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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
02ROME5897 2002-12-09 14:54:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Rome
Cable title:  

PROGRAM EVALUATION FOR U.S. SPEAKERS MAARTEN

Tags:   OIIP PRC 
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					  UNCLAS ROME 005897 

SIPDIS

FOR IIP/G/EUR CSIEMONH; IIP/G RCROSS-NAJAFI; IIP/T/ES
BDURANT; EUR/PD/TPICKREL
NAPLES AND MILAN FOR PAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP PRC
SUBJECT: PROGRAM EVALUATION FOR U.S. SPEAKERS MAARTEN
CHRISPEELS AND RAY BRESSEN, TRACKER NUMBERS 17185 AND 17186.



1. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: U.S. SPEAKERS MAARTEN
CHRISPEELS (UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO) AND RAY
BRESSAN (PURDUE UNIVERSITY) ADDRESSED AUDIENCES IN NAPLES,
ROME, AND MILAN OCTOBER 21-24 ON THE BENEFITS OF
BIOTECHNOLOGY TO AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION IN THE
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 ROME 05897 091629Z
MEDITERRANEAN REGION. THE SPEAKERS CARRIED THEIR MESSAGE TO
A BROAD SEGMENT OF THE ITALIAN PUBLIC, FROM THE ITALIAN
FARMER'S ASSOCIATION TO UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS, CONSUMER
ASSOCIATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS (INCLUDING GREENPEACE),
AND THE PRESS. THE GOAL OF THE PROGRAM WAS TO PROMOTE USG
BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY. THE PROGRAM WAS ORGANIZED AND FUNDED
BY PA ROME IN COLLABORATION WITH PA NAPLES, PA MILAN, THE
EMBASSY SCIENCE OFFICE, AND THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL
SERVICE.



2. DATES: OCTOBER 21-24, 2002; 1ST QUARTER; FY 2003.



3. JUSTIFICATION/OBJECTIVE: THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROGRAM WAS
TO PROMOTE USG BIOTECHNOLOGY POLICY BY ENGAGING IN DIALOGUE
WITH A BROAD RANGE OF ITALIANS FROM THE SCIENTIFIC,
AGRICULTURAL, CONSUMER, AND ENVIRONMENTAL SECTORS AND TO
REINFORCE THE MESSAGE THAT BIOTECH FOOD PRODUCTS ARE SAFE
FOR THE CONSUMER AND FRIENDLY TO THE ENVIRONMENT.



4. MPP UMBRELLA THEMES: MPP GOALS #4 ("PROMOTE MUTUAL
UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN ITALY AND THE U.S. THROUGH A BROAD
RANGE OF PERSONAL CONTACTS AND EXCHANGES") AND #6 ("PROMOTE
IMPROVED ACCESS IN ITALY FOR U.S. GOODS AND SERVICES AND AN
INCREASE IN EXPORTS TO ITALY OF U.S. PRODUCTS").



5. AUDIENCE REACHED: IN NAPLES THE PROGRAM WAS CO-SPONSORED
BY THE ITALIAN FARMERS' ASSOCIATION AND REACHED ABOUT 100
ITALIAN FARMERS, RESEARCHERS, UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS,
ENVIRONMENTALISTS, AND BUSINESSPERSONS INVOLVED IN THE FOOD
PROCESSING INDUSTRY. IN ROME THE SPEAKERS HELD A ROUND-TABLE
DISCUSSION WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM CONSUMER ORGANIZATIONS,
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 ROME 05897 091629Z
LABOR UNIONS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS, AND HELD MEETINGS
WITH OFFICIALS OF THE U.N. FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL
ORGANIZATION. IN MILAN, WHERE DR. CHRISPEELS CONTINUED THE
PROGRAM ALONE, THE SEMINAR ORGANIZED BY PA MILAN AND THE
DEPARTMENT OF GENETICS AND MICROBIOLOGY OF THE STATE
UNIVERSITY OF MILAN REACHED AN AUDIENCE OF OVER 100
UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS, RESEARCHERS, AND STUDENTS, AND A
LUNCH HOSTED BY THE ITALIAN SOCIETY OF AGRICULTURAL GENETICS
WAS ATTENDED BY LEADING ITALIAN BIOTECH EXPERTS.



6. RESULT/IMPACT: IN NAPLES THE AUDIENCE WAS RESPONSIVE AND
GENERALLY OPEN-MINDED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
IN THE ITALIAN CONTEXT. THE PROGRAM CONCLUDED WITH A LIVELY
DISCUSSION, DURING WHICH VIRTUALLY ALL PARTICIPANTS AGREED
THAT THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT SHOULD PUSH AHEAD WITH INCREASED
RESEARCH IN THE BIOTECH FIELD. THE FARMERS' ASSOCIATION
EXPRESSED STRONG INTEREST IN ORGANIZING A SIMILAR PROGRAM IN
SOUTHERN ITALY IN 2003. IN ROME THE SPEAKERS MANAGED TO
CORRECT FALSE IMPRESSIONS ABOUT BIOTECHNOLOGY HELD BY MANY
CONSUMERS IN ITALY. ONE SIMPLE BUT IMPORTANT POINT THEY MADE
WAS THAT BIOTECH PRODUCTS ARE CHECKED BY PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
IN THE U.S. (I.E. THE FDA) AND THOROUGHLY TESTED BEFORE
BEING PUT ON THE MARKET. THIS CAME AS A SURPRISE TO SOME
PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS, WHO WERE CONVINCED THAT DECISIONS
ABOUT COMMERCIALIZATION WERE BASED SOLELY ON RESEARCH
CONDUCTED BY THE PRODUCERS THEMSELVES. IN MILAN THE PROGRAM
HIGHLIGHTED THE FACT THAT IN NORTHERN ITALY THE USG CAN NOW
COUNT ON A SOLID NETWORK OF EXPERTS FULLY SUPPORTIVE OF USG
BIOTECH POLICY. ITALIAN PARTICIPANTS JOINED IN AN INTENSE
AND FRUITFUL DISCUSSION WITH PA OFFICERS ON HOW TO COUNTER
DISINFORMATION ON BIOTECH PRODUCTS AND OFFERED TO ASSIST IN
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 ROME 05897 091629Z
THE FUTURE IN COMMUNICATING INFORMATION ABOUT THE ADVANTAGE
OF BIOTECH PRODUCTS WITH THE PRESS.



7. NON-USG SOURCES OF IN-COUNTRY FUNDING/IN-KIND SUPPORT: CO-
SPONSORING INSTITUTIONS PROVIDED PROGRAM VENUES AND HOSTED A
LUNCH.



8. QUALITY OF U.S. SPEAKERS OFFICE (IIP) SUPPORT:
EXCELLENT. POST THANKS PROGRAM OFFICER BARBARA DURANT FOR
HER EXCELLENT SUPPORT, WHICH MADE THIS PROGRAM POSSIBLE.
SEMBLER.

UNCLASSIFIED

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2002ROME05897 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED