22.07.2019 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Bioeconomy, a tool to rethink development in Latin America and the Caribbean

First Latin American Symposium on Bioeconomy: Rethinking Development took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last 10th of July.

The activity was carried out with the support of the Regional Office for Sciences of UNESCO in Latin America and the Caribbean, and was organized by the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of the Nation; the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA); the Interdisciplinary Center for Studies in Science, Technology and Innovation (CIECTI); the Natural Resources Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and the Regional Office of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Guillermo Anlló, Regional Specialist in Science Policy of UNESCO for Latin America and the Caribbean, who took part as a lecturer, expresses that this conjunction of partners around the theme represents: "... a sample of the importance that bioeconomy has for the region in the face of the 2030 Agenda, bringing together regional and local actors, with different missions, in favor of this same opportunity."

The event had the participation of the maximum authorities of the organizing institutions. An intense agenda covered topics of economic, social and environmental sustainability from the bioeconomy perspective, as well as the discussion of relevant policies in the matter. Among others, successful cases of Colombia in the palm sector, of Argentina in biofungicides, as well as in green chemistry in Brazil were presented. Public policies and international cooperation was also the focus of attention in a specific panel held prior to the final conclusions.

Latin American biomass and diversity: a bioeconomic opportunity that the region should not miss

In the current context of profound and accelerated technological changes, new modes of reorganization of production and operation of the markets, bioeconomy appears as an opportunity to rethink a path of sustainable economic development for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The wide availability of biomass of different types and biodiversity in the countries of the region are the necessary conditions to take advantage of this opportunity. On the other hand, LAC has important scientific-technological capabilities -for example, in disciplines such as biology and biotechnology-, medium-range industrial development and acceptable infrastructure and logistics conditions to embrace knowledge-intensive, sustainable and innovative development strategies based on bioeconomic activities that also leverage an "intelligent" insertion in the international economy.

Among the factors that can be mentioned as engines of the bioeconomic model from the point of view of economic sustainability, the following can be mentioned: expansion of value chains with "upstream" and "downstream" added value in products and waste before disposition; the emergence of new suppliers (start-ups and technology-based companies-EBTs) of knowledge-intensive inputs and services; processing at the source given the high costs of transporting biomass; and the generation of new employment opportunities as the result of the emergence of new activities. It is, in short, the configuration of a new bioeconomic-industrial business model with direct implications for development, leading the way towards "circular economy" as the maximum objective.

The activity represents a contribution to the implementation of the SDGs in the Region.

Photo gallery here

Presentations carried out during the activity available here (in Spanish): http://www.bioeconomia.mincyt.gob.ar/




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