Message from Ms. Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary of ESCWA

I am pleased to announce the launch of the first e-Forum to be hosted on the ESCWA Website. This is only the first in a series of online forums that we hope will promote dialogue on development priority areas in the Arab countries, and pave the way for the realization of joint research and development projects.

The current e-forum will be devoted to Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (BTGE), an area which holds both opportunities and threats for the Arab region. In almost 30 years of experience, some BTGE practices have become routine in several developed and developing countries. However, agricultural biotechnology is still firmly in the hands of a few gene “giants”, with scientists still uncovering new information every day. The Arab countries still have a long way in this regard, and we are currently witnessing the launch of a number of initiatives aimed at promoting research and development in BTGE in the region.

I invite all experts in the Arab region to contribute actively to this e-Forum, and express their valuable viewpoints.

I wish you all a fruitful e-Forum,

Mervat Tallawy
Executive Secretary, ESCWA

Statement by
Ms. Anhar Hegazi, Chief, Sustainable Development and ıProductivity Division

I would like to welcome participants to this electronic Forum on behalf of the ıDivision for Sustainable Development and Productivity of the United Nations ıEconomic and Social Commission for Western Asia. ı

The e-Forum on “Modern Biotechnology; Technical and Policy Implications in the ıNear East and North Africa Region” is designed as part of activities undertaken in the ıwork programme of the Division on Sustainable Development and Productivity ıı(SDPD) to promote harnessing technology for sustainable development. The e-Forum ıis implemented by the SDPD Team on Technology for Sustainable Development with ıthe objectives that are summarized in the Information Notes available on this website. ıSeveral of these objectives stand out in terms of their priority for future socio-ıeconomic development in the region. In particular, I would like to highlight the ıintegration of science and technology inputs as essential components in national ıdevelopment policies.ı
ı ı
It goes without saying that developments in science and technology, particularly in ıbiotechnology and genetic engineering (BTGE), have made considerable headway ıduring the past decade. BTGE developments impact a relatively wide range of issues. ıOn account of SDDP priorities this biennium (2004-2005) both agricultural and ıenvironmental implications of biotechnologies stand out. ı

I wish all participants fruitful interaction within the e-Forum and look forward to its ırecommendations, in the hope that it will lead to furthering cooperation and ınetworking within and between the countries of the region and with experts and ıcolleagues within the whole wide world. ı

Ms. Anhar Hegazi, Chief,
Sustainable Development and ıProductivity Division

Statement by Mr. Omar Bizri, Team Leader, Technology for Sustainable ıDevelopment Team

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all participants in this e-Forum, the ıfirst of its kind to be launched by the United Nations Economic and Social ıCommission for Western Asia (ESCWA).ı

This e-Forum is part of a series of activities initiated back in the nineties with the aim ıof promoting new technologies as bases for future socio-economic development. With ıparticular regard to biotechnology, the present e-Forum is also one of a series that ıincluded expert group meetings and detailed surveys and studies performed by ıESCWA in the latter part of the nineties. ı

Developments that took place during the past few years have highlighted the ıimplications of several recent developments in biotechnology for socio-economic ıdevelopment. The presently large, and widening, allocation of arable land in the ıdeveloped and developing countries to GM crops poses questions concerning a ıvariety of policy issues, ranging from trade to employment creation, from agricultural ıdevelopment to human health and the protection of biodiversity and the environment, ıin general. ı

We, in the UN-ESCWA Team on Technology for Sustainable Development, sincerely ıhope that the set of issues presented will help the community of scientists and ıtechnologists in the region engage in focused discussions on salient issues for ısustainable development in their respective countries. We further hope that the above ıissues, coupled to the substantive material provided will lead to the elaboration of ıcollaborative research and development agenda that the science and technology ıcommunity in the countries of the region may undertake through the establishment of ıcommunities of practice and related networking arrangements.ı

A report will be issued at the conclusion of this e-Forum with a full account of its ıproceedings and recommendations. An evaluation of the e-Forum will also be ıattempted on the basis of input by all participants.ı

I wish all participants a successful e-Forum and hope that this activity and many more ıwill serve the quest of sustainable socio-economic development in our region.ı

Mr. Omar Bizri, Team Leader,
Technology for Sustainable ıDevelopment Team


Useful Documents

Instructions for participating in the e-Forum



Last updated on 25/06/2007
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