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Environmentally-sound management of biotechnology is the subject of Chapter 16 of Agenda 21. Biotechnology is not directly addressed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. Biotechnology is the integration of the new techniques emerging from modern biotechnology with the well-established approaches of traditional biotechnology. It is a set of enabling techniques for bringing about specific human-made changes in DNA, or genetic material, in plants, animals and microbial systems, leading to useful products and technologies. Biotechnology promises to make a significant contribution in enabling the development of, for example, better health care, enhanced food security, improved supplies of potable water, more efficient industrial development processes for transforming raw materials, support for sustainable methods of afforestation and reforestation, and detoxification of hazardous wastes. It offers new opportunities for global partnerships.

The programme areas covered in Chapter 16 seek to foster internationally- agreed-upon principles to be applied to ensure the environmentally-sound management of biotechnology, to engender public trust and confidence, to promote the development of sustainable applications of biotechnology and to establish appropriate enabling mechanisms, especially within developing countries.

Biotechnology was discussed at the third session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the nineteenth special session of the General Assembly. Within the framework of the Commission?s multi-year programme of work, it will again be taken up in the context of "integrated planning and management of land resources" at the Commission's eighth session, in 2000.
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