Learning Event:​ Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in Agriculture: ​ Facts, risks and risk reduction measures ​

Outline and objectives

Since the first commercial planting of a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) in 1996, biotech crop cultivation has increased dramatically worldwide. Today, almost 200 million hectares of biotech crops are planted yearly. Ethical, political, legal, environmental, economic and social concerns are debated. Concerns arise related to workers exposed to toxic compounds, reliance on agricultural chemicals, power constellations of the seed industry, resistances against weeds and pests, loss of biodiversity etc. ​
This event shall provide an overview of basic mechanisms, facts, risks and risk reduction measures of GMOs in agriculture, focusing on contexts which are typical for the audience. ​


​NGO practitioners and SDC staff involved in the planning, steering and implementation of development and humanitarian aid projects related to Agriculture, Food Security and environment. Anyone interested in the topic is welcome to join. No prior knowledge in DRR, biotechnology or GMO-science is required. ​


  • Overview of the present situation of GMO technology and its applications, the scientific background of environmental risk assessment, regulatory frameworks, environmental, social and economic implications (by external contributors from academia)​
  • Case studies highlighting the relevance from their point of view providing a complementary perspective (from Platform member organisations)​
  • Discussions on risks and risk reduction measures in the context of agriculture projects​
  • Practical exercise to learn to detect GMOs in a reliable way, through a method that can be replicated by non-specialists in the field.​

Presenters and facilitators

  • ​Angelika Hilbeck, ETH Zürich ​
  • Bernadette Oehen, FiBL / ETH Zürich. ​
  • Jens Soth, Helvetas​
  • Tina Goethe, Bread for All​
  • Nicola Schoenenberger, INNOVABRIDGE​
  • Anton Jöhr, Swiss Red Cross