16 March 2002 --
The conference Biotechnology and Sustainable Development: Voices of the South and North, under the auspices of Dr. Yousef Wali Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt, was well attended. Participation included many international figures of prominence such as the Secretary general of OECD, and Federico Mayor, Gordon Conway, Rudy Rabbinge, Marc van Montagu, and Magdy Madkour, Adel Beltagy, Jennifer Thompson, and Ismail Serageldin among other notables. Governments from the developing world were present through representation from the ministries of agriculture, environment, health, education, scientific research, foreign affairs and international economy and trade. Prominent NGOs voices were present such as Pat Mooney and Adel AbuZahra. The discussions considered many different and new applications of biotechnology in health, in agriculture, in food production, in environmental protection and in industrial processes with the aim to generate an enlightened and informed public opinion and a responsible framework for decision making on this important set of new issues facing the world today. The participants considered the state of cutting edge science, ethical issues, safety issues, economic concentration and the role of multi-nationals, role of national private sector and governments, the concerns with economic concentration, and the arguments about trade. Also discussed were topics on intellectual property rights (IPR), regulatory regimes: and how to broker partnerships for action.