Trade and investment for inclusive development with bioeconomy

As human and planetary health are increasingly at risk, strong trade and investment are necessary for the bioeconomy – the sustainable production and use of biological resources, processes, and principles to provide products and services in all economic sectors – to be a solution.  I had the pleasure of presenting on this topic at the Global Bioeconomy Summit held in Berlin, Germany.

Bioeconomy goes beyond agriculture and food, yet they play a major role. Maximizing synergies and coordination with the rest of the bioeconomy can create more jobs, economic value, and efficient resource use. Bioeconomy is also critical for agriculture and food systems to address poverty, hunger, and malnutrition by providing a sustainable, nutritious, and reliable food supply for a growing global population. Inclusive development is needed to ensure that smallholders, women, and other vulnerable groups benefit from bioeconomy.

In this regard, open, transparent, and fair trade in the bioeconomy and investments for innovations in agriculture and beyond are key.  Bioproducts must be fully priced, taking into consideration environmental and health externalities. At the same time, trade-offs must be balanced to ensure food security and nutrition, particularly for poor people, in this context. Stakeholders need to consider how to avoid short- and medium-term costs to food security, such as rising food costs.  Social protection programs therefore must be established to protect potential vulnerable groups.

The summit highlighted the need for a multi-sector approach as the bioeconomy spans across various sectors, and the importance of capacity building in developing countries. The use of data and metrics will also be key to monitor to the performance of the bioeconomy in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and even longer-term goals by 2050 and 2100.

Photo credit: Asian Development Bank