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The UN is defying scientific consensus on important new technologies such as genetically modified crops, according to Henry I. Miller, a physician and fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution in the United States.

In this World Politics Review article, Miller accuses the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Convention on Biological Diversity and other UN bodies of over-regulation that makes it "virtually impossible" to develop gene-spliced plants that can grow with low-quality water or under drought conditions.

He says the most important of the UN Millennium Development Goals — to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 — cannot be accomplished without innovative technology, which the organisation itself is inhibiting.

The FAO, he says, calls for greater resources for agriculture but makes these resources drastically less cost-effective by "gratuitous, unscientific, over-regulation of the new biotechnology".

Miller says the regulation of important technologies "is a growth industry at the UN".

"The result is vastly inflated research and development costs, less innovation and diminished exploitation of superior techniques and products."