Invitation to the first meeting of scientists exploring the creation of a European Network of Concerned Scientists on December 11 and 12, 2008 Berlin/Paris, July 8, 2008
For many years we have been witnessing numerous controversies within the scientific community as well as in the public sphere regarding techno- scientific issues with potentially long-lasting consequences for the future development of our societies, humankind and our planet. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, development of agro-food systems (GMOs, biotechnology, biosafety, food sovereignty), emerging technologies (e.g.
nanotechnologies), degradation of ecosystem services, agricultural policy are some of the diverse and most prominent examples.
One of the current critical techno-scientific issues is the application of GMOs in agriculture and food production. Ever since this technology emerged, it has been subject to intense public debates. In Europe, the controversy includes such a diverse range of participants as local initiatives objecting to field trials, national governments promoting the interests of the biotechnology industry, EU-wide operating food retailers that develop GM-free policies for their brands, EU decision makers that reject the advice of EFSA, the central scientific body of the EU, and a European Commission that finally decides to give approval to GM products while EU Member States and citizens do not agree on authorising them.
With this initiative, we would like to explore the idea of forming a European Network of Concerned Scientists to give a stronger voice to those scientists in Europe who develop their ideas and work independently from the commercial application of the technology and are primarily engaged in research assessing environmental risks, developing alternative solutions options and assessing the societal implications.
These scientists lack integration in Europe, although some may be embedded in national circles of like-minded colleagues. At a European level, we find in contrast a well-organized diversity of industry- supported networks of scientists developing mainstream science and more often than not singular solutions options with commercial value (e.g.
Agro-fuels) often side-lining independent alternative approaches and civil societies.
This first meeting will take place on December (10), 11 and 12, 2008 near Berlin/Germany and will be hosted by ecostrat Germany. Being independent entities, we are inviting you to Berlin without having sufficient funds to cover everybody's travel and accomodation. Thus, we do hope that you will be able to find some funding by yourself. However, we should be the needs of the participants. Please let us know your requirements when you reply.
For our inspiration and information, we will also invite a representative from the Union of Concerned Scientists of the USA to the meeting. We also invite interested representatives of government and civil societies who may wish to be involved or support such a European Network. Our collective future requires alternatives in science and technology development. We hope that you will join us.
Dr. Angelika Hilbeck
ETH ZÃ¼rich / ecostrat /member of Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (VDW)
Director of Fondation Sciences Citoyennes
p.s. Deadline for registration: September 30, 2008
Dipl.-Agr.biol. Gabriele WeiÃŸ
ecostrat GmbH Berlin
Friedensallee 21 Â· 15834 Rangsdorf Â· Deutschland
Tel.: +49 (0)33708 / 93 99 60
Fax: +49 (0)33708 / 93 99 61
Amtsgericht Potsdam HRB 20384 P