FAO hosted a moderated e-mail conference on "Strengthening partnerships in agricultural biotechnologies for the benefit of smallholders in developing countries: Discussing North-South, South-South, Public-Private cooperation and more".
The e-mail conference took place from 14 November to 18 December 2011 and was held as a follow-up to one of the key conclusions reached by Member States at the end of the FAO international technical conference on "Agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries: Options and opportunities in crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and agro-industry to face the challenges of food insecurity and climate change" (ABDC-10, http://www.fao.org/biotech/abdc/) that took place in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2010 i.e. that "Stronger partnerships among and within countries will facilitate the development and use of biotechnologies, including south-south and regional alliances; incorporation of traditional knowledge; and public-private and research partnerships for sharing experiences, information and technologies". ABDC-10 brought together about 300 policy-makers, scientists and representatives of intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, including delegations from 42 FAO Member Nations.
336 people subscribed to the e-mail conference and 76 messages were posted by people living in 25 different countries. Nearly two thirds of messages came from people living in developing countries. Roughly one third of the messages came from people working in universities, one third from people working in research centres while 12% came from people working as independent consultants, 9% for the government and 4-5% each from people in the private sector, non-governmental organizations or inter-governmental organizations.
During the 5-week conference, participants discussed, in particular, their experiences and viewpoints on public-private partnerships and South-South cooperation as well as on the importance and modalities of involving smallholder farmers in partnerships. Of the different food and agricultural sectors, most discussion was on crops and then livestock.
See the messages posted, as well as the 13-page Background Document to the conference, at http://www.fao.org/biotech/biotech-forum/en/.