Starvation and malnutrition in some developing and emerging countries pose a humanitarian challenge to the whole world. Much of the natural habitat in these countries may also be under threat from their need to grow more crops and from the adverse effects of intensive agriculture. A concerted effort by practitioners of life sciences worldwide would help to address these problems and offer hope for solutions.
One way that such help can be provided is through EAGLES (European Action on Global Life Sciences). This high-level network of experts in life sciences and various disciplines in the humanities aims to bring together Europeans and their counterparts in the developing world for scientific, public and political discussions. Through these debates, Europeans will become better informed about the needs and competencies of developing and emerging countries (DEC), and hence be able to suggest ways that European life sciences can contribute to meeting these demands. The Forum will also reflect on joint research strategies that will contribute to the achievement of the UN Millennium Development goals of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability.
INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS
Within this Specific Support Action, EAGLES has set up a food forum to focus on problems of malnutrition and environmental degradation in developing and emerging countries. It is working closely with other EAGLES groups which are studying health, the environment, water and energy. The main aim is to use review processes and improved communications to foster those EU policies and programmes in the life sciences sector that are most effective in meeting DEC needs.
The EAGLES Food Forum operates through a communications office that coordinates its programme. It directs and stimulates the flow of information and dialogue among the key players in the development of food, agriculture and biotechnology research programmes and policies in Europe and worldwide. In this way, it will also provide strategic input to the forthcoming Seventh Framework Programme. DEC and EU experts will present the needs of developing countries and their achievements in the field in a lecture programme in Europe and elsewhere, if appropriate.
EAGLES will also publish food reports on European and international policies and programmes relating to food supply and habitat in DEC. They will assess the scale and effectiveness of these efforts, for example looking at the potential role of biotechnology and techniques such as phyto-bioremediation in solving problems. Priority will be given to major cereal and commodity crops, imports and exports, and livestock and fish farming. The results of these studies will be discussed in annual food symposia held throughout the threeyear action.
Workshops will be held in DECs to address a set of relevant topics, such as ICT and food security in sub-Saharan Africa, challenges presented by the industrialisation of livestock production, and rice as a model to improve drought tolerance in cereals. Other topics are expected to emerge during the course of the EAGLES Food Forum.
Membership of the Food Forum includes experts in life sciences from Europe and developing countries. Europe and the USA are providing communications specialists to ensure that the objectives and findings are widely disseminated, and ethicists will ensure moral underpinning. Also represented are European organisations that regulate biotechnology development - the Forum is supported by European and international groups for biotechnology and agriculture.
The EAGLES Food Forum will foster dialogue between scientists in more- and less-developed countries and promote the responsible use of new knowledge to support food production and preserve important habitats in developing and emerging countries.
List of Partners
- European Federation of Biotechnology (Belgium)
- International Rice Research Institute (Philippines)
- National Research Foundation (South Africa)
- Beijing Genome Institute (China)
- Bibliotheca Alexandria (Egypt)
- Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (Spain)
- Full title:
- Food forum of the European action on global life sciences
- Contract n°:
- Project co-ordinator:
- David McConnell,
European Federation of Biotechnology
- EC Scientific Officer:
- Elisabetta Balzi,
- EU contribution:
- € 646,040
- Specific Support Action