National research projects

Finnish research on co-existence and traceability

In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry published a report on co-existence measures in Finland. The final report is written in Finnish and can be found here. This report contains information on:

  • Agronomical measures enabling co-existence;
  • Regional measures which should be applied to crop species and types of production applicable for the Finnish conditions (for region, climate conditions, soil, topography, crop rotation and farm structures);
  • Administrative decisions and changes in the legislation which may be needed as well as new control and inspection systems to be introduced;
  • Juridical and economical studies and recommendations for the outlines of legislative measures necessary for organising co-existence practices in Finland.

The main propositions in this report are as follows:

  • Commission guidelines for co-existence are broadly followed in the proposed measures.
  • Detailed rules will be given in lower level statutes (usually issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry). These statutes will be formulated specifically for each species and given out species by species, in order of urgency.
  • In the Final Report Finland also proposes that in special cases (e.g. seed production) GM production can be exceptionally restricted in certain areas important for its seed production, provided the seed purity required by EU legislation for different production types cannot be achieved by other means.

The interim report is in English and contains most of the above information, see here.

Furthermore, two studies were conducted for the preparation of this report: see study 1 (in Finnish), see study 2 (in english)

In addition to the report mentioned above, the Advisory Board for Biotechnology published a memo on co-existence (see here). The memo is advisory in nature.

The Academy of Finland, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Ministry of the Environment have funded the research programme ESGEMO. It was launched in 2004 and ran until 2007. The programme aimed at examining the environmental, societal, and health impacts of GMOs. In 2008 the programme has been evaluated. According to an international evaluation committee, ESGEMO “has contributed to strengthening the pool of Finnish researchers and experts in the field and to increasing Finnish scientific knowledge and know-how of GMOs and their effects” (see here). The full evaluation report can be downloaded here.

As part of the ESGEMO programme, several research projects on co-existence have been conducted. The goals of the project “GMOs and genetic pollution” were to create new knowledge on the risk of gene flow from GMOs under boreal conditions, develop new molecular tools for assessing that gene flow and construct recommendations for minimising it. For more information and a list of resulting publications, see here.

Another project analysed institutional, economic and social factors relevant in the context of introducing GMO products to the Finnish agriculture and food chain. The focus was on the co-existence of different production alternatives (GMO, organic and conventional production).

Regional Co-extra reporter /rapporteur:

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