17.10.2012 - ODG

UNESCO and Nigeria sign an agreement for an International Institute for Biotechnology targeting food security and tropical diseases control

©UNESCO/Landry Rukingamubiri

On 15 October, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and the Minister of Education of Nigeria Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i signed an agreement to establish an International Institute for Biotechnology at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, as a Category 2 Institute under the auspices of UNESCO.

“Biotechnology is a powerful tool that can be used to achieve food and health security. It is a proven catalyst for economic development and wealth creation,” said the Director-General. “UNESCO is committed to promote networking for the development of science, science education and knowledge exchange and to building national capacity”.

In her intervention, the Minister of Education said “the Government of Nigeria has placed a premium on the establishment of this Centre in order to harness African and global expertise as well as competences to address regional problems of global concern”. “We are optimistic that the Centre will soon become not only a reference institution in the field of biotechnology but will contribute to national and international capacity building, research and development, and also foster the economic empowerment of the people”.

The centre seeks to provide high-level training, education and research in biotechnology, in particular as it relate<s>d</s>s to food security, bio-resource conservation and tropical diseases control. It will organize and host international conferences and training programmes aimed at advancing biotechnology education for the sub-region, in collaboration with other universities and research institutes working in the area of biotechnology in Nigeria, other parts of Africa and beyond. Whereas the immediate focus of the Centre will be sub-regional and regional, the scope will ultimately be international.

Category 2 Centres are not legally part of the Organization but contribute to its objectives and are associated with it through formal arrangements approved by the General Conference.

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