Precautionary Expertise for GM Crops (PEG): National Workshop Report

Oreszczyn, Sue (2003). Precautionary Expertise for GM Crops (PEG): National Workshop Report
Centre for Technology Strategy, The Open University.


Although the precautionary principle has been widely accepted in Europe as a basis for decision making about Genetically Modified (GM) crops, there are many perspectives on its interpretation and how it should be implemented. The PEG project is analysing how current European practices compare with different accounts of the precautionary principle. It has been examining different people’s accounts of precaution and their views on the procedures for regulating and managing GM crops, in seven EU member states.

Workshops with the potential end-users of our research findings are an integral part of the PEG project. Workshops have been carried out in each of the partner’s countries. These scenario workshops offer a policy analysis tool that enables a more action orientated approach to policy research. They help bridge the gap between research and the policy process by involving people at an early stage of the project, and ensure that our research questions and findings are embedded in the policy process.

This report discusses the outcomes of the UK workshop, ‘GM Futures? Scenarios for GM Crops’, held on 5th February 2003 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London. The workshop used three policy scenarios as a tool for considering the causes and consequences of commercialisation of GM crops. Rather than attempting to predict the
future, by mapping different scenarios the workshop attempted to draw out dynamics and interactions which may not otherwise be obvious.

Workshop participants came from a range of backgrounds and were all involved in the policy process either directly as a member of a Government department or advisory committee, or through their position within their organisation. A key policy-relevant outcome was the way that the three policy scenarios - to go ahead with commercialisation, to postpone it further or to commercialise GM crops in a limited way - might all present the Government with equally complex and difficult consequences. Further, while limited commercialisation may appear to be an attractive policy option, the scenario map drawn by the participants indicated difficulties that would need to be handled in order for limited commercialisation to be regarded as a potential option.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions