Trend Analysis Biotechnology 2009: Global momentum

Trend analysis | 04.12.2009 | CGM/091204-01

The world stands on the verge of a period of great change involving major challenges such as climate change and the growth of the world population, including the consequences of the ageing population in the Western world. These trends call for political and social changes and technological solutions. Biotechnology is seen as one of the leading edge technologies for surmounting these major challenges. Biotechnology is being used to develop new applications in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, food production and the environment. Besides the opportunities biotechnology offers, the new technological possibilities also pose ethical and social questions, making them a subject of public debate.
Numerous biotechnological developments deserve attention from the political and policy-making community. In this trend analysis we identify five trends that throw up ten political and policy dilemmas. The trends were selected on the basis of the social consequences of the technological developments.
The trends and associated questions and dilemmas presented in this trend analysis are not all new: some aspects have been reported already and some trends have been discussed, at least in part, in the previous trend analysis published in 2007. The reason for examining the trends in this trend analysis is the rate at which technological developments are progressing. Questions and dilemmas which were previously expected to become an issue in many years time have suddenly become more urgent and concrete. In the opinion of the authors of this trend analysis there is an urgent need for political and policy judgements on the issues arising from these trends.

This trend analysis is a joint publication of the Netherlands Commission on Genetic Modification (COGEM), the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Commission on Biotechnology in Animals (CBD).

Below, you can download the summary of the trend analysis in English, describing the five trends and ten dilemmas.

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