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Biotechnology and Sustainable Livelihoods

There is a pressing need to document both the positive and the negative effects of biotechnology in rural communities in the developing world. This briefing paper proposes a multidisciplinary Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, which can be applied to products derived from biotechnology, in order to quantify and qualify their impact in developing countries. The authors say that by including concepts of vulnerability, assets, and empowerment, the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework goes beyond conventional socioeconomic measures of income or nutrition.

The framework is the result of an ISNAR consultation in June 2001 for research scientists, centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and donor and development agencies. The group analysed various approaches and discussed case studies regarding the socioeconomic impact of biotechnology on the poor in developing countries. Participants also defined selection criteria to identify future case studies examining the impacts of biotechnology on the livelihood of poor producers in developing countries.