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Monday, August 06, 2007


GM Crops can help achieve UN Millenium Development Goals

by Rudy A. Fernandez
The Philippine Star, Sunday, August 5, 2007

JAKARTA — Genetically modified (GM) crops can help humankind attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set by the United Nations, it was asserted here recently by an internationally known research administrator.

“By far, the most important potential contribution of biotech crops will be their contribution to the humanitarian Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and hunger by 50 percent by 2015,” stressed Dr. Clive James, founder and president of the International Services for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

His forum was an international symposium on biotechnology held at the Indonesian Department of Agriculture in this capital city organized by Indonesian biotechnology entities.

The symposium was supported by the Indonesian Biotechnology Consortium, Indonesian Biotechnology Student Forum, Indonesia-based Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Tropical Biology (SEAMEO-BIOTROP), and ISAAA.

The participants included scientists, researchers, members of the academe, industry, and media practitioners, among them this writer.

The UN Millennium Development Goals form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.

Eight goals have been identified and set to be accomplished by 2015.

First in the list of the eight MDGs is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, followed by achievement of universal primary education.

The others are promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.

Dr. James pointed out that the rapid growth of the world population continues to spawn problems of global dimension, particularly poverty and hunger.

As of 1999, he said, the world’s population hit the six billion mark. By 2050, there shall be nine billion people inhabiting planet earth.

Against the grim backdrop of population explosion is the diminution of crop lands.

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