500 Italian Cities and 1000 French Mayors Go GM-FREE (22/4/2004)

Adrian Bebb of FoE Europe tells us, "We're hearing of new initiatives virtually every day".

Here's a shortened version of FoE Europe's press release and their fact sheet on GM Free areas around Europe. (For full text and media contacts, go to the urls below.)

2.Summary of some of the most visible initiatives

New campaign launched to protect food and farming

Europe's largest grassroots environmental network has today, on "Earth Day", launched a new campaign to demand better legal protection for areas wanting to ban genetically modified (GM) crops. Friends of the Earth Europe highlight that initiatives to ban GM crops are now running in at least 22 different European countries.

The number of regions in the EU that want to ban the growing of GM crops is continuously growing. Initiatives have started in at least 22 European countries. In France over 1000 town mayors support GM free zones and in the UK over 44 regions have called for special protection in their areas. More than 500 cities in Italy have also taken a position against the use of GMOs in agriculture.


This is a summary of some of the most visible initiatives. For more information please go to www.gmofree-europe.org


Eight out of the nine Austrian provinces have now indicated that they want to go GMO-free. Over 100 municipalities have also signed a GMO-free resolution. The region of Upper Austria has passed a law making it a GMO-free zone. Five other provincial parliaments (Salzburg, Tirol, Burgenland, Steirmark and Lower Austria) have also demanded their governments to declare their province GMO-free.  Belgium

39 communities in the Flemish and 81 communities in the French speaking part of Belgium have declared themselves GMO-free.


In France more than one thousand mayors have issued declarations of GMO-free status of their municipality. At a regional level, three regions have issued GM-free: Alps de Haute, Aquitaine and Limousin.


Currently 27 out of the 54 Greek prefectures have voted to declare their area GMO-free and nine more are in the process of doing so. The prefecture of Rhodope and the Drama Kavala - Xanthi County have joined the European Network of GM-Free regions.


More than 500 cities in Italy have taken a position against the use of GMOs in agriculture. The combined area of those communities that have already signed a resolution against GMOs and those that recently have indicated to ban GMOs means that nearly 80% of Italy's territory is declared GMO-free.


The Bio-region ALPE ADRIA, covers the whole area of Slovenia, the Austrian provinces of Carinthia and Styria and the Italian provinces of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto. In June 2003, a joint GMO-free statement was signed by the presidents of organic farmers associations from these five Alpine regions.


So far 44 areas (this includes:12 County councils, 9 Unitary authorities, 2 Metropolitan districts, 1 London Borough, 13 District councils, 2 National Parks Authorities, 5 Town/Parish councils) in England and 35 councils in Wales have approved a GMO-free resolution, bringing the total UK population living in areas with a GMO-free policy to 14 million.  

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