Position Statements on Biotechnology

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Website: http://www.undp.org

UNDP 2001 Report Supports Biotechnology

The Human Development Report 2001 commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme provides an analysis of the potential of biotechnology and information/communications technology for developing countries, particularly in reducing world poverty.

Developed countries have been urged to put aside their fears of genetically modified organisms and help poorer nations unlock the potentials of biotechnology. "Biotechnology offers the only or the best 'tool of choice' for marginal ecological zones, left behind by the green revolution but home to more than half of the world's poorest people," the Report said.

Highlights of the Report include the following insights:

  • The potential of biotechnology has barely been exploited. While the area planted to genetically modified (GM) crops increased from 2 million hectares in 1996 to 44 million hectares in 2000, 98% of that was in three countries: the United States, Canada and Argentina.
  • The current debates in Europe and the US over GM crops ignore the concerns and needs of developing countries. Western consumers who do not face food shortages or nutritional deficiencies or work in the fields are more likely to focus on food safety and the potential loss of biodiversity. Farming communities in developing countries are more likely to focus on potentially higher yields and greater nutritional value and reduced need for pesticides.
  • Regulated planting of biotech crops could reduce malnutrition and starvation in developing countries. Industry and governments should therefore increase investment to develop hardier strains of millet, sorghum, soybeans and other crops that feed much of the world's population.
  • The benefits of GM crops to developing countries are likely to outweigh their risks if their use is properly controlled. Developed countries should consider their expanded use on a case-to-case basis. The risks of GM crops would be best managed if rich and poor nations interacted more, and also if developing countries like China were to share their information more widely.
  • While acknowledging that risks to human health and the environment had fueled mistrust of new technologies, language has become a political weapon. 'Traitor technologies and 'frankenfoods', for example instill fear and anxiety. However, there has not been a single proven death from GM foods. While food safety is an important issue, the more dominant issue is lack of food.
  • There should be mandatory labeling of GM crops so that consumers and nations can make informed decisions.
  • Problems with biotechnology and food safety are often the result of poor policies, inadequate regulation and lack of transparency. Countries like Argentina and Egypt however, are examples of developing countries that are moving forward in creating national guidelines, approval procedure and research institutes to evaluate the risks of GM crops.

Click here to download the full report.

International Support:

  1. International Organizations
  2. Africa
  3. Asia
  4. Europe
  5. North America
  6. Latin America
  7. Oceania

International Organizations

- Food and Agricultural Organization
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- World Health Organization
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Environment Programme
- Third World Academy of Sciences

- Agenda 21
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- Vatican Pontifical Academy on Life

- International Council for Science Union

- International Life Sciences Institute


- International Society of African Scientists
- United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
- Africabio
- South African Minister Ngubane's statement at WSSD
- National Biotechnology Strategy for South Africa
- Former Kenyan President Moi's letter to US President Clinton

- Nigerian President Obasanjo's Statement


- Asian Development Bank
- Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Indian National Academy of Sciences
- National Academy of Science and Technology (Philippines)
- Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir's Speech at BioMalaysia 2002
- Policy Statement on Biotechnology (Philippines)


- Royal Society of London

- Prime Minister Blair's speech

- European Commission

- French Academy of Science

North America


United States of America

- American Medical Association
- American Society for Microbiology
- National Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council
- American Society of Plant Biologists
- Federation of Animal Science Societies
- American Midwest Farmers

  • American Agri-Women
  • American Soybean Association
  • National Chicken Council
  • National Corn Growers Association
  • National Cotton Council
  • National Milk Producers Federation
  • National Potato Council
  • National Turkey Federation
  • United Soybean Board


- Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee
- The Royal Society of Canada (The Canadian Academy of the Sciences and Humanities)
- Industry Canada (Federal Department of Industry)
- The 1998 Canadian Biotechnology Strategy: A Ongoing Renewal Process

Latin America

- Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Mexican Academy of Sciences


- New Zealand Royal Commission

- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
- Australia New Zealand Food Authority
- Australian Biotechnology: A National Strategy (2000)

- National Farmers' Federation

Home :: Global Status :: CBT Update :: Info Resource :: Events :: BICs :: Directory :: About Us :: Editorial Policy

Copyright © 2006. CropBiotech Net.