REDBIO is the acronym for the Network of Plant Biotechnology Laboratories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it first came to life in 1990 when the FAO regional office organized a meeting in which 173 labs from 17 countries participated.
REDBIO Argentina, with FAO´s sponsorship, was officially established in January of 1991. In 2007, REDBIO Argentina Civil Association obtained legal status, and it now comprises more than 70 labs distributed across the entire country. It has more than 1,200 registered members and 160 accredited ones.
REDBIO is convinced that biotech will play a central role in solving the many challenges our society faces in the near future. Feeding and providing energy for a population that could reach 15 billion people will certainly be one of the major issues. In this scenario, agrobiotechnology is being applied to increase productivity, improve the nutritional value of food and develop cultivars that demand less or low-quality water. The urgent need for renewable sources of energy to replace fossil fuels is also being addressed, without losing the perspective that the answers have to take into account both biodiversity conservation and the food vs. energy conundrum.
We have an annual meeting coming up – REDBIO Argentina 2013 – and we’ve proposed the following leitmotif: “Biotechnology and Society: dialogues for a sustainable development.”
Our civilization has modified, almost entirely, the paradigms that were uncontested 50 years ago. This is particularly true in the communications arena. Ecology has taken center stage in this new scenario, and climate change, the diminishing of drinking water and exponential population growth are now an inevitable part of the world´s agenda.
Why do we need dialogues between biotechnology and society? Because in spite of a globalized and connected world, the public at large ignores the multiple benefits that biotechnology has introduced and can introduce into their lives. In fact, many times, biotechnology is misunderstood and even demonized by its most ardent disparagers. Can we really communicate the many promises that biotechnology holds? Judging from our current experience, the answer is negative, and it is our duty to overturn this. The term dialogue implies that we will need to adapt our language and find terms that will allow us to reach the common person. We need to make an effort to improve public perception of biotech through well-founded arguments and using a simple and comprehensible language. This achievement will be one of our main contributions to the sustainable development of our civilization.
We invite you to join us in Mar del Plata, Argentina, November 18–22.