3rd European Conference Bruxelles 19.–20. April 2007

GMO Free Regions

Biodiversity and Rural Development

GMO-free regions on

the increase in Europe

Bruxelles 19th April 2007

300 representatives of GMO-free regions across Europe have gathered in the European Parliament in

Brussels today for the 3rd International Conference on GMO-Free Regions, Biodiversity and Rural

Development. The conference celebrates the growth in the GMO-free movement, with the number of

GMO-free regions in Europe increasing from 174 to 236 over the past year and from around 3000 to

over 4200 municipalities and communities. "The GMO-free movement in Europe is going from

strength to strength. There are tens of thousands of farmers within the EU who have committed to

exclude GMOs on their land. We expect more regions and farmers to follow suit," said Gerald

Lonauer of the Network of GMO-free regional governments.

By standing up to the Commission, GMO-free regions have helped prevent an enforced spread in the

use of GMOs in EU agriculture. National bans on the insect-killing Mon810, the only GM-maize still

available and approved for commercial cultivation in the EU, have been supported by 2/3s of Member

States in Council. "We welcome the announcement today by Bulgaria to ban Mon810 and are

confident there will be more to come," said MEP Monica Frassoni, co-president of the Green Group,

who hosts the conference in the Parliament.

"Despite numerous environmental alarm bells, agricultural biodiversity in Europe is seriously under

threat, both from agricultural chemicals and the decline of seed pools, presided over by the seed

industry. Declining biodiversity, over-specialisation and the over -exploitation of natural resources

could destroy European agriculture if left unchecked," said Benedikt Haerlin of GENET and

Foundation on Future Farming, who co -organised the conference.

The seed industry has worked tirelessly to try and prevent free seed exchange, farm-saved seeds and

regional innovation and preservation to the detriment of European agriculture. Its efforts served in part

to prevent European legislation to protect and pr omote regional and traditional as well as so-called

'amateur' seed varieties. "Eight years after the Council and the Parliament have adopted measures to

support regional and farmers seed development, we expect the European Commission to finally

implement these measures to prevent further declines in agricultural biodiversity in Europe," said

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf , Vice President of the EP Agricultural Committee.

Contact in Brussels:

Benedikt Haerlin (GENET / FFF) +49 173 999 7 555 and Helmut Weixler (Greens) 0475 6713 40

More information: www.gmo-free-regions.org

Conference Secretariat

Foundation on Future Farming


D-10117 Berlin, Germany

phone +49 (0) 30 27590 309

fax +49 (0) 30 27590312