The EPA-ENCA Interest Group on Genetically Modified Organisms (IG GMO) answers crucial questions on the environmental impact of GMO. The overall aim of the IG GMO is to add additional emphasis to environmental aspects in the course of GMO approval procedures, environmental risk assessment (ERA) and environmental monitoring programmes. Since 2010 and under the leadership of the FOEN, the group has prepared several documents regarding ERA and monitoring of GMOs.
The Joint EPA ENCA Interest Group on Genetically Modified Organisms (IG GMO) promotes the exchange of information and experience on environmental risk assessment and monitoring of genetically modified organisms (GMO) between the Network EPA* and ENCA**. The overall aim of the IG GMO mandate is to develop joint and consolidated views and positions of the EPA and ENCA networks in order to add additional emphasis to environmental aspects in the course of GMO approval procedures, environmental risk assessment (ERA) and environmental monitoring programmes.
The IG GMO is composed of members from environmental protection agencies and nature conservation agencies or institutions with competence and expertise in ERA and monitoring. Their participation is voluntary. Based on the group’s informal character and because it is not directly involved in approval procedures, the IG GMO is ideally suited to pinpoint and outline essential questions regarding the impacts of GMOs on the environment and interactions of GMOs with the environment. Furthermore, the IG GMO regularly addresses EU entities to voice its concerns regarding the impact of GMOs on the environment and urges discussions on the subject. Thus, the work of the group significantly contributes to placing a stronger emphasis on the environment in the approval processes of GMOs.
The EPA Network plenary endorsed the establishment of the joint EPA ENCA Interest Group on Genetically Modified Organisms (IG GMO) in Locarno (Switzerland in May 2009). The group held its first meeting in Bern (Switzerland) in September 2009. After the separation of the ENCA Network from the EPA Network, ENCA members joined the IG GMO; hence its current name “Joint EPA-ENCA Interest Group on Risk Assessment and Monitoring of GMOs” (IG GMO). Since 2010, the group has prepared several documents regarding environmental risk assessment and monitoring of GMOs, which were welcomed and supported by both EPA and ENCA Networks.
* Network of the Heads of Environmental Protection Agencies. The EPA Network is an informal grouping of the directors of national environmental protection agencies and similar bodies across Europe.
** The European Nature Conservation Agency Heads Network. The ENCA network is a grouping of actors from Europe and other countries with experience of nature conservation and nature conservation policy.
Links to EPA and ENCA:
Activity Report 2017-2021:
Current work programme:
Publications of the IG GMO:
2021: Opinion Paper, Impacts of Gene Drive Organisms on the Environment and Nature Conservation (PDF, 1 MB, 01.09.2021)
2020: Technical Report, Gene Drive Organisms – Implications for the Environment and Nature Conservations, IG GMO technical report on gene drives (PDF, 2 MB, 01.01.2020)
2019: Technical Report, Monitoring of Spontaneous Populations of Genetically Modified Plant Species in the Environment (PDF, 3 MB, 28.02.2019)
2017: Peer-reviewed Paper, Herbicide resistance and biodiversity: agronomic and environmental aspects of genetically modified resistant plants (PDF, 1003 kB, 31.12.2017)
2015: Position Paper, Impacts of genetically modified herbicide-resistant plants on biodiversity (PDF, 427 kB, 31.10.2015)
2014: Background Paper, Agronomic and environmental aspects of the cultivation of GM-HR plants (PDF, 610 kB, 31.12.2014)
Last modification 25.01.2022