Agricultural Biotechnologies
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Outputs from the FAO international symposium on agricultural biotechnologies

The FAO international symposium on “The role of agricultural biotechnologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition” took place from 15 to 17 February 2016 at FAO headquarters, Rome. Its objective was to explore the application of biotechnologies for the benefit of family farmers in developing sustainable food systems and improving nutrition in the context of unprecedented challenges, including climate change.

 

The symposium encompassed the crop, livestock, forestry and fishery sectors and covered a broad range of biotechnologies, from low-tech approaches such as those involving use of microbial fermentation processes, biofertilizers, biopesticides and artificial insemination, to high-tech approaches such as those involving advanced DNA-based methodologies and genetically modified organisms.

 

A wide range of information resources are now available from the symposium website. These include a four-page summary report describing the objectives, highlights, outcomes and key messages from the symposium (in English, French and Spanish). They also include four FAO multilingual press releases published before, during and after the symposium.

 

The video recordings of all sessions can also be watched. These include the opening plenary session where keynote addresses were delivered by the FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, and a distinguished group of speakers, as well as nine parallel sessions that were organized around three main themes (climate change; sustainable food systems and nutrition; and people, policies, institutions and communities). These also include the high-level ministerial session involving representatives from eight countries; the five side events organized by external stakeholders; the interactive session involving students from different universities around the world; and the final plenary session, with reporting on the three main themes and the student session as well as closing remarks by Louise Fresco (co-chair of the Advisory Panel) and the FAO Director-General.

 

Written summaries and slides of the presentations are available. The website also includes frequently asked questions (FAQs), in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish; “voices from the symposium” (video clips of experts interviewed before and during the event); and photos from the symposium. The website also contains a 50-minute FAO podcast released in March 2016, entitled "Can biotech benefit smallholder farmers worldwide?" which looks back at the symposium. Proceedings of the symposium are currently being finalized and will be available soon.

 

These materials are all available from the symposium website at http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/agribiotechs-symposium/en/ (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish). Contact agri-biotechs@fao.org for any further information.

13/07/2016