The subject of biotechnology
to increase food production has sparked controversy and debate.
argue that the use of biotechnology can increase the efficiency of farmers
particularly in developing nations. They also point to the increased resistance
to pests and herbicides, the greater nutritional content and the positive effect
on the environment that it can have.
Opponents cite the unknown long term consequences and ethical implications as
their primary reservation in its use. They advocate further testing and stricter
Conference at United Nations
parts of the world, such as the US and Japan have embraced biotechnology, other
areas and markets have continued to express reservations. In the meantime,
people are dying from hunger and disease all over the world.
For this reason, the Congress of Racial Equality, which has
consultative NGO status with the United Nations, decided to
co-sponsor, along with the Economic and Social Council of the UN
(ECOSOC), an all day conference to examine all sides of this hot
Ambassador Aminu Wali, the Permanent Representative to the U.N. from
Nigeria agreed to host this important event as part of a 2-day
celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday.
The Conference was held on Tuesday, January 18,
2005, and was a huge success. More that 800 people, including
several students from some of the city’s top science orientated high
schools, jammed the Trusteeship Council Chambers at the UN
headquarters on 1st Avenue.
World renowned experts in the areas of agriculture,
GM foods and other biotech sciences debated the pros and cons of the
Dr. Decio Ripandelli, Deputy Director-General, ICGEB;
Mr. Clive James - Chairman, Board of Directors ISAAA; H.E. Mr. Mohd
Isa Rastam – Ambassador, Malasia; H.E. Bruno van der Pluijm –
Ambassador, Belgium; Dr. Herb
London - President, Hudson Institute; Deroy Murdock – Columnist;
Dr. Sujatha Sankula - Director of Biotechnology,
National Center of Food & Agricultural Policy; Dr. Carl
Pray – Professor, Rutgers
University Dept. of Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics; Dr.
Richard Bennett - Univ. of Reading, Department of Agriculture & Food Economics; Dr. Stephen Morse,
Berkshire, UK; Ms. Florence Chenoweth, Director, Food & Agricultural
Organizations (FAO) UN; H.E. Mr. Baki Ilkin – Ambassador, Turkey;
Dr. Stewart Firestein, Columbia University, Bio-Sciences;
Dr. Don McKenzie -
Executive VP, Agriculture -Biotechnology Strategies, Canada; Dr.
Bruce Chassy - Dean, Food Safety, Regulatory Systems, Univer. of
Illinois; Nicholass Kalaitzandonakes - Professor,
Agribusiness & Director, Economics & Management of Agrobiotechnology
Center, University of Missouri; Mr. Jacques Coicaud - Director,
United Nations University; Dr. Paul B. Thompson –
Professor, Agricultural Ethics, Michigan State University; Dr.
Albert Ayen - Professor, Rutgers University;
Mr. Earnest Larry;
Mr. Chengal Peddireddy Reddy Chairman, Indian Federation of Farmers,
Hyderabad, India; Professor Ruth K. Oniang’o - Founder, Rural
Outreach Program and Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Food,
Nutrition and Development; H.E. Mr. S. Hackett – Ambassador,
Barbados; H.E. Irena Zubcevic – Ambassador, Croatia; Dr. Bob
Goldberg, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research; Dr.
Gary Comstock – Executive VP, AGBIOS, Canada;
Mr. Harald Schmidt - Director, Nuffield Council on Biotechnology,
London, UK; Mr. Youssef Sabri - Deputy Director, UNIDO; H.E. Teruneh Zenna – Ambassador,
Jose Briz – Ambassador, Guatamala; Julian Morris Director, International
Orobola Fasehun - Director, WIPO; Ed Vasallo, Esq - Intellectual
Properties Attorney, Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto.
Sessions dealt with the adoption, ethics, regulations, impact
andproperty rights aspects of the use of biotechnology to enhance
the production of food in third world countries.
on this and future conferences, Call: (212) 598-4000