The main purpose of The Norwegian Gene Technology Act (1993) is to enforce containment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and control of GMO releases. Furthermore, the Act intends to ensure that "production and use of GMOs should take place in an ethically and socially justifiable way, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development and without detrimental effects to health and the environment." Hence it is obvious that, for the Norwegian authorities, sustainable development is a normative guideline when evaluating acceptable consequences of GMO use and production. In accordance with this, we have investigated the extent to which the sustainability criteria were decisive for the destiny of one approved and one declined application of genetically modified plant release. The present understanding of the ecological, socio-economical, and cultural consequences of GMO use and release is fragmentary and uncertain. We consider the Precautionary Principle and the notion of equitable distribution as key issues within the sustainable development framework, hence constituting important foundations for our analyses. The Act is legitimizing sustainability criteria, but does not seem to secure their conversion into concrete action. We envisage a more conscious implementation of the Norwegian Gene Technology Act. Sustainability concerns ecological, economical, and social values, and these can only be ensured through long-term thinking, initiation of independent risk-associated research, and broad involvement of all stakeholders in the evaluation of GMO issues and concerns.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||Department of Microbiology and Virology, University of Tromso, Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, N-9037 Tromso, Norway. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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