Themes: Biotechnology | 43

is a decision that requires a comprehensive understanding of the products, the problems to be solved and the societ­ies in which they may be used [CWANA Chapter 5]. Thus, whatever choices are made, the integration of biotechnology must be within an enabling environment supported by local research [Global Chapter 6] and education that empowers local communities [CWANA Chapter 1].

Social equity
Two framing perspectives on how best to put modern bio­technology to work for achieving sustainability and de­velopment goals are contrasted in the IAASTD. The first perspective [e.g., see Global Chapter 5] argues that modern biotechnology is overregulated and this limits the pace and full extent of its benefits. According to the argument, regu­lation of biotechnology may slow down the distribution of products to the poor [Global Chapter 5].
     The second perspective says that the largely private con­trol of modern biotechnology [Global Chapter 5] is creat­ing both perverse incentive systems, and is also eroding the public capacity to generate and adopt AKST that serves the public good [e.g., see Global Chapters 2, 7]. The integra­tion of biotechnology through the development of incen­tives for private (or public-private partnership) profit has not been successfully applied to achieving sustainability and development goals in developing countries [Global Chapter 7], especially when they include the success of emerging and small players in the market. Consolidation of larger eco­nomic units [CWANA Chapter 1; Global Chapter 3; NAE Chapters 2, 6] can limit agrobiodiversity [Global Chapter 3] and may set too narrow an agenda for research [Global Chapters 2, 5]. This trend might be slowed through broa­dening opportunities for research responsive to local needs.
     The rise of IPR frameworks since the 1970s, and es­pecially the use of patents since 1980, has transformed research in and access to many products of biotechnology [Global Chapter 2; NAE Chapter 2]. Concerns exist that IPR instruments, particularly those that decrease farmers' privilege, may create new hurdles for local research and de­velopment of products [Global Chapters 2, 6; SSA Chapter 3]. It is unlikely, therefore, that over regulation per se in­hibits the distribution of products from modern biotechnol­ogy because even if safety regulations were removed, IPR would still likely be a significant barrier to access and rapid adoption of new products. This may also apply to the fu­ture development of new GM crops among the largest seed companies, with costs incurred to comply with IP require­ments already exceeding the costs of research in some cases [Global Chapters 6, 7].
     Products of biotechnology, both modern and conven­tional, are frequently amenable to being described as IP and increasingly being sold as such, with the primary holders of this IP being large corporations that are among those most capable of globally distributing their products [Global Chapter 2]. Even under initiatives to develop "open source" biotechnology or return some IP to the commons, the devel­opers may have to adequately document the IP to prevent others from claiming it and restricting its use in the future.
     This ability to develop biotechnologies to meet the needs of IP protection goals may undervalue the past and pres­ent contribution by farmers and societies to the platform


upon which modern biotechnology is built [ESAP Chapter 5; Global Chapters 2, 6, 7]. It is not just the large transna­tional corporations who are interested in retaining control of IP. Public institutions, including universities, are becom­ing significant players and in time, holders of TLK may also [Global Chapter 7].
     IP protected by patents can be licensed for use by oth­ers. Currently it is contracts and licenses [Global Chapter 2] that dominate the relationship between seed developers and farmers [Global Chpater 2]. For example, farmers and CGIARs enter into contracts and material transfer agree­ments (MTAs) with a seed company, or a community-based owner of TK. These contracts can help resolve some access issues, but can simultaneously create other legal and finan­cial problems that transcend easy fixes of patent frameworks alone [Global Chapters 2, 5].

Technical and Intensification Issues
Since  agriculture  (excluding wild fisheries)  already  uses nearly 40% of the Earth's land surface [Global Chapter 7], biotechnology could contribute to sustainability and devel­opment goals if it were to help farmers of all kinds produce more from the land and sea already in use, rather than by producing more by expanding agricultural land [SSA Chap­ter 1]. In addition to meeting future food needs, agriculture is increasingly being considered as an option to meet energy needs [Global Chapter 6], which exacerbates the pressures on yield [ESAP Chapter 5]. Food security, however, is a multi-dimensional challenge, so the demands on biotechnol­ogy in the long term will extend far beyond just increasing yield [NAE Chapter 6, SDM].

How agriculture is conducted influences what and how much a society can produce. Biotechnology and the produc­tion system are inseparable, and biotechnology must work with the best production system for the local community [ESAP Chapter 5]. For example, agroecosystems of even the poorest societies have the potential through ecological agriculture and IPM to meet or significantly exceed yields produced by conventional methods, reduce the demand for land conversion for agriculture, restore ecosystem services (particularly water), reduce the use of and need for synthetic fertilizers derived from fossil fuels, and the use of harsh in­secticides and herbicides [Global Chapters 3, 6, 7]. Likewise, how livestock are farmed must also suit local conditions [CWANA Chapter 1]. For example, traditional "pastoral societies are driven by complex interactions and feedbacks that involve a mix of values that includes biological, social, cultural, religious, ritual and conflict issues. The notion that sustainability varies between modern and traditional societ­ies needs to be" generally recognized [Global Chapter 6]. It may not be enough to use biotechnology to increase the number or types of cattle, for instance, if this reduces local genetic diversity or ownership, the ability to secure the best adapted animals, or they further degrade ecosystem services [CWANA Chapters 1,5; Global Chapter 7].
     Agroecosystems   are   also   vulnerable  to   events   and choices made in different systems. Some farming certifica­tion systems, e.g., organic agriculture, can be put at risk by GMOs, because a failure to segregate them can under-