Prohibition of the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms in Cyprus through the attitudes of stakeholders
The biotechnology industry has always been held under close public scrutiny and even more so whenever new technology or findings are released. Opponents of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) support that scientific risk assessments are not sufficient to address potential long-term hazards for health or the environment, while proponents criticize the current regulatory framework for being influenced by political and other non-scientific interests. It is important to note that, the role of the stakeholders, non-governmental organizations (NGO), politicians, and scientists, including their attitudes and interests have a significant influence not only on public opinion but also on the decision-makers. This paper aims to examine the attitudes of NGOs and politicians, on the cultivation of GMOs, since Directive (EU) 2015/412, came into force. Directive (EU) 2015/412 refers to the possibility of Member States (MS) restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMOs in their territory. This exploration is conducted through a qualitative study with representatives of NGOs and politicians, focusing on the grounds that the Republic of Cyprus may invoke to ban the cultivation of GMOs. The results showed that biodiversity and ecosystems in an isolated island, with a large percentage of Natura 2000, protected areas, land fragmentation, promotion of organic farming as well as traditional agricultural varieties, and beekeeping are the key reasons for the prohibition of genetically modified crops (GMC) in Cyprus.