Speakers on May 6th and 8th

Wednesday, 6th of May 2015

Horst Becker, Parliamentary State Secretary, State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKULNV-NRW)

Welcome speech on Wednesday 6 May 2015

Horst Becker is Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.  He is the President of the European GMO-free Regions Network and a Member of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Parliament since 2005. From 1994 to 1999 he was Political manager of the Greens group on Rhein-Sieg county council and was Chief executive of the Association of Green Councillors (GAR) from 1992 to 1994 and Chief Secretary of the Green Party (DIE GRÜNEN) group on Troisdorf city council from 1987 to 1989.  He worked at RVBG publishers from 1999 to 2004. Since 2004, he has worked at Landschaftsverband Rheinland community services organisation.

Matthias Krön, Danube Soya Association

Welcome speech on Wednesday 6 May 2015
High Level Plenary Session on Friday 8 May 2015
Joint Workshop: 
Towards a European protein Strategy – integrating regional, national and EU approaches

Matthias Kroen was born in Salzburg in 1969. He studied Chinese studies, philosophy and history in Vienna and Taipei. Subsequently he spent one year at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. After his return to Austria in 1995 he started working in the sales department of Molkerei Oberwart Reg. Gen. Together with Fred Kranich he established Mona Naturprodukte, one of the major suppliers in the dairy sector in Austria . In 2000 soy production in the Oberwart dairy was started and already 3 years later a subsidiary for dairy alternatives based on soya, rice and oats was founded. Kroen became CEO of the Mona Group of companies. In 2005 Kroen and three colleagues were able to acquire 100% of the shares of the Mona Group of companies and the Oberwart Dairy. Subsequently the group decided to divest of the dairy business and focus on the non-dairy business. Today Mona accounts for about 10% of non-dairy volume in Europe and is active in over 30 markets. In autumn 2011 stepped down as CEO to concentrate on the soy associations, while remaining a major shareholder of Mona Group. The Austrian soya association was founded in 2008 as an initiative of the Austrian soy businesses. In spring 2012 the International Danube Soya association was established. Both associations elected Kroen as chairman. Kroen advocates a sustainable, regional and gm-free protein supply in Europe.

Angelika Hilbeck, European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, Switzerland

Welcome speech on Wednesday 6 May 2015
Joint Workshop: New GMO techniques, risk assessment and legal definitions

Angelika Hilbeck is the acting Chairperson of ENSSER (European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility). She leads a research group as senior scientist and lecturer at the Institute of Intergrative Biology at ETH Zurich and is an adjunct faculty to Genoek, the Centre for Biosafety, Tromsoe, Norway. Her research focuses on biosafety and risk assessment of GMOs in the context of agroecology and biodiversity. Her research and conceptual work also contributes to the implementation and shaping of EU Directives regulating GMOs, the (UNEP CBD) Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and capacity building in developing countries. Broader fields of engagement include technology development towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and she actively contributes to the debate on biosafety, international agriculture, hunger and poverty alleviation. In 2006, she was appointed as a lead author of the International Assessment Agricultural Science Technology for Development (IAASTD). She is a member of the board of directors of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler VDW (Federation of German Scientists) and of the development organisation 'Bread for All'.


Friday, 8th of May 2015

(Alphabetical order)

Rudolf Anschober, Regional Minister of Upper-Austria for Environment

Presentation of the Berlin Declaration on GMOs and a European Protein Strategy on Friday 8 May 2015

Rudolf Anschober is the Minister for Environment, Energy, Water and Consumer Protection of the Austrian Region of Upper-Austria since 2003. He had been a member of the Austrian Parliament from 1990 to 1997 and was the speaker of the Upper-Austrian Green Party group since 1997. Previously Anschober worked as a journalist and teacher at an elementary school. He was trained at the pedagogical academy of Salzburg and was born in Wels, Austria in 1960.  Rudi Anschober is one of the founding fathers of the European Network of GMO Free Regions.

