WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 24, 2007) – The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate for the continued adoption of agricultural biotechnology in the Americas as part of IICA’s Hemispheric Biosafety and Biotechnology Program (HBBP). As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, both organizations will promote agricultural biotechnology initiatives that benefit the Americas around the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the International Plant Protection Convention, and World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.
“Formalizing the collaborative efforts between BIO and IICA will promote the development of national and regional policies and regulatory frameworks for agricultural biotechnology,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “Today, more than 80 percent of global biotech acreage lies in the Americas — with a total of nine countries in North, Central, and South America growing biotech crops. Today’s signing of the MOU will allow our two organizations to continue to encourage the acceptance of agricultural biotechnology by aiding countries in identifying their unique needs when implementing this technology.”
“Through the Hemispheric Biosafety and Biotechnology Program, IICA has worked to ensure that countries in the Americas are able to implement agricultural biotechnology and to meet international trade and environmental obligations,” said Dr. Jim Butler, Deputy Director General of IICA. “Today’s signing of the MOU will allow for BIO and IICA to further align their efforts to improve the acceptance and implementation of agricultural biotechnology across the Americas, and make certain that more farmers and consumers will receive the socioeconomic, environmental, and financial benefits associated with biotech crops.”
BIO and IICA have previously cooperated in the promotion of agricultural biotechnology to support the development of an abbreviated system of food safety risk assessment for adventitious presence (AP) and on implementation issues for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. www.bio.org
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture is the specialized agency for agriculture of the inter-American system. Its mission is to support the Member States in their pursuit of progress and prosperity in the hemisphere through the modernization of the rural sector, promotion of food security, and development of an agricultural sector that is competitive, technologically prepared, environmentally managed, and socially equitable for the people of the Americas. For additional information, please go to: http://www.iica.int.
Advance media registration for the BIO International Convention is now available online. Registration is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. To register, please visit www.bio2007.org/Media. Reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations may register onsite with valid media credentials. All freelancers, college and online publications are strongly encouraged to register in advance by Friday, April 20, 2007.