Sustainable Development and Norwegian Genetic Engineering Regulations: Applications, Impacts, and Challenges

  • Anne Ingeborg Myhr
  • Terje Traavik


The main purpose of The NorwegianGene Technology Act (1993) is to enforcecontainment of genetically modified organisms(GMOs) and control of GMO releases.Furthermore, the Act intends to ensure that``production and use of GMOs should take placein an ethically and socially justifiable way,in accordance with the principle of sustainabledevelopment and without detrimental effects tohealth and the environment.'' Hence it isobvious that, for the Norwegian authorities,sustainable development is a normativeguideline when evaluating acceptableconsequences of GMO use and production. Inaccordance with this, we have investigated theextent to which the sustainability criteriawere decisive for the destiny of one approvedand one declined application of geneticallymodified plant release. The presentunderstanding of the ecological,socio-economical, and cultural consequences ofGMO use and release is fragmentary anduncertain. We consider the PrecautionaryPrinciple and the notion of equitabledistribution as key issues within thesustainable development framework, henceconstituting important foundations for ouranalyses. The Act is legitimizingsustainability criteria, but does not seem tosecure their conversion into concrete action.We envisage a more conscious implementation ofthe Norwegian Gene Technology Act.Sustainability concerns ecological, economical,and social values, and these can only beensured through long-term thinking, initiationof independent risk-associated research, andbroad involvement of all stakeholders in theevaluation of GMO issues and concerns.

consensus conferences GMO regulation the Norwegian Gene Technology Act the notion of equal distribution the Precautionary Principle public perception scientific uncertainty sustainable development 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Ingeborg Myhr
    • 1
  • Terje Traavik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and VirologyUniversity of Tromsø and Norwegian Institute of Gene EcologyTromsøNorway (E-mail

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