Ursula Bittner, Danube Soya, Austrian Soya Association

Joint Workshop: GMO transparency through labelling : mandatory GMO labelling vs voluntary GMO-free labelling

Ursula Bittner is the manager of the Danube Soya and Austrian Soya Association, both working on a GM-free and regional Soya supply for Europe. Bittner holds a degree in International Development from the University of Vienna with specialisation in agriculture, European agriculture policy, right to food and food sovereignty. Furthermore she holds a MBA degree specialising in general management of the California Lutheran University, US. She already worked for different NGOs in the field of health, food and agriculture, before she started working in the soya business. Since 2011 she is managing the Austrian Soya Association and the Danube Soya Association. Bittner advocates a sustainable, regional and GM-free protein supply in Europe and a healthy and plant-based diet.

Thomas Brégeon, European Commission, Directorate Health and Food Safety, Biotechnology unit Policy Officer

Round table with speakers on Friday 8 May 2015

Thomas Brégeon studied political science and holds a master in health economics and health services management. He joined the Health and Food Safety Directorate of the European Commission in 2006, as a member of the team supervising the definition and implementation of the European policies and legislations on human substances (blood and blood components, tissues and cells, organs). He then joined the unit in charge of biotechnologies/GMOs in 2010.

Tanja Busse, Journalist, Author, Moderator, Germany

Moderator of the High Level Plenary Session on Friday 8 May 2015

Tanja Busse was born in 1970 in Bad Driburg, Germany. She studied journalism and philosophy in Dortmund, Bochum and Pisa, followed by an apprenticeship at the public broadcasting station WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bielefeld. In 2000 she successfully finished her doctorate thesis on apocalyptic narratives in the mass media. From 2003 to 2012 she worked as presenter of different radio formats at the WDR. She is a moderator of public events on sustainability, ecology, agriculture, a frequent contributor to the German weekly DIE ZEIT and other papers and radio programs. Busse also wrote a diversity of popular books on agriculture, consumer power, food sovereignty and recently "Die Wegwerfkuh" on industrial farming in Germany. (See her reading in German on Friday 8th at additional events)

Eva Gelinsky, IG Saatgut, Foundation ProSpecieRara, Switzerland

Joint Workshop: New GMO techniques, risk assessment and legal definitions

Eva Gelinsky works for The Initiative for GE-free Seeds and Breeding (IG Saatgut), for the Swiss foundation ProSpecieRara (scientific staff) and as an independent scientist. She is a member of the Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology in Switzerland and board member of Critical Scientists Switzerland (CSS).

Hervé Gomichon, Carrefour, France

Joint Workshop: GMO transparency through labelling : mandatory GMO labelling vs voluntary GMO-free labelling

Hervé Gomichon is currently Group Quality and Sustainable Development Director at Carrefour. He has held several positions in different companies in the last 20 years, first of all as consultant, industrial and finally with retailer. He has held commercial production techniques functions, Research and Development and finally Direction functions like Quality and Sustainable development as senior Director. Herve also has developed relations with numerous stakeholders. Such as NGO, quality system certification organisms, consumer associations, public and politic bodies in charge of French and European legislation. He is the Chairman of the Board of ENVA,(National Veterinary School of Maisons Alfort, he is also a Board member of ANSES, GFSI and MSC. Finally, Herve has taught for several years in Master course on the organization of sustainable development in companies and food hygiene at the University Paris-Dauphine and National Veterinary School of Maison Alfort.

H.-Christoph von Heydebrand, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany

Round table with speakers on Friday 8 May 2015

Dr. H.-Christoph von Heydebrand heads the unit of new technologies at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Bonn, Germany. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Constance (Germany), an LL.M. degree from Dalhousie University (Canada) and an MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government/Harvard University (USA). He grew up and worked on a farm in southern Germany. He joined the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 1986.

Renaud Layadi, Regional Council of Brittany, France

Joint Workshop: GMO transparency through labelling : mandatory GMO labelling vs voluntary GMO-free labelling

Renaud Layadi, senior adviser at the Regional Council of Brittany (France) in charge of the promotion of non-GMO agriculture since 2004, contributor of the socio-economic impacts of GMO on quality agriculture in the European Co-Extra research programme.

Yoke Ling, Third World Network, China


High Level Plenary Session on Friday 8 May 2015

CHEE Yoke Ling is the Director of Programmes of Third World Network (TWN) and based in the Beijing office of TWN. She obtained a Bachelor in law degree from University of Malaya (Malaysia) and a Masters in Law from University of Cambridge (UK).  She was a member of the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya (1984 to 1989), and Honorary Secretary, Friends of the Earth Malaysia (1989-1993) before joining TWN on a full time basis. She has been very active in policy research and advocacy since the mid-1980s, focusing on sustainable development policy and governance issues from the perspective of developing countries. Yoke Ling has worked closely with key developing-country negotiators, scientists, and NGOs on climate change, biodiversity and biosafety as well as intellectual property issues since the 1990s. She has been part of the senior management team for TWN since 2007.

Maura Malaspina, Former President of the EU-network of GMO-free regions

High Level Plenary Session on Friday 8 May 2015

Marche (Italy) Regional Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Energy since 2013. She coordinates GMO-free Italian Regions, has been President of the GMO-free Regions European network and is currently its Vice-President. She signed an agreement with China which commits the Marche Region to support some Chinese territories in their struggle against the growing pollution in that Asian country. She holds an Academic degree in Law and a Master in Matrimonial Law. Former member of the Equal Opportunities Commission in the Ascoli Piceno Province and of the CAL (Local Autonomies Council) of the Marche Regional Council. National member of the ANPCI (National association of the small municipalities) representing the Marche Region. Mayor of Ortezzano from 2004 to April 2010. In April 2010 she has been elected as Regional Councilor.

Jürgen Mäder, General manager of EDEKA Südwest, Germany

Round table with speakers on Friday 8 May 2015

Jürgen Mäder
51 years old
Master butcher and master of business administration
20 years in this company
Professional career
1986 final examination for the butchers´ trade
1989 master´s certificate for the butchers trade
1992 business administration of the craft
1992 executive assistant and authorized officer - member of the management
2000 managing director of EDEKA Südwest Fleisch GmbH       
2010 golden State Medal for outstanding contributions to the local agriculture and food industry
Current focus
Managing director of EDEKA Südwest Fleisch GmbH
1000 employees
600 million euro in sales
20 acres
IFS zertification

Johannes Remmel, Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the state North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

High Level Plenary Session on Friday 8 May 2015

Johannes Remmel is Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia since July 2010. Since 2001 he is a member of the board of trustees of the North Rhine-Westphalian Environment and Development Foundation. From 1995 to 2012 Johannes Remmel served as a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian State Parliament and the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen parliamentary party. He has been the chief whip of the parliamentary party Bündnis 90/Die Grünen from 2000 to 2010. He was Chairman of the NRW State Parliament’s Commission of Inquiry on transport demand management ‘The Future of Mobility’ from 1997 to 2000.
Johannes Remmel was also Chairman of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Energy Committee of the Council of the City of Siegen from 1989 to1995. He has been a member of the Green Party since 1983.

Joachim Weckmann, Märkisches Landbrot GmbH, Germany

Joint Workshop: The end of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy in the EU? The impact of low level presence of unauthorised GMOs for the food industry and public authorities

Joachim Weckmann is CEO and partner of Märkisches Landbrot GmbH in Berlin. Märkisches Landbrot is a medium-sized Demeter bakery and processes around 1,700 tonnes of grain per year. He is a founding member of FÖL and a member of the board of directors of AöL (Assoziation ökologischer Landbau). He has been baking organic bread since 1976 in which he has been involved in different initiatives and he started to run Märkisches Landbrot in 1981.

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