Lawrence banks at the HLPF 2022

From the Director-General

This month ICGEB Director-General, Dr. Lawrence Banks writes on his recent participation in the UN ECOSOC High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York and other initiatives championing for Basic Research.

On 5 July 2022, Dr. Lawrence Banks delivered a speech at the United Nations Economic and Social Council High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2022) in New York, the interactive panel on mobilising and sharing science, technology and innovation for an SDG-driven recovery. His statement is published below:

“The ICGEB takes a holistic approach to attaining the SDGs and is uniquely placed as an International Organisation dedicated to ensuring that the fruits of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology can reach all who need it. We work with 66 member countries, many of whom are LDCs or economies in transition, and we are unique in that we have our own research infrastructure and dedicated experts to ensure that such technologies are accessible.
Indeed, Biotechnology remains one of our most powerful tools for attaining the SDGs. Through using the latest technologies of genome editing, novel vaccine developments and other forms of genetic engineering, we have the potential to make massive improvements in health and nutrition to build
both resilience and sustainability.
As we all know, it is science and, in particular, biotechnology which has brought us the tools to escape from COVID-19, and the technology has massive potential to deliver major advances in multiple sectors. For example, biotechnological approaches to improve local production capability and community-based diagnostics will make medicines and detection more accessible to the people who need it most, and at the same time create sustainability in the development of local industry and capability.

Furthermore, climate change remains a massive global problem, and biotechnology offers unique opportunities for carbon capture, green bioenergy and bioremediation. A major emphasis has to be to ensure that no one is left behind, and that there are equal opportunities for all. This has to be done with specific dedicated programmes in STI for women and for LDCs.

To achieve all of the above, we must work in international partnerships – whether these involve other international organisations, such as UNTB and UNOSSC; philanthropic organisations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and of course our direct stakeholders, which in the case of ICGEB, are our Member Governments.”

Dr. Lawrence Banks delivers speech at the United Nations Economic and Social Council High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, New York, USA on 5 July 2022
Chief, External Relations, Marianna Maculan at the UN Headquarters in New York attending the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

This month, the ICGEB was present at the opening ceremony of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, to celebrate its partnerships for IYBSSD2022.

The 6th Arturo Falaschi Conference took place in early July, while at the Trieste MIB School of Management the 27th ICGEB Annual Symposium was held. Bringing together researchers, scientists and technical experts from across the laboratories, this team-building event fosters networking and familiarity with the many ongoing research projects. Amongst the 40 talks presented by speakers from 30 nationalities, were guest Principal Investigators, Dinesh Gupta and Jitendra Thakur from ICGEB New Delhi. The Symposium also hosted the final conference of the cooperation project with the Republic of Moldova and all events welcomed participation by ICGEB Alumni. Dr. Mariana Ulinici, from the Republic of Moldova presented the results of the project, in her talk entitled: “Strengthening epidemiological surveillance capacity to address COVID-19 and other epidemics.”