’s enough food, it’s merely a problem of distributing it! What are the facts and what are the attitudes?

From 2002 to 2003, The Danish Board of Technology facilitated an assessment of the pros and cons of using genetically modified crops to fight poverty and hunger in the third world. The assessment was made by an interdisciplinary working group, appointed by The Danich Board of Technology, with the objective of considering if, and how, genetically modified crops should be an integrated part of the official, Danish development policy. Three workshops has provided input to the final assesment. On these workshops, selected speakers were invited to inform the working group on different issues. A few additional experts were invited to provide additional knowledge to the work group and take part in the discussions.

The first workshop assessed the technological and environmental possibilities and risks regarding already existing biotechnologies.

The second workshop addressed social, economical, ethical and cultural issues. It aimed to assess the implications and desirability of using GMO in third world farming structures.

The final workshop discussed the compatibility of genetically modified food with the overall aims of Danish development policy in relation to using participatory methods, fighting poverty, the precautionary principle etc.

A journalist covered all meetings and workshops and made a final report that summarized the principal discussions and conclusions. A English summary of the Danish report is available for download in the sidebar.

Members of the interdisciplinary task force appointed by The Danish Board of Technology:
Christian Friis Bach, Associate Professor, Unit of Economics, Royal Danish Agricultural University
Esbern Friis-Hansen, Senior researcher, Unit of People, Society and Nature, Danish Centre for Development Research
Hans Hessel-Andersen, Chief Environmental Advisor, Technical Advisory Service, DANIDA
Jørn Olesen, Agricultural Advisor, Technical Advisory Service, DANIDA
Kim Carstensen, Secretary General, WWF-Denmark, and Board Member of DANIDA
Kirsten Brandt, Senior Scientist, Department of Horticulture, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences