U.S. Department of State Biotechnology Outreach Funds

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U.S. Department of State Biotechnology Outreach Funds are funds available for U.S. embassies "to further ag-biotech policy and promote acceptance of the technology." The funds are administered by the U.S. State Department's Office of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Textile Trade Affairs.[1]

Program Description by Condoleeza Rice

In a leaked 2008 memo, then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice wrote:[2]

"The Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs (EEB) has received funding in each of the last six fiscal years for ag-biotech outreach projects. Although the full level of funding for fiscal year 2009 is not yet certain, EEB encourages posts to propose projects such as speaker programs, conferences, workshops and seminars to take advantage of these funds to promote the acceptance of ag-biotech.
"Funds are targeted towards public outreach to develop support for USG [U.S. Government] trade and development policy positions on biotechnology. Projects should aim to provide accurate information on the benefits of biotechnology to policymakers and consumers in other countries and to encourage the adoption of science-based regulatory systems. In light of discussions with Congressional staff, funds should be used to create support for USG positions in regions outside the European Union (EU) or to limit the influence of EU negative views on biotechnology. We do, however, consider on a case by case basis, and have provided funding for, proposals from EUR posts that are consistent with our overall strategy.
"Acceptance and receipt of funds is contingent on post agreeing to provide within one month of completion of the project a report including the following elements:
  • A financial report that itemizes the expenditures of funds.
  • A detailed description of the audience reached (number of attendees and nature of audience, e.g. producers, consumers, policymakers), with a particular emphasis on those individuals that may influence national biotech policy.
  • Analysis on whether the program influenced public perceptions.
  • Level of media coverage (and, if possible, the size of the audience serviced by media).
"SUBMISSION OF PROGRAM AND FUNDING REQUESTS: We urge post public diplomacy officers to consult with econ officers, ESTH officers, and Foreign Agricultural Service staff in crafting proposed projects prior to submission of requests. Posts are encouraged to send proposals for FY 09 ag-biotech projects to the Department not later than January 20, 2008. Projects received after that date will be considered based on available resources. Requests should outline:
  • The cost of the proposed program;
  • The target audiences;
  • The specific ag-biotech issues to be addressed;
  • How the project would help meet USG policy objectives (purpose and impact);
  • Proposed length of program;
  • Whether or not the IIP Speaker Program will be utilized; and
  • Name of post responsible officer and contact information.
"Please note: IIP will be sending separate messages to select posts soliciting proposals for speaker projects as funds become available from EEB.
"Program proposals will be reviewed by EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT. Please slug cables for EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT/ - Marcella Szymanski (szymanskimb@state.gov) and Jack Bobo (BoboJA@state.gov).
"EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT will work with posts to further develop promising proposals. Average size of program has been $10,000-25,000, with some as small as $2,000 and others as large as $100,000.
"Funds may be used to pay for travel by participants or speakers to an international meeting or conference hosted by the USG in the United States or for travel by speakers from the United States to another country. EEB's Biotech Outreach funds come with a number of restrictions on how they can be used, so only certain types of projects are appropriate. Applicable restrictions include:
  • EEB funds cannot be used for International Visitor programs or to fund other travel by non-government employees (Invitational travel for non-USG employees is permitted as long as they will serve as a presenter or speaker);
  • Funds cannot be used for representational events or to provide food or beverages for receptions or meals;
  • Funds cannot be provided as grants;
  • Funds cannot be provided as foreign assistance or for training purposes; and
  • Funds expire at the end of the fiscal year, i.e. September 30, 2009."

2010 Proposals

Proposals submitted for funding in 2010 include the following:

  • Brazil & Mozambique: Request for $64,590 to hold a trilateral three-day seminar in Maputo, Mozambique that would include "an opening ceremony, two days of presentations and panel discussions, opportunities for press engagement, and a site visit."[3]
  • Colombia: Request for $8,941 to fund "a Spanish-speaking U.S. expert on biotech policy to engage Colombian Congressional members and the private sector on the safety of biotechnology and its advantages for developing countries like Colombia" and possibly "a second speaker with technical knowledge of tropical agriculture for an academic program" as well.[4]
  • Ecuador: Request for $22,900 for "the travel of five Ecuadorian journalists to the United States to participate in a one-week biotech tour" to influence public opinion on biotechnology in Ecuador.[5]
  • Ethiopia: Request for $5,500 to bring subject matter expert speakers from South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, and possibly the U.S. to a workshop on biotechnology held by the Government of Ethiopia. [6]
  • France: Request for $6,500 to bring Claude Fauquet to France for 5 days to speak on behalf of biotech.[7]
  • Ghana: Request for $13,700 "for a U.S. biotechnology expert in agricultural production and development to visit Ghana for one week to engage with government officials and legislators, academics, public audiences, and the media on the merits of biotechnology and the importance of regulating biotech products."[8]
  • Hungary: Request for $9,540 to bring in the State Department's Senior Advisor for Biotechnology to meet with government leaders and to bring in a biotech expert to speak at universities.[9]
  • Indonesia: Request for $29,475 to hold a food security conference "that would focus on the productivity and regulatory aspects of biotech crops."[10]
  • Morocco: Request for $17,825 to "hold discussion seminars for Moroccan research scientists, academics, and policy makers, including advisors close to the Royal Palace."[11]
  • Panama: Request for $5000 for a two-day workshop on biotechnology policies and regulations.[12]
  • Serbia: Request for $19,060 for "a broad public educational outreach campaign" that will "educate consumers, media, farmers, academics and policy makers about the benefits of agricultural biotechnology and encourage the GoS to fulfill its promise to change a restrictive, non-WTO compliant law prohibiting genetically modified organisms (GMOs)."[13]
  • South Africa: Request for $22,500 to "bring two experts in the subject matter to South Africa to meet with regulators, academia, consumers, and legislators on currently relevant topics such as regulation of stacked genes, low level presence and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMO) on foods, and liability and redress."[14]
  • Sri Lanka: Request for $12,000 to "organize a biotechnology conference in association with a private sector biotechnology research company."[15]
  • Taiwan: Request for $38,654 to hold a one-week training course in the U.S. followed by a "regional training in agricultural biotechnology for officials from Southeast Asian countries" in Taiwan.[16]
  • Thailand: Request for $20,000 to hold a workshop on "the intersection of biotechnology, food security, rice production and the four lower Mekong countries" (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) and to bring in two U.S. speakers for the workshop.[17]
  • Tunisia: Request for $25,000 to bring in three speakers and to hold a one-day workshop with additional two days of meetings, consultations, and other targeted outreach activities.[18]
  • Ukraine: Request for $9,509.00 for a five-day program, anchored by a conference on the safety of agricultural biotechnology in Kyiv and including guest lectures at local universities, town hall meetings, and press events.[19]
  • Venezuela: Request for $40,000 to "sponsor a conference in support of REDBIO" and a request for $10,000 to "foster biotechnology education among university students and other interested parties."[20]
  • Vietnam: Request for $10,000 to send 10 National Assembly Science, Technology and Environment Committee members to the United States for a workshop targeted at educating the members on the benefits of biotechnology and the economic costs of mandatory labeling in March 2010. "The workshop will be funded by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which is implementing the U.S. Agency for International Development's Program on Biosafety Systems (PBS)." A second request for $22,700 for "a weeklong series of events with four half-day workshops featuring an American keynote speaker who is a biotech expert."[21]
  • Zambia: Request for $19,000 for a radio outreach project in which they "develop or purchase a series of audio reports that dispel the negative myths about GMO and highlight the benefits biotech crops can produce in terms of increased output, lower input costs, and minimized environmental impact" and to pay for conference facilities and three speakers for a "best practices workshop" focusing on "the experience of three African countries that allow or will allow GMOs: Egypt, Burkina Faso, and Kenya."[22]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

References

  1. Agriculture, Biotechnology and Textile Trade Affairs, Accessed September 3, 2011.
  2. FY 2009 BIOTECHNOLOGY OUTREACH STRATEGY AND DEPARTMENT RESOURCES, U.S. State Department cable, accessed via Wikileaks, December 10, 2008, Accessed September 3, 2011.
  3. Mission Brazil And Embassy Maputo Propose Trilateral Biotechnology Outreach, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 14, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  4. Bogota Proposal For Biotech Outreach Funds, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 14, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  5. Embassy Quito Request For Funding Of Biotech Proposal, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 15, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  6. Ethiopia Biotechnology Outreach Funding Request, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, December 24, 2009, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  7. France Agricultural Biotech Outreach Proposal - Fy 2010, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, December 22, 2009, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  8. Proposal For U.s. Biotech Speaker To Visit Ghana In Fy 2010, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 20, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  9. Hungary's Proposal For Fy2010 Agricultural Biotechnology Outreach, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 15, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  10. Proposed Food Security And Biotech Conference In Jakarta, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 15, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  11. Morocco Request For Biotech Outreach Funds, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 8, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  12. Panama Request For Fy 2010 Biotechnology Outreach Support, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 14, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  13. Serbia: Fy2010 Biotech Outreach Proposal, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 21, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  14. Pretoria's Proposal For Biotechnology Funds, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 13, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  15. Sri Lanka Proposal For Fy10 Biotechnology Outreach Strategy And Department Resources, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 8, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  16. Taiwan Biotech: 2010 Outreach Proposals, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 15, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  17. Bangkok Proposal: 2009 Ag-biotechnology Outreach Funds, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 15, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  18. Fy 2010 Biotechnology Outreach Funds: Tunisia Proposal, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 13, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  19. Embassy Kyiv Proposed Biotech Outreach Strategy, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, December 22, 2009, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  20. Caracas Proposals For Fy 2010 Biotechnology Outreach Strategy And Department Resources, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 19, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  21. Vietnam Project Nomination For 2010 Biotechnology Outreach, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, February 2, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.
  22. Proposal For Fy2010 Eeb Biotech Outreach Resources, U.S. State Department cable, via Wikileaks, January 14, 2010, Accessed September 4, 2011.

External Resources

External Articles