Bolstering biotechnology research and education: building human and institutional capacities for the bioeconomy
Biotechnology is one of the fastest evolving and revolutionary “frontier issues” of our time. It is revolutionary in its ability to transform life itself in order to generate new products and services, with potential profound ethical, societal and economic impacts equal to those that followed the information and communication revolution. It has enormous transformational potential and will have an important impact on the work of the entire UN system, especially in relation to its work to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The rationale of building a productive biotech sector or ‘bioeconomy’ is in part to establish a low-carbon economy and to rely less on scarce/finite natural resources, and in other part to realize economic growth and value added through innovation (knowledge-based economy).
UNESCO has been traditionally engaged in promoting and supporting the biological sciences, in terms of research and education. This is demonstrated by UNESCO’s various networks, centres of excellence and university Chairs.
The biological sciences, biotechnology and all related fields are under the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP), which focuses on capacity building in training and research in the basic sciences and science education and on promoting the use of promising advances in the basic science to address environmental challenges, meet human needs and improve the quality of life and education.