UNIDO and partners launch International Industrial Biotechnology Network

UNIDO and partners launch International Industrial Biotechnology Network

VIENNA, 29 March 2010 – An International Industrial Biotechnology Network (IIBN), which will assist its members in accessing and developing biotechnologies for sustainable industrial development, was launched at a Symposium hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna today.

IIBN will add economic value to underutilized or unexplored biological resources through the use of novel biotechnology techniques and processes. It seeks to catalyze South-South and North-South partnerships between public research institutions, industry and regulatory agencies committed to sharing expertise and technology to generate economic value from biodiversity and thereby reduce the pressure from biota.

"We need to create strong linkages between agriculture and industry and the importance of applying science and technology to agricultural production processes," said UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, during his opening statement.

Through its activities, IIBN aims to contribute to achieving the mission of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 that is to safeguard irreplaceable natural wealth and reduce biodiversity loss.

The Symposium is co-organized with the Institute of Plant Biotechnology for Developing Countries and the University of Ghent (Belgium). The Network is supported by the Flanders/UNIDO Science Trust Fund for Industrial Biotechnology.

IIBN will receive EUR 1.25 million as seed money over the next five years through the Flemish Ministry for Innovation, Public Investment, Media and Poverty Reduction (Belgium). IIBN network members are expected to provide counterpart contributions.

Participants at the Symposium, including Nobel Prize laureates Richard Roberts and Werner Arber, as well as Marc Van Montagu, the President of the European Federation of Biotechnology, will discuss global trends, technological developments, the implications of technology transfer, and novel approaches on utilization of biotechnology.

The event will also focus on bio-products and bio-processes relevant to regions compromised by climate change and ecological erosion. These include medicinal plants, energy and chemical feedstocks for local use or biotechnology-enabled production processes with better efficiency and reduced environmental footprint.

The Network welcomes partnerships with other public research organizations, governmental institutions and the private sector from industrialized countries, as well as developing nations.

For more information on the Network and how to join, go to: http://www.ugent.be/we/genetics/ipbo/en/networking/iibn

To read a feature article on biotechnology and the UNIDO/IIBN cooperation, click here

For more information on UNIDO, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev, UNIDO Advocacy and media specialist, +43-650-391-5278

Or write to communications@unido.org