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Dec 3, 2010

Final Conclusions - Pontifical Academy of Sciences Conference on GE Crops & the Developing World

On 1 December 2010, scientists that convened at a May 2009 conference sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to study Gene-Engineered Crops and the Developing World issued a final concluding statement.  This statement was not approved by the governing body of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, its membership of 80 academic members and is not the official position of the Vatican. 

The final conference statement included the following:

"We reaffirm the principal conclusions of the Study-Document on the Use of ‘“Genetically Modified Food Plants” to Combat Hunger in the World’, issued at the end of the Jubilee Plenary Session on ‘Science and the Future of Mankind’, 10-13 November 2000. Summarised and updated, these include:

1. More than 1 billion of the world population of 6.8 billion people are currently undernourished, a condition that urgently requires the development of new agricultural systems and technologies.

2. The expected addition of 2-2.5 billion people to reach a total of approximately 9 billion people by 2050 adds urgency to this problem.

3. The predicted consequences of climate change and associated decreases in the availability of water for agriculture will also affect our ability to feed the increased world population.

4. Agriculture as currently practised is unsustainable, evidenced by the massive loss of topsoil and unacceptably high applications of pesticides throughout most of the world.

5. The appropriate application of GE and other modern molecular techniques in agriculture is contributing toward addressing some of these challenges.

6. There is nothing intrinsic about the use of GE technologies for crop improvement that would cause the plants themselves or the resulting food products to be unsafe.

7. The scientific community should be responsible for research and development (R&D) leading to advances in agricultural productivity, and should also endeavour to see that the benefits associated with such advances accrue to the benefit of the poor as well as to those in developed countries who currently enjoy relatively high standards of living.

8. Special efforts should be made to provide poor farmers in the developing world with access to improved GE crop varieties adapted to their local conditions.

9. Research to develop such improved crops should pay particular attention to local needs and crop varieties and to the capacity of each country to adapt its traditions, social heritage and administrative practices to achieve the successful introduction of GE crops.
For related blogs see: Pontifical Academy of Sciences Hosts Conference on GE Crops and the Developing World,  1 June 2009.

For more see: 
"Vatican scientists see “moral imperative” in GMO," GMO Compass, 3 December 2010.
Callaway, Ewen.  "GM crops gets blessing of Pontifical Academy of Science members," Nature (The Great Beyond - Breaking News), 1 December 2010.

Glatz, Carol.  "Vatican has not endorsed genetically modified food, official says," Catholic News Service, 1 December 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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