Agricultural biotechnology is a revolutionary tool that is transforming the agricultural sector. It has the potential to spur economic growth, increase productivity in the agricultural sector, reduce hunger and malnutrition, and lessen the environmental impact of agricultural production.

APEC's High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) is a recognition of the importance APEC Ministers and Leaders place on member economies' work on the safe introduction of biotechnology products, and on obtaining public acceptance of these products.

Policy makers use the HLPDAB to develop regulatory frameworks, facilitate technology transfer, encourage investment and strengthen public confidence regarding biotechnology in order to increase agricultural productivity and protect the environment, with the ultimate objective of promoting food security.

The first high level policy dialogues on agricultural biotechnology took place in 2002.

Last page update: 29 June 2016

Current Activities

This year’s activities are within the framework of the HLPDAB Strategic Plan (2015-2018), which focuses on three priority areas including (1) Administration of innovative and emerging agricultural tools as part of the solution to global challenges; (2) Management of the differences in agricultural biotechnology regulatory system; and (3) Enhancement of public perception and understanding of agricultural biotechnology.

Annual HLPDAB Meeting: The annual HLPDAB plenary meeting (HLPDAB 15) will take place in the city of Piura, Peru, during the APEC Food Security Week in September 2016. HLPDAB 15 is an important avenue for APEC members to exchange information and discuss policy issues regarding the responsible use, development and adoption of innovative plant breeding and animal biotechnologies for inclusive growth.

APEC Projects: HLPDAB aims to conduct three projects in 2016 including

1. Survey and Workshop to review the Document on established Biosafety Regulations, harmonization gaps, and a draft on harmonized biosafety regulation in APEC (April-September);

2. Workshop on thresholds for Low Level Presence and Asynchronous Approvals in APEC (September); and

3) Workshop on Strengthening Innovation and Cooperation Among APEC Economies to Advance Science and Facilitate Trade (September).

Cross-cutting issues: HLDAB has identified cross-cutting issues on food security, climate smart agriculture, trade facilitation/eliminating market barriers and making the best use of natural resources with the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) and the Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) and shall identify and share relevant policy recommendations with both groups with a view to contribute to the preparation of the Food Security Ministerial agenda. The annual meeting and the workshops are aimed to build capacity for all member economies. These information exchanges will include improving production methods, practical resource sharing, and working solutions to many current regulatory challenges. The information shared will benefit both large and small-holder farmers.

Achievements

APEC HLPDAB Meeting, September 30 - October 1, 2015, Iloilo City

Philippines

The Policy Dialogue is a forum for APEC member economies to discuss issues of common interest with regard to agricultural biotechnology, including the safe introduction of biotechnology products and public acceptance of these products. Policy makers use the Policy Dialogue to promote public policy development, facilitate technology transfer, encourage investment and strengthen public confidence regarding biotechnology in order to increase agricultural productivity, protect the environment, and promote food security.

In the period 2016-2018, the Policy Dialogue proposes to continue advancing policy discussion and efforts in the following areas: 1) administration of innovative and emerging agricultural biotechnologies as part of the solution to global challenges; 2) regulatory system differences management; and 3) enhancement of public awareness and participation.

The three main topics of the 14th meeting  of the APEC HLPDAB were: 1) Managing asynchronous and asymmetric approvals of biotech products for trade, including Low Level Presence (LLP) in food and feed (policy approaches/initiatives, challenges and considerations); 2) Policy considerations and current practices on co-existence of agricultural production systems (conventional, organic and GM crops); and 3)Advances in animal biotechnology (livestock, fisheries and aquaculture), regulatory experience, and acceptability issues.

APEC HLPDAB Workshop, June 8-12, 2015, Manila, Philippines

The two-part workshop: Fostering the Benefits of Innovation in Plant Breeding and Science Communication was conducted for APEC economy regulators and policy makers to gain knowledge on new innovations in plant breeding and lessons in science communication.  The first two days were devoted to exploring new plant breeding innovations (including animal breeding) and how these innovations can meet agricultural challenges in the APEC region.  Discussions were also devoted to exploring how government policies and regulations can support these innovations. On the third day, participants joined a field trip to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) where they learned about the Golden Rice research and development and communication strategies, and other researches of the institute employing modern biotechnology applications in developing and improving rice varieties.  Participants were also able to visit the long-term continuous cropping experiment, the genetic transformation laboratory, and the international rice gene bank.  The last two days of the workshop delved into science communication.  Current practices, success stories and challenges in communicating biotechnology and the regulatory systems were discussed.

Key messages and lessons learned from the workshop include the following:

  1. Current and emerging challenges in agriculture that need to be addressed are, among others, food security, climate change, declining crop yields, emerging pests and diseases, and increasing volatility in food prices.

  2. New innovations for plant (and animal) breeding are now existent and their economic, environmental and social benefits are beginning to be appreciated.  Getting these new innovations from conception to development and eventually deployment is crucial, specifically in meeting food and nutritional security and address environmental challenges.

  3. Transparent and science-based regulations are necessary to advance the science and reap the benefits of new innovations.

  4. Regulatory systems should foster innovation.  Regulation of innovative technologies should be consistent with products from traditional breeding methods.

  5. Trade is a huge benefit to APEC economies and large source of income for APEC region farmers.  The value of harmonization of regulations and policies among APEC economies would increase trade.

  6. Science communication helps address knowledge gap among the public on the science behind biotechnology and the regulatory systems.  The importance of public engagement in decision making must be recognized.

APEC HLPDAB Meeting and Workshop, September, 15-16, 2014, Beijing, China

The thirteenth Meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was hosted and chaired by China. On September, 16, the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agriculture Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was held.  This half-day meeting focused on creating a positive HLPDAB Ministerial Statement, moving forward with APEC member economy proposals on biotechnology, amending the HLPDAB Terms of Reference and moving forward on a work plan for 2014-2015.  Prior to the HLPDAB, USDA/FAS and USAID/ATAARI sponsored a very successful workshop on the Biotechnology Life Cycle, which had almost 120 attendees. 

APEC HLPDAB Meeting and Workshop, June 25-28, 2013, Medan, Indonesia

Twelfth Meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) Hosted and Chaired by Indonesia.  In addition, the U.S. sponsored a workshop:  Regulatory Issues on Emerging Technologies, Medan, Indonesia, June, 25-28, 2013.  Strong support for biotechnology and trade were expressed by HLPDAB and during the FAS-cosponsored workshop by APEC member countries.  During the Regulatory Issues for Emerging Technologies workshop, 85 delegates held a frank discussion about new agricultural technologies and the need to create a fostering regulatory and trade environment.

The 11th plenary meeting of the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) was held on 26-27 May 2012 in Kazan, Russia. The meeting was chaired by Russia. The theme of the meeting was “Promote transparent and functioning regulatory systems to ensure safety and to facilitate investment in, and the development and application of, innovative biotechnologies for food security in APEC."

Participants discussed and reviewed the proposed HLPDAB Terms of Reference and the 2012 Work Plan. Members also discussed the implementation of the APEC Innovative Agricultural Technologies Initiative.

Presentations and discussions at the meeting focused on the following topics:

At the meeting, Russia put forward two initiatives to the representatives of the economies. The general themes are the development and coordination of systems of information sharing and knowledge exchange in the area of agricultural technologies; and the development and introduction of innovative agricultural technologies and biotechnologies, and improvement measures to mitigate impact of climate change.

The HLPDAB concluded with a panel discussion on LLP and the Biosafety Protocol.  Discussants emphasized the need for transparent and functioning regulatory systems to ensure safety and to facilitate investment in, and the development and application of innovative biotechnologies and trade in agricultural biotechnology products to help ensure food security in APEC.

Contacts

Alberto Dante MAURER (Mr)
National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA)
Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Peru
Rosa Angélica SÁNCHEZ
General Director for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology
National Institute of Agricultural Innovation (INIA)
Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Peru
Email: coordinator.hlpdab.2016@inia.gob.pe
Pruthipong Poonthrigobol (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat
Email: pp15@apec.org

Events

23 Aug 2017 ATCWG, PPFS,OFWG, HLPDAB Joint Meeting Can Tho, Viet Nam
21 Aug 2017 High-level Policy Dialogue on Agriculture Biotechnology Meeting Can Tho, Viet Nam