The project aims at 1 providing baseline data on biodiversity in agro-ecosystems in the EU, 2 translating regional protection goals in measurable assessment endpoints, 3 defining lists of suitable bioindicators for various European regions, 4 improving knowledge on potential long term environmental effects of genetically modified plants (GMPs), 5 testing the efficacy of the EFSA Guidance Document (GD) for the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of GMPs, 6 exploring new strategies for post market monitoring, 7 estimating the compatibility of GMPs with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles implemented in the EU, 8 providing a systematic analysis of economical aspects of GMPs cultivation in the EU, and 9 setting a training and communication plan addressing public concerns about GMPs.
The consortium includes 22 partners (Research institutes, Universities, State Agencies and SMEs) located in 15 EU countries and. An ICPC country (Argentina) will contribute in validating the monitoring methodology in areas where GM crops are cultivated on larger scales.
A cornerstone is the application of the EFSA ERA GD, which is the basis for the update of the regulatory process of GMPs in the EU. The GD has provided ecologically sound principles for ERA, triggering the need of practically testing them. Partners of the consortium participated to the preparation of GD and 3 of them are senior authors of relevant chapters. The scientific activities will consist of case studies of maize and potato, the two GM crops currently approved for cultivation in the EU, and surveys in non-GM agro-ecosystems. The final outcome will include a network of EU representative sites for pre-market risk assessment and long-term monitoring studies, a set of standardised testing methods and a geographical information system integrating relevant datasets, protocols and tools to help EU decision-makers. To be implemented in 4 years, the project estimated costs are 7779852.15 €, requested grant 5997963 €.