b'WHY IS THIS NECESSARY?The EU misses out on a tool with a great potential There is vast scientific consensus that novel breeding techniques (NBTs) rep-resent one pathway towards a sustaina-ble, wholesome agriculture. NBTs help us face challenges like population growth and climate change. How?by breeding climate-resilient crops with higher yields.by reducing the use of pesticides,resources and land, by generating crops which are resilient to environmen-tal stress. by better land use and reducing the need to transform forests and other ecosystems into agricultural land, pro-our proposal, or even some concepts, asin this procedure, so obtaining enoughtecting biodiversity and sequestering our focus is only on mutagenesis basedsignatures will not mark the end of themore CO2.by providing safer and more nutritious NPBTs. Nevertheless, we believe thatinitiative, but more the start to the next they welcome our main goal to promote alevel and we will continue to make ourfood, e.g. by improving resistance to fact-based debate. voice heard for this crucial cause, Schtzfungal infections, toxin contaminations WiththeirEuropeanCitizenssays. And eventually, we hope that ourare decreased, or by reducing the Initiative, they want to involve the gen- proposal is accepted. It may pave thegluten content in wheat, making it more eral public and bring yet another, strongway for a less cumbersome authorisationaccessible to a larger population. voice to the debate to add another layerprocedure, which would be replaced byHowever, all these benefits are unlikely to the discussion. Only by inviting insteada notification procedure only for thoseto be exploited on EU grounds as the of excluding citizens in the fact-basedtechniques which are mutagenesis-based,legal regime is extremely strict and lim-debate, Grow Scientific Progress maythe products of which bear no foreigniting, resulting in an implicit ban of these bring the issue to the political agenda ofgenetic material and hold only changestechniques. the EU institutions, who will eventuallywhich may have occurred naturally. Disproportionate burden and have the ultimate power to decide. Andlack of enforceabilitywith citizens in their back, they hope thatHOW CAN PEOPLE HELP?The current law places a disproportion-changes may eventually be effectuated.Grow Scientific Progress is a young,ate burden on NBTseven those which But of course, it should be stressedsmall, independent, student-led initiative,lead to the same products that could here that our initiative marks just a firstand as such, they are aware they can onlyhave been made with conventional tech-step in the update of the whole legislation,do so much. But they have a strong willniques. For this reason, these very strict and we are convinced that the only the col- and a clear vision: To stop the implicitlaws cannot be enforced at the moment. laboration and joint efforts of similar move- bans which have been imposed on theAccording to many scientists, it simply ments can effectively lead to the changesinvaluable tools of NBTs in the EU for acannot be determined whether the muta-we need so direly, says Helmlinger. better agricultural future in the EU.tion has occurred spontaneously or in an And we depend on anyone whoinduced manner. This means that there GATHERING VOICES. shares this vision to sign our initiative andis vast regulatory uncertainty, especially AND SIGNATURES spread the word, states Helmlinger. Onewith regards to imports and to labelling If Grow Scientific Progress managesmillion signatures will not collect them- of products obtained from mutagenesis to gain enough supporters, they willselves, so any input, any sharing, any pro- techniques. European farmers will have submit the initiative to the Commissionmotion is highly appreciated! Also, we area disadvantage on the global and EU who will then organize a public hearing.still expanding and looking for motivatedmarket, as more competitive crops from Within three months after submission,students to help us set up campaigns innon-EU markets obtained by NBTs may the Commission will pursue the actionall EU member states. Because first andnot be properly labelled and enter the it intends to take, if any, and their rea- foremost, raising awareness is key, com- EU anyway. sons for taking or not taking that action.municating is essential and discussing Depending on the type of action, thisis paramount if we wish to make peopleLooking to the futurewill start a whole procedure of steps. Forunderstand the importance of our cause.Our group feels that it was necessary to instance, if they decide to open DirectiveWe really hope to help spark a fact-based,start this initiative from a personal per-2001/18/EC and include their proposalrespectful debate which brings this issuespective. We are all young EU citizens, therein, the Parliament and the Councilto the political agenda and marks a turn- with long futures ahead, and concerned will decide upon that proposal within theing point in the regulation of sustainable,about future challenges, such as climate Ordinary Legislative Procedure. Hence, itresponsible agricultural biotechnologicalchange, resource scarcity and food inse-is also crucial to promote their cause withprogress in the EU. curity. We choose to actively promote decision-makers in these bodies of the EUresponsible scientific progress in the EU who have the power to decide.Editors Note: The Initiative needs yourto tackle these challenges. We are convinced that it will takesignature. The website where you can the voice of as many citizens as possibleexpress your support for this initiative is: to ask for these changes to be effectuatedhttps://www.growscientificprogress.org/30IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'