Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - MICRODIV2 (Bioprospecting of Amazonian microorganisms and plant secondary metabolites - Workshop and course)

The practical course and workshop 'Bioprospecting of Amazonian Microorganisms and Plant Secondary Metabolites' took place at the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno; Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia from 15 March - 2 April 2004 and successfully accomplished the following:
- transfer of skilled knowledge in basic research, economic opportunities of biotechnology and initiate an awareness rising process of the sensitive ethical questions according to this topic;
- transfer practical know-how in prospecting strategies; identification of microorganism (bacteria and fungi) and characterisation of plant secondary metabolites; from European universities (Austria and Finland), to universities, other educative organizations and private enterprises in Pan-Amazonia;
- widen an international expert-network, elaborating strategies to transform Amazonian biodiversity into added value and regulate the access to genetic resources and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use, with a view to provide compensation to the centres of origin of genetic resources and the holders of traditional knowledge used in biotechnological inventions, as postulated by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

As a result, activities focused on a three week practical course for training experts, professionals and students in microbiological, chemical and molecular biological methods, followed by a two-day workshop. This brought together high level experts from Europe and Pan-Amazonia to establish a sustainable network of scientific cooperation to transform Amazonian biodiversity into economic value.

Having focused on the declarations of intent published in the documents of the several presidential conferences between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union (ALCUE), the idea of a stronger collaboration in academic and private research projects emerged early and was intensified throughout the last years. This interest does not only focus on the field of biodiversity conservation but primarily in investigating its economic potential.

Therefore we give the policy recommendation to focus on the support of academic education (performing workshops and courses in the relevant fields) in Latin American partner institutions which are interested in becoming participants in Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) as an accompanying measure to such research projects searching for applications of life sciences. Given that the European Union generally holds a very high level of academic expertise in the relevant fields and already has announced its interest to become a stronger partner of Latin America and the Caribbean, the latter shows a highly visible biodiversity but the urgent need of the theoretical and practical know-how. Acknowledging the results of the present Specific Support Action (SSA) of the MICRODIV 2 workshop and course it has to be outlined, that it only was a first step in the correct direction. However, due to its defined short time-frame the impact of the action is limited. On one hand, ALPHA programmes tend to focus only on theoretical University seminars and expert exchange, which may appear far too narrow, given that safe laboratory work has to be trained practically.

On the other hand, there is the utmost need, to apply internationally agreed guidelines of biosafety, risk assessment, risk regulation and -management by experts and to promote the practical legal implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on the different levels in those Latin American countries, which already ratified the protocol.

Informations connexes

Reported by

Ferdinand Loewestrasse 21/3
1100 WIEN