With its new GE free Newsletter GENET will inform about the wordwide increasing activities of citizen groups that call for GE free zones and try to convince their municipalities, governments or private companies to ensure a GE free status of a distinct region or certain commodities.
The aim of this grassroot movement is not to work as an isolated group but to establish a worldwide network of like-minded organizations and to steadily increase and connect GE free zones.
EU AND ITS MEMBER STATES
The recently adopted revised EU regulation 90/220 on deliberate release does not contain direct provisions to enable Member States to declare GE free zones. A respective amendment introduced by the Parliament to give national authorities the unqualified power to take action to protect environmentally sensitive areas was lost.
The safeguard clause on health and environmental protection derived from the EU Treaty, known in the existing 90/220 as Article 16, still exists as a mechanism for national protection but is intended to be only a short-term measure pending arbitration at EU level. In practice this Article has been invoked so far by six member states without any enforcement measures being taken by the Commission to repeal the bans.
Italy: The four regions Tuscany, Molise, Lazio and Marche and around 25 provinces, cities and communes banned GE crops, including Rome, Milan, Turin, Brescia and Genoa. These are all democratically-taken decisions in local or regional councils and in the case of Tuscany, the result has been ratified by the national government - the decision means that regional governments have been given the authority under Italian law to overturn decisions taken at EU level.
Austria: Bans on three GE maize (Novartis, Monsanto and AgrEvo), the Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas is pressing for GM free legislation and published a study on GE-free zones, initiatives in the States of Vorarlberg and Salzburg to ban GE trials.
France: ban of PGS and AgrEvo HR rapeseed
Germany: Ban of Novartis Bt maize. The initiative "No GE on communal land" of BUND (Friends of the Earth Germany) launched activities in several German communities to discuss and vote on the GE-free resolutions.
Applications are launched in: Bad Vilbel, Blauenstein, Lahr, Konstanz, Hannover, Hamburg. Application are accepted in: M¸nchen, Reutlingen, Freidrichsdorf, Blomberg, Seligenstadt, Niddatal, Maintal, Riedstadt, Adendorf, Schwebheim, Pinneberg, Schwabach, Langenhagen, Wyhe, Burgdorf, Neetze, District Traunstein.
Several protestant regional church organisations: banned GE crops from their land: Hannover, Hessen und Nassau, Sachsen, Protestantic Church of Westfalen, Protestantic Church in
Berlin-Brandenburg, Church Province of Sachsen.
Luxembourg: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.
Portugal: Ban of Novartis Bt maize.
Greece: Ban of AgrEvo HR rapeseed, moratorium of GE crop trials.
Spain: The Basque Government went for a five year blanket moratorium for GMOs. The Basque Government claims full powers for agricultural policy and thus that they can provisionally ban GMOs if they so wish. The three provinces of Castilla-La Mancha and Baleares banned GE food, AndalucÃŒa declared a five year moratorium on GE crop trials and GE food.
UK: The Church of England has refused permission for GE crop trials on 60,000 hectares of its land, dozens of local authorities supply GE free school lunches, the House of Commons banned GE foods for its catering. The vote of the Welsh Assembly to keep Wales GE free was counteracted by the ministry of Agriculture approving a GE maize variety. The Island of Jersey
banned GE crops.
Switzerland: Although a center of GE science and industry, only two trials with GE potatoes in 1991/92 have been performed until now.
Norway: Banned the import of several GE crops and products which contain antibiotic resistance genes.
Australia: The State of Tasmania banned GE rapeseed as weed, Western Australia has banned commercial GE planting. Australian States are given the right to declare themselves GE free. Some communities (e.g. Bondi/Sydney, West Wimmera Shire) declared themselves GE free.
New Zealand: Some local bodies in Auckland and Wellington have declared themselves GM free. Trials with GE salmon have been blocked by the government.
Thailand: Banned imports of 40 GE crops for commercial planting, but not for research purposes.
Philippines: The community of Valencia called for a five-year moratoria on GE food and GE crop trials and commercialization. The Philippine president announced a moratorium on GE crop research.
Saudi Arabia: Banned food that are made from GMOs and declared not to import GE wheat.
Egypt: Declared not to import GE wheat.
Algeria: Banned the import, distribution, commercialisation and utilization of GE plants except for research purposes.
Brazil: Planting GE seeds is prohibited by federal law in Brazil for the time being, the States of Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso do Sul have declared their intentions to remain GM-free, 18 States called upon the Central government to block commercial GE crop planting.
Paraguay: The Ministry of Agriculture plans to ban GE crops from commercial planting.
USA: Various bills calling for moratoria on GE food (Vermont), bans of GE wheat (North Dakota, Montana) have been filed within the last year.Several municipalities declared moratoria on GE food (Burlington/Vermont), bans of GE crops (City of Boulder/Colorado), or urged the federal government to ban GE food (City and County of San Francisco/California). Many attempts to adopt such bills or resolutions failed in the past.
GENET will update the situation in the USA in a subsequent GE-free Newsletter.
[N.B.: At this point nearly 20 states (the count was 16 6 months ago) are discussing GMO-related legislation, including moratorium bills in New York, Massachusetts and several others.]