FAO gives practical help to developing countries through a wide range of technical assistance projects. It encourages an integrated approach, with inclusion of environmental, social and economic considerations in the formulation of development projects.
Regarding biotechnology, FAO collaborates with a range of partners in building the capacities of Member countries in biotechnology and related issues through technical co-operation and training. Technical assistance provided by FAO can be classified into three categories:
1. Directly to Member countries
FAO provides technical assistance directly to its Member countries in areas such as building or strengthening national biosafety systems, including development and implementation of regulations, training of personnel of regulatory bodies in risk analysis of GMOs, communication and public participation in biosafety-related decision making, and upgrading of laboratory capacities. One of the main instruments through which this is done is the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), launched in 1976 as an essential means to make FAO's specialized competence more readily available to its Members for the solution of their most pressing development problems in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors and rural development. The TCP is an instrument which enables FAO to respond rapidly to urgent needs for technical and emergency assistance in Member countries and to contribute to their capacity building. By the end of 2006, TCPs on biotechnology and biosafety had been completed or were under implementation in several countries, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Grenada, Kenya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Swaziland and Tanzania.
2. Through biotechnology networks
FAO provides support for the establishment of biotechnology networks or acts as a catalyst for their establishment in different parts of the world. One good example is the Technical Cooperation Network on Plant Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean (REDBIO), based at the FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. It began in 1990 and by the end of 2006, counted almost 4,000 individuals from 744 public and private laboratories and institutions in 32 countries. Other examples are networks that have been established in Asia, called Asian BioNet, and in Africa, called ABNETA.
3. Through partnerships with international agricultural research centres and other institutions
FAO provides extensive technical assistance (organizing workshops etc.) in co-operation with research centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and/or with national agricultural research systems.
Page Last Updated: May 2007