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In: The global possible: resources, development, and the new century, edited by Robert Repetto. New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University Press, 1985. 491-519. (World Resources Institute Book)Participants at the Global Possible Conference in 1984 concluded that, despite the dismal predictions about the earth, we can still fashion a more secure, prosperous, and sustainable world environmentally and economically. The tools to bring about such a world already exist. The international community and nations must implement new policies, however. Government, science, business, and concerned groups must reach new levels of cooperation. Developed and developing countries must form new partnerships to implement sustained improvements in living standards of the world's poor. Peaceful cooperation is needed to eliminate the threat of nuclear war--the greatest threat to life and the environment. Conference working groups prepared an agenda for action which, even though it is organized along sectoral disciplines, illustrates the complex linkages that unite issues in 1 area with those in several others. For example, problems existing in forests tie in with biological diversity, energy and fuelwood, and management of agricultural lands and watersheds. The agenda emphasizes policies and initiatives that synergistically influence serious problems in several sectors. It also tries to not present solutions that generate as many problems as it tries to solve. The 1st section of the agenda covers population, poverty, and development issues. it provides recommendations for developing and developed countries. It discusses urbanization and issues facing cities. The 3rd section embodies freshwater issues and has 1 list of recommendations for all sectors. The agenda addresses biological diversity, tropical forests, agricultural land, living marine resources, energy, and nonfuel minerals in their own separate sections. It discusses international assistance and the environment in 1 section. Another section highlights the need to assess conditions, trends, and capabilities. The last section comprises business, science, an citizens.
Development: Seeds of Change. 1987; (4):11-8.3 basic categories of institutions in research and development (R&D) of biotechnology include universities, small biotechnology R&D venture capital financed firms, and transnational corporations in the US and other more developed countries (MDCs). Almost 24 transnationals, which predominantly manufacture pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, lead the biotechnology industry by contracting research arrangements with universities or venture capital financed firms or by establishing their own R&D, manufacturing, and marketing activities in biotechnology. On the other hand, in less developed countries (LDCs), the private sector plays no role or a relatively small role in biotechnology. National level government programs are developing biotechnology capabilities in some LDCs, however. In MDCs, the move towards privatization of biotechnology, especially with the ability to patent technologies, restricts the free flow of research information, thereby inhibiting the diversity and pace of technological innovation, widening the technological gap between MDCs and LDCs, and thus maintaining LDCs' dependence on MDCs. The leading role of transnational corporations in biotechnology R&D causes skewed research priorities that the corporations determine based on their own global strategies. These research priorities are determined by potential profit, and not by the needs of the LDCs. Even though products of biotechnology have the capability to improve the lives of many in the world, they displace more traditional products of LDCs. For example, sugar will soon be displaced by immobilized enzyme technology produced high fructose, therefore affecting the economies and poor of sugar exporting nations. LDCs must act now so as not to fall behind in the biotechnology revolution, such as establishing their relevance at the grass roots level.