Pan European Networks - Government - page 200

Pan European Networks: Government
07
200
ENVIRONMENT
Indeed, this issue should be discussed and
brought to the fore, and many organisations
which tend to focus on the issue of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) should perhaps
realise that GMOs are in no way as dangerous
(if they are ever dangerous), as pesticides.
From an environmental point of view, it is
possible to achieve a significant reduction in
the amount of toxins in the environment simply
by applying more IPM methods and other
preventative procedures and the use of
new technologies.
This is especially true in regard to arable crops
as, in many cases, pesticides are used as the
very first stage in pest management, and it is
only when, and if, the pesticide does not work,
that alternative pest management solutions are
considered. That is the wrong approach entirely,
and should be reversed so that pesticides are
seen as something of a last resort.
What are your thoughts on the
integrated use of insect-resistant
GM crops within IPM programmes?
Gene technology should be considered as a tool
like any other, but one that requires further
research and investigation, because it really
does have an enormous amount of potential.
However, the GMO debate in Europe is always
emotionally-charged, which is a sure barrier to
implementation. GMOs are used on 12% of
arable land worldwide, and this is a technology
that has been adopted in most parts of the
world, except for Europe.
Nevertheless, history almost always proves
itself to be quite cyclical, and there have been
numerous other technologies throughout the
last century which were met with derision and
opposition, but which came to be implemented
and, as such, are now an integral, and almost
unnoticed, part of modern day life. Given this, I
believe that, while GMOs face quite tough,
The risks of progress
PEN
speaks to IOBC president,
Dr Franz Bigler,
about the benefits as well as the
risks that need to be given equal priority in the future of IPM-related biosafety research
B
iosafety research includes the use and implementation of
biological control agents into Integrated Pest Management
(IPM), Genetically Modified Plants (GMPs) in IPM systems
and the evaluation of risks of invasive arthropods and their effects
on the environment and agriculture.
In this interview with Pan European Networks, Dr Franz Bigler,
president of the International Organisation for Biological and
Integrated Control-West Palaearctic Regional Section (IOBC-WPRS),
whose speech at the Future IPM in Europe event discussed ‘IPM –
an old concept full of innovation’, underlines how research into
biosafety needs to come to include an awareness and evaluation
of the benefits as well as the risks, in addition to the role that
Horizon 2020 can come to play in boosting innovation in the sector,
and his views on EU regulatory legislation.
What do you hope the obligation for all professional
users to apply the general principles of IPM will achieve?
In a general sense, I hope that this will result in a reduction of pesticides
in the environment and a reduction of residues in food and feed. Indeed,
this is an issue that is rarely highlighted but is of fundamental importance,
especially given the fact that global pesticide-related deaths and human
intoxications amount to thousands every year.
GMOs are used on 12%
of arable land
worldwide, and this is
a technology that has
been adopted in most
parts of the world,
except for Europe
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