Levelling the playing field?
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CTA. 1999. Levelling the playing field?. Spore 81. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48467
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore81.pdf
Biotechnologies in developing countries: present and future, Volume 2: International Cooperation. A Sasson. 1997. 764 pp.
The world is neither flat, nor completely round, nor smooth. One of the areas of greatest disparity between regions of the world today, and for decades to come, is in the creation, sharing, and storing of scientific knowledge. In the field of biotechnology and development, the myth of 'One World' is not at all tenable, as facilities and information are mostly concentrated in the North. One leading player in biotechnology, the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development (NFSD), has stated that 'food security in the developing countries must not come to depend on surpluses from the industrialised countries or, worse, food aid'. The same sense of justice prompts many to argue that the distribution of scientific knowledge and experience should also not be driven by the laws of surplus or occasional aid from North to South. In Biotechnologies in developing countries: present and future, Volume 2: International Cooperation, Albert Sasson adds to the impact already made by his first volume, published in 1993. He emphasises that international cooperation is the only way by which the world community will be able to share the benefits-and the responsibilities-of biotechnologies in development. It is necessary, he says, to encourage research and development, to train specialists and technicians and promote collaboration between them, and to adapt biotechnologies to different social and economic settings. A catalyst among international institutions, Professor Sasson presents a detailed overview of the major world bodies and research centres involved in biotechnology. Herein lies the most valuable aspect of the volume: it not only raises key issues, but is also an annotated 'Who's Who?' of biotechnology. It is noteworthy though, that despite the author's visions, a possible flaw in the approach to international cooperation is not discussed. Conventional progressive thinking assumes that all creation and utilisation of knowledge has to be distributed more evenly around the planet. As electronic communication has now really started to change the significance of distance, will there always be a 'North', a 'South', and an 'International'? Perhaps what really matters is cooperation, not the location. Biotechnologies in developing countries: present and future, Volume 2: International Cooperation. A Sasson. 1997. 764 pp. ISBN 92 3 1034602 FFR 280 (e43) Unesco Publishing 7 place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris, France
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