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dividerNews ArchivedividerThe 2nd Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network was held on October 24, 2023
The 2nd Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network  was held on October 24, 2023
The 2nd Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network was held on October 24, 2023

The meeting was jointly inaugurated by Dr. Mojtaba Khayam Nekouei, Deputy Minister and Director General of Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization of Iran (AREEO), Prof. Mohsen Mardi, Director General of Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII), and Mr. Gurkan Polat, Director of Agriculture and Industry Directorate of ECO Secretariat.
In his inaugural remarks, Dr. Mojtaba Khayam Nekouei warmly welcomed the participants. Acknowledging the significant role of modern Agricultural Biotechnology in enhancing food production in the ECO Region, he highlighted some sectoral problems, including low input efficiency, abiotic and biotic stresses, huge agricultural wastes, and environmental issues in the region. He said the conventional strategies are not enough to overcome these problems therefore application of modern biotechnologies in agriculture is necessary to enhance food production and to ensure food security in the region. Considering the scientific and economic opportunities available in the ECO Member Countries, he suggested that the agricultural biotechnology network should focus on the use of expert human resources, transfer of experiences and technical knowledge, information sharing, biosafety validation, risk management, and essential safety regulations in the member countries for the safe trade of these commodities.
Prof. Mohsen Mardi updated the meeting on the important role of the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran (ABRII) in the development of modern technologies in Iran. He lauded the establishment of the Agricultural Biotechnology Network and expressed willingness to share knowledge and experiences with the researchers and scholars of the ECO Member States.
Mr. Gurkan Polat, while inaugurating the meeting, highlighted the pivotal role of modern agricultural biotechnology in achieving economic growth and development. He also mentioned some of the key regional food security challenges such as climate shocks, loss of biodiversity, marine and coastal ecosystems, and global water crisis. He said that considering the abovementioned challenges, the use of biotechnology in agriculture is inevitable. He hoped that the enhanced collaboration among ECO Member States would drive us to our shared objective for sustainable development and ensuring food security in the region.
The ECO-ABN Coordinator, Dr. Amene Naseri presented a detailed report on the history and research status of Agricultural Biotechnology in Iran. Briefing on the importance and composition of the ECO Agricultural Biotechnology Network, she highlighted the main activities, progress, and plans of the ECO-ABN. In addition, she underlined the objectives of ECO-ABN as networking of national biotechnology institutes, researchers, scientists, engineers, and administrators, linking regional activities and collaborating with international organizations, laboratories, and relevant institutes of the member states, capacity building and conducting joint studies and research projects. Harmonization of bio-safety protocols and testing of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the ECO region were also among the issues that can be facilitated through the Network.
The Chair, Dr. Babak Nakhoda, a faculty member of ABRII, invited the delegates to deliver their statements/country report on Agricultural Biotechnology. The heads of delegations/representatives of the participating member states delivered statements about the activities, ongoing policies, and developments related to Agricultural Biotechnology issues. Ms. Narmin Karimli, Head of the Technological Transfer and Innovation Department of the Agrarian Innovation Center, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan expressed her gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran for hosting this important meeting and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation among the ECO Member States toward sustainable food security in the region. The representative of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Uran Chekirbaev, Deputy Director of the Organic Agriculture Department, and Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic underlined the substantial role of agriculture biotechnology in the Kyrgyz Republic. He also mentioned various food security threats to the people of the region, considering that the use of modern techniques in agriculture, forestry, biodiversity sectors, and organic farming can help to overcome such challenges.

 


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