Advancing biotechnology

Expanding biotechnology at all levels
Supporting development of biotechnology

The possibilities of modern biotechnology are virtually endless. It will transform the agricultural, nutrition and health sectors. A growing number of commentators argue that modern biotechnology will even rewrite the way in which we define ourselves as human beings.

Biotechnology promises to make a significant contribution to meet the growing consumption needs of the global population and other challenges. It has the potential to enable the development of better health care, enhanced food security, and improved supplies of better quality water. New biotechnology may also provide more efficient industrial development processes for transforming raw materials, support for sustainable methods of afforestation and reforestation, better sewage treatment, improved decontamination of land and soil, and detoxification of hazardous wastes.


According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, 'biotechnology' means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.

Biotechnology is one of many tools that can play an important role to support the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and landscapes. New biotechnologies also offer opportunities for global partnerships between countries rich in biological resources (including genetic resources) and those that have developed the technological expertise to transform biological resources, hopefully to serve the needs of sustainable development. In this regard the question of benefit-sharing is being discussed.

Developments in this sector, however, are also raising a number of questions related to human values; they might irreversibly change ecological, economic and social dynamics. Increasingly numerous voices highlight the still poorly understood risks associated with biotechnologies. We know too little about the ecological interactions among the multitude of micro-organisms and higher organisms involved. It remains uncertain, in the long run, how the environment will react to the release of genetically modified organisms. Ecological damage might occur and become known only after decades. The Biosafety Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity is an initial step to meet these concerns.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

International Organization for Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Asian-Pacific Society of Marine Biotechnology
International Society for Environmental Biotechnology
European Federation of Biotechnology
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Centre for International Services to Mushroom Biotechnology
Inter-Islamic Network on Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
European Association of Bioindustries
Technical Cooperation Network on Agricultural Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean
Green Industry Biotechnology Platform
Foundation for African Development through International Biotechnology
Latin American Biotechnology Network
ASEAN Biotechnology Information Service Network
European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
Cassava Biotechnology Network for Latin America and the Caribbean
European Campaign on Biotechnology Patents
International Biotechnology Forum
Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference Foundation
Asian Maize Biotechnology Network
International Institute for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean, Venezuela
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Regional Biotechnology Center for Central America and the Caribbean
International Biotechnology Scientific Association
UNU Programme for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean
European Biotechnology Information Service
China-EC Biotechnology Centre, Beijing
International Meeting on Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
African Agency for Biotechnology
European Committee on Regulatory Aspects of Biotechnology
Latin American Biotechnology and Bioengineering Association
Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal