Biotechnology is a revolutionary tool that can change the agriculture sector.
Through the science of agricultural biotechnology, crops can be made resistant to certain diseases, to stressful environmental conditions, and some chemicals. The technology can reduce spoilage and make produce more nutritious, and it has the potential to spur economic growth, increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and lessen the impact of agriculture on the environment.
APEC ministers and leaders recognize how important it is to communicate to the public the value of such produce, and how important it is to make sure that these products are safe. The APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) is a recognition of this.
Through the HLPDAB, policy makers develop regulatory frameworks, facilitate technology transfers, encourage investment and strengthen public confidence in biotechnology in order to increase agricultural productivity and to protect the environment, with the ultimate objective of promoting food security.
The first high level policy dialogues on agricultural biotechnology took place in 2002.
The latest HLPDAB plenary meeting (HLPDAB 16), which took place on 20 August 2017, during APEC Food Security Week in Can Tho, Viet Nam, endorsed the annual Work Plan and updated the HLPDAB Strategic Plan 2016-2018. Delegates deliberated on outcomes of the annual HLPDAB Workshop under the theme “Driving from 1G to 5G,” provided updates on policies relating to agricultural biotechnology, and engaged in policy discussions on the use of agricultural biotechnology in response to climate change and sustainable development and public-private partnership on agricultural biotechnology.
The next annual HLPDAB meeting will take place in Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea, during APEC Food Security Week in August 2018.
HLPDAB Strategic Plan (2016-2018): The Strategic Plan focuses on three main objectives:
- Establish main mechanisms to ensure continued information exchange on economies’ experience with agricultural biotechnology and other innovative agricultural technologies;
- Promote transparent, science-based and functioning regulatory systems to support the development, application and trade of innovative agricultural technologies and biotechnologies for the benefit of APEC member economies;
- Facilitate the management of regulatory differences by endeavoring to develop solutions to global challenges with respect to innovative agricultural technologies—including trade-related issues—and improve the ability of APEC economies to communicate effectively about these issues.
Activities for 2017: The HLPDAB aims to conduct activities to meet the objectives of the Strategic Plan, with particular focus on agricultural biotechnology to enhance food security, low-level presence (LLP) in food and feed trade, data transportability, science communication, and policy perspectives on enabling innovation and new breeding techniques. Notable activities will include:
1. A feasibility study to update the “Baseline Review of APEC Member Economies’ Regulations of Products Derived from Innovative Agricultural technologies” and the ways forward (April-November); and
2. Workshop on Agricultural Biotechnology: “Driving from 1G to 5G”.
Cross-cutting issues: The HLDAB has identified cross-cutting issues on food security, climate-smart agriculture, trade facilitation/eliminating market barriers and making the best use of natural resources with the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) and the Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) and shall identify and share relevant policy recommendations with both groups with a view to contribute to the preparation of the Food Security Ministerial agenda. The HLPDAB will also look into possible cross-fora collaboration in conducting APEC projects with relevant fora.
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The 12th Meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was hosted and chaired by Indonesia.
The two-part workshop, Fostering the Benefits of Innovation in Plant Breeding and Science Communication, was conducted for APEC economy regulators and policy makers to gain knowledge of new innovations in plant breeding and lessons in science communication.
The two-day APEC workshop: Strengthening Innovation and Cooperation among APEC Economies to Advance Science and Facilitate Trade (HLPDAB 01 2016T) was conducted on the margins of the HLPDAB 15 Meeting to discuss functioning current regulatory practices, including practical examples of regulatory compatibility/convergence/harmonization; and the sharing of resources including recognition policies and agreements.
Dr. Sergie BANG
Director General of the National Agriculture Research Institute, Papua New Guinea
Mr Elias M. TAIA
Science and Technology Branch, Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Papua New Guinea
Mr Pruthipong POONTHRIGOBOL