ICGEB at Science Forum South Africa 2021

ICGEB marked its traditional participation at SFSA 2021 with interactive sessions onBiotech in agriculture genome editing and Plant microbiomes.

As part of the 7th annual Science Forum South Africa (SFSA),ICGEB Scientific Coordinator and Group LeaderVittorio Venturi, together with the Italian Embassy of South Africa, the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and Stellenbosch University,co-organised two interactive sessions dealing with Biotech in agriculture genome editing and Plant microbiomes.

The ICGEB sessions included international panels, with a variety of perspectives and a shared focus on promoting agricultural sustainability. The sessions addressed Biotic and abiotic stresses together with climate change, which are recognised as the most significant threats for agriculture.

At the Opening Plenary Session of SFSA, in the spirit of this year’s motto: “Making sure it’s possible”, Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of South Africa declared that: “Science knows no country nor boundary. Knowledge belongs to humanity”.

Dr Blade Nzimande, South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology speaking at SFSA 2021

During the Plenary Panel Session, ICGEB Director-General, Dr Lawrence Banks highlighted, “We wish to stress the critical importance of science and how fundamental international collaboration and cooperation is, especially during this pandemic”. The morning session culminated with the signing of the Operational Agreement between the ICGEB and the Government of South Africa.

The SFSA 2021 events took place on a digital platform and were co-hosted by the CSIR International Convention Centre as part of the Tshwane Science Diplomacy Capital initiative. With free registration, participation included those who nurture an interest in the role of science and society.

Science Forum South Africa is a major forum for science diplomacy, igniting conversations about science particularly with a view to the role of biotechnology for African development.The ICGEB Director-General and staff from ICGEB Cape Town participate annually in the Forum. The 7th edition comprised 56 parallel sessions with South African, African and international panelists debating topical science and innovation policy themes, within the context of major societal challenges.