Modern biotechnology, as it is applied to agriculture, poses a common challenge to countries and societies worldwide: the need for careful decision-making to ensure that society enjoys the benefits of this technology while minimizing or avoiding its potential costs. This paper proposes governance mechanisms and opportunities for stakeholder engagement that can assist in achieving such an outcome. In particular, it focuses on the social and economic implications of modern agricultural biotechnology and its products and how to take these issues and concerns into consideration in decision-making about biotechnology. The integration of socio-economic considerations, through analytically sound research and regulatory processes that engage the public meaningfully, is an important step toward the good governance of modern biotechnology. However, information on and analysis of the social and economic impacts of modