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Firstly and most importantly, this publication would not have been possible without the active participation of all those people who sat down in front of the computer in order to share their thoughts and experiences with the other Forum members. The Summary Documents and this publication aim to provide a voice for what they wished to say about a subject that has potentially large consequences for food and agriculture in developing countries. We hope we have done them justice.

The conferences took place under the umbrella of FAO’s Inter-Departmental Working Group on Biotechnology. Thanks are expressed to both its members and other FAO staff (in particular to Devin Bartley, Søren Hald, Keith Hammond, Samuel Jutzi, Kristin Kolshus, Hoan Le, John Pierre Marathee, Joachim Otte, Christel Palmberg-Lerche, Marcio Porto, Pierre Sigaud, Andrea Sonnino, Oudara Souvannavong, Nuria Urquia and Alvin Yanchuk) who gave their technical assistance at various times throughout the preparation and running of these conferences. Support from the first Chairperson and Secretary of the Working Group (John Monyo and Maria Zimmermann, respectively) and their successors (Jim Dargie and Nuria Urquia, respectively) is gratefully acknowledged.

The Forum’s activities were coordinated by Maria Zimmermann, in her previous position as Senior Agricultural Research Officer of FAO’s Research and Technology Development Service (SDRR), and the Forum Administrator, John Ruane. They acknowledge the support of the previous and present service chiefs of SDRR, Jacques Eckebil and Isabel Alvarez, respectively.

Peter Iversen, Andrea Sonnino and John Stenhouse kindly provided detailed comments on a draft of this publication and Adrianna Gabrielli is thanked for assistance with editorial and layout aspects. The Background Document for the forestry sector conference was previously published in Biotecnología Aplicada, 17, 134-136 (2000) and is reproduced here with permission.

Finally, special thanks go to Kristin Kolshus of FAO’s information management group, WAICENT, for assistance with the design, development and maintenance of the Forum website; to John Rowell of FAO’s Computing Services, for providing technical assistance with the e-mail system; and to Harold Cohen of FAO’s Legal Office for help with legal aspects of the Forum.

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