The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences had convened a select group of 40 scientific experts from around the world to examine all the evidence on GM foods–wha’ts known as a “palaver”–a patient and thorough examination of a subject. The result? A statement ringing endorsement of crop biotechnology. Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, summarized the findings:
- “GE technology” is “needed around the world to help improve the sustainability and productivity of agriculture.”
- GE can be of major significance for resource-poor farmers and vulnerable members of poor farming communities, especially women and children.
- GE technology can combat nutritional deficiencies through modification that provides essential micro-nutrients.
Cardinal Turkson further stressed that there is a “moral imperative to make the benefits of GE technology available on a larger scale to poor and vulnerable populations.”
When Ambassador Ken Quinn selected the theme of “The Next Borlaug Century: Biotechnology Sustainability and Climate Volatility” for this year’s World Food Prize, we all expected a vibrant discussion. From the Borlaug Dialogue to the shadow events hosted by opponents of biotechnology to the press coverage, no one was disappointed as all points of view were very enthusiastically presented. Indeed, the Borlaug Dialogue became an African palaver, or thorough discussion.
In the long run, however, it was the presentation of Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which may have the most profound impact. Cardinal Turkson directly addressed the controversy surrounding biotechnology and genetic modification in the production of food using Catholic thought and Vatican II as his reference points. Quoting Pope John Paul II, he concluded: “The findings of science must be put to use in order to ensure a high productivity of the land in such a way that the local population can secure food and sustenance without destroying nature.”
Read the full, original story here: “The Vatican Enters a GMO ‘Palaver,’ Supports Use of Biotechnology”