Science wins as Members of European Parliament vote in support of NGTs

February 7, 2024

After three epic years of campaigning, hundreds of Members of the European Parliament were today persuaded to back proposals that will revolutionize the future of farming, reducing pesticide use, reducing fossil fuel fertilizer inputs, and making crops more resilient to climate shocks.

MEPs voted to support what are known as New Genomic Techniques or NGTs. These are ground-breaking gene editing techniques for breeding crops that harness the best human ingenuity to produce future crops – today.

Thanks (in part) to WePlanet’s campaign and the involvement of thousands of scientists, farmers, and environmentalists, many MEPs were convinced to support the change in the law, thereby helping to protect more of nature and reduce the climate impacts from food production.

Here are some of the amazing things the campaigners did to make this happen:

  • Mobilized 37 Nobel prize winners and over 1,600 of the world’s leading scientists to sign an open letter written to MEPs calling on them to support NGTs
  • They brought together 1000-odd professors and researchers from 29 universities in 14 countries to hold unprecedented demonstrations and tag their MEPs on X (formerly Twitter).
  • Sent hundreds of emails to pivotal members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee countering anti-science disinformation

And it paid off. Three separate MEPs praised the campaign during the debate, with one MEP saying that the campaign was “incredibly important” in swinging the vote.

However, this battle may have been won, but the war isn’t completely won. Next up is when the proposal is sent to national ministers who will decide whether to accept the European Parliament’s amendments.