The First ôGMO-Free Areaô in Iceland

HNLFI┤s Declaration Marks a New Beginning in Iceland

 


As of February the 1st the Health Clinic of the Nature Health Association of Iceland (HNLFI) declared its property on the boarders of the southern town of Hverager­i a "GMO-free zone". This entails (a) banning all kinds of GM pants and animals within the HNLFI territory and (b) making every effort to exclude such organisms and products thereof from entering the boundaries of the institute. HNLFI is accordingly urging other Icelandic landowners, producers, geographically demarcated areas and municipalities throughout the country to declare their territories "GM-free zones", whilst reminding them of the world-wide growth of such areas.

HNLFI┤s declaration is the first of its kind in Iceland, thus signalling a new era in the effort of NGOs to stave GMOs off the Icelandic ecosystem until independent scientific research has proved them harmless. Apparently this is also the first GM-free zone in the Nordic countries declaring a ban on outdoor GM crop production. Until Icelandic authorities ratify the EU GM-labelling regulation, the monitoring of inputs will be difficult. However, HNLF═┤s policy is to keep all its territories - outdoor and indoor - free of GMOs.

HNLF═ operates a large medical and rehabilitation clinic based on the principles of natural medicines, as expressed in the work of Dr. med. Jˇnas Kristjßnsson, the founder of the Nature Health Association of Iceland. The clinic emphasizes preventative treatments, exercise and wholesome food. Its territory of few hundred hectares is a mixture of designed public parks, wild vegetation, forestry and organically managed cropland for production of fruits, herbs and vegetables. See HNLF═┤s homepage.

HNLFI┤s decision was announced at the 2nd European Conference on GM-free Regions, Biodiversity and Rural Development held in Berlin on January 14-15, 2006. As explained on the homepage of the conference, GM-free regions are mushrooming "from Iceland to Cyprus, from Ireland to Armenia ... to defend regional self-determination, quality of food and life-styles, small scale and independent farming, biodiversity, health and environmental safety." See the homepage of the conference.

In Europe, over 170 regions/provinvces and 3500 municipalities, as well as tens of thousands of farmers and food producers have declared their territories free of GMOs. Several countries are now completely or to a large extent GM-free, such as Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Poland, England and Wales. This movement is still in its early stages in the Nordic countries and websites on the subject only list two Finnish municipalities that have banned the use of GMOs in public provisions (i.e. schools, daycares and nurseries).

There is no outdoor GM crop production in the Nordic countries (except on a very small trial scale) and they do have strict rules regulating the labelling of GM food. On the other hand, Icelandic authorities have allowed outdoor growing of GM pharmaceutical barley on up to 30 ha during the next four years, and they have not yet ratified EU regulations on the labelling of GM food.

The Nature Health Association of Iceland operates a rehabilitation clinic and an organic horticulture unit in the geothermic town of Hverager­i

The HNLF═ in Hverager­i - Areal view

 

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