"Can genetically modified food contribute to worldwide food safety?" This question was discussed by the participants of three moderated forums on prospects, risks and global political conditions of green gene technology. Unlike a face-to-face meeting or conference the discussion of the online-discourse took place exclusively in the internet. It is an approach to use new media for dialogue processes.
The internet conference ran for three weeks in June 2004 and was targeted at people actively involved in development policy and biotechnology. Despite the sometimes heated discussion, in the end there were important areas of agreement. Most participants tended to be critical of gene technology and did not see it as a key for solving the hunger problems in developing countries. Increased production of food alone could not erase the problem of hunger. There was an extensive debate on whether the farmers should be free to make their own decisions regarding the use of green gene technology. Approximately 130 participants from university, non-governmental organisations and churches, as well as a large number of private persons took part in the innovative discourse process. More than 200 contributions were made - many of them with substantial back-up analysis.