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Introductory note


This is the report of the second session of the Panel of Eminent Experts on Ethics in Food and Agriculture, which was established by the Director-General in accordance with Article VI.4 of the FAO Constitution and Rule XXXV of the General Rules of the Organization, for a period of four years as of 1 January 2000.1 Its Terms of Reference, to raise public awareness and advise the Director-General on ethical issues in food and agriculture, are provided in Annex 1.


The Director-General appointed eight eminent experts from different scientific and other disciplines to serve on the Panel in their personal capacity for four years. The members of the Panel are Mr Francisco J. Ayala from the United States, Ms Chen Chunming from China, Mr Asbjørn Eide from Norway, Ms Noëlle Lenoir from France, Mr Mohammed Noor Salleh from Malaysia, Mr Mohammed Rami from Morocco, Ms Lydia Margarita Tablada Romero from Cuba and Mr Melaku Worede from Ethiopia. A summary biography for each Panel member is contained in Annex 2.


The Panel held its second session at FAO headquarters in Rome from 18 to 20 March 2002 with Mr Eide as Chair. It reviewed and reaffirmed the basic ethical concerns flowing from its Terms of Reference and selected six main themes for further discussion: i) ethical aspects of the global emergency of hunger, ii) ethical limits and challenges in the intensification of agriculture, iii) ethics and economic globalization in food and agriculture, iv) sharing the benefits of biotechnologies as part of the advancement of science, v) TRIPS, UPOV and Farmers’ Rights, and vi) GMOs and ethics in decision-making. The meeting ended with a discussion of future work. The agenda of the second session is provided in Annex 3.

The views expressed – some of which may be controversial – and the conclusions reached in the report are those of its independent members, and are not necessarily shared by FAO or its member countries.

1 See the Report of the Panel of Eminent Experts on Ethics in Food and Agriculture, First session, 26–28 September 2000, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2001 (may be downloaded at ).

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