|CONGRESSES, MEETINGS AND WORKSHOP PROCEEDINGS|
International Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
CHINA WORKSHOP ON PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY
Beijing, May 19-22
ADDRESS BY THE CO-CHAIRS OF THE WORKSHOP
Agricultural Biotechnology to feed a growing world population: the need for a global consortium of technology transfer
International and Regional Ag-Biotechnology
Alejandro Mentaberry, Instituto de Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular, Ingebi, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Zaida Lentini, Centro de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia.
David Berger, ARC-Roodeplaat, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa.
Raj.K.Bhatnagar, International Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, Component, India.
Applications of Ag-Biotechnology for improvements of key crops in China
Guo-ying Wang, National Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China)
Shi-Rong Jia, Biotechnology Research Center, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081
Hong Guofan, Center of Biotechnology in Shanghai under the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Qifa Zhang, National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
Emerging key technologies
Zhang-Liang Chen, Li-Jia Qu, Chonglin Yang, Guofeng Zhu, and Hongya Gu, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
V. Siva Reddy, International Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, Component, India
Sudhir K. Sopory, International Centre of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, Component, India.
Eric Lam, Associate Professor of Plant Science, Biotech Center, 59 Dudley Road, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.
Nilgun E. Tumer, Rong Di, Katalin Hudak and Oleg Zoubenko, Biotech Center for Agriculture and the Environment, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520
Formation of a global consortium for the Transfer of Ag-Biotechnologies
Free discussions by all researchers interested in the establishment of an Organizing Committee to draft the basis of the Consortium and possible sources of funding.
VI SESSION OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF ICGEB
The World Consortium on Plant Biotechnology
A PROPOSAL TO BE PRESENTED BY THE GOVERNOR OF VENEZUELA, AT POINT 12 OF THE AGENDA: FOLLOW UP OF THE JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD WITH THE COUNCIL OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISERS
The Governors of Venezuela and Bulgaria, together with the Chairman of the Council of Scientific Advisers, and the Head of the New Delhi Component, organized an ICGEB-sponsored workshop on PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY, that was held in Beijing, from May 19-21, 1999. This workshop emerged from the broad actions suggested by the Report of the Working Group on the Joint Session of the Board of Governors with the Council of Scientific Advisors, headed by Dr. Xiaochen Gu, that took place last September 28-30, in Trieste during the fifth session of the Board of Governors, and in particular we have focused on the following issue for a future additional role of ICGEB in Member States:
"Become a point of interface between scientists and technologists of Member States interested in the development of biotechnology in their own countries through the organization of respective workshops. These workshops could consider various aspects of the possible activities of the research institutions in Member States in co-ordination with ICGEB, while addressing themes such as the relationship with the industrial sector, scientific issues at the cutting edge of science and the legal, regulatory and ethical aspects of biological and biotechnological research, which may lead to new strategies in biotechnology. The proposals originating from Member States and from members of the CSA should be addressed to the Director, who will make a decision on the workshop(s) to organize, in consultation with the CSA."
The meeting, considered research and cooperation activities in the area of plant biotechnology that are being developed in selected institutes and laboratories from four continents, namely, North and South America, South Africa, Europe, and Asia. Accordingly, the meeting was divided into three main sections: (a) Multilateral and/or international and regional programs of plant biotechnology, developed primarily in South America, India, and South Africa; (b) the national program of ag-biotech of the host country, China and; (c) emerging key technologies, from laboratories of the United States, ICGEB in India, and China. These presentations gave us a look of the feasibility for the formation of a world consortium of plant biotechnology within the framework of ICGEB as "…a point of interface between scientists and technologists of Member States interested in the development of biotechnology in their own countries..".
The workshop was jointly sponsored by a host of international and national agencies and programs such as ICGEB, the Ibero American Program of Science and Technology for Development (CYTED, Madrid, Spain), the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, a member of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research, CGIAR, in Cali, Colombia); and several governmental agencies from China such as the Ministry of Science and Technology and the China National Centre for Biotechnology and Development. During this event, a group of scientists from institutes and laboratories in North and South America, South Africa, Europe, and Asia presented successful examples of international and regional collaborations in plant biotechnology from four continents, such as those of ICGEB in India, CIAT, CYTED (which encompasses 21 countries of Latin America, Spain and Portugal); as well as national programs in countries such as China, Bulgaria, and South Africa. It thus became clear that a technological platform could be built from the virtual integration and/or alignment of international research centers and programs, with universities and institutes from different countries of the North and the South.
It was also evident from the workshop that ICGEB represents a unique vehicle to make possible this multinational cooperation for development because of its current research and conference infrastructure, institutional mandate and legal status as a truly international center representing a worldwide community of 41 Member States.
JUSTIFICATION OF THE CONSORTIUM
From all of the presentations of the China workshop it emerged key needs as the focus of future collaborations within the framework of a Consortium organized with ICGEB among Member States and other countries. These needs are the following:
OBJECTIVES AND STRUCTURE OF THE CONSORTIUM
There is then an important and urgent need for a Global Consortium on Plant Biotechnology (GCBT) assembled with the following objectives and gradual levels of international cooperation and corresponding funding:
The Consortium will be organized into Collaborative Working Groups (CWGs), with their respective scientific coordinators that will form the Organizing Committee of GCBT. Each of these scientists will be responsible for organizing the collaboration in their respective CGWs for attaining the different levels depicted above, as well as to make available to the GCBT of all the requested information (as needed) pertaining to their areas of expertise and research:
Dr. Rafael Rangel-Aldao, was unanimously elected chairman of the organizing committee of GCBT.
General and specific crops of research collaboration: the group reached a consensus to focus around the general subject of gene discovery by the sustainable exploration and exploitation of the biodiversity present in the countries and regions participating in the CGBT. The specific focus will be in the following major crops: Rice, Potato, Maize, Cotton, and Cassava.
Sources of Funding: The group considered a step-wise approach to obtain funding as each level of cooperation materialize over a period of time that could span up to ten years. Level 1 implies just traveling to ICGEB in Trieste which was chosen as an ideal meeting point because of ICGEB infrastructure and its geographical location (flights roughly equidistant to America, Asia, and Africa). Levels 1, 2 and 3 could be partially funded by ICGEB and the local institutions of participating scientists, and for Level 3, project cooperation, it was envisaged a new type of grants from ICGEB, outlined below, by which three or more groups apply together as a network focusing on some of the scientific aspects as presented at the end of this proposal. For Levels 4 to 6, a global or multilateral collaboration proposal could be made to be submitted to international development banks (i.e. World Bank) by ICGEB.
ADVANTAGES OF THE CONSORTIUM:
The successful implementation of the consortium, even at its first three levels, could bring to the group, ICGEB, and Member States, the following benefits, among others:
SUPPORT AND FUNDING BY ICGEB
This new type of granting system, to be established in addition to the current one in practice, will consist in calling and funding collaborative projects of three or more countries and/or laboratories centered around technologies where ICGEB is scientifically strong. These areas, clustered by the Consortium as CWS, are: (a) Abiotic stress resistance, (b) insect resistance and, (c) technology development, as indicated above. We also ask ICGEB to strengthens its research in the other areas of the CWS, namely, genomics, yield and quality, and disease resistance.
FOLLOW-UP OF THE JOINT MEETING OF THE BOARD WITH THE COUNCIL OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISERS
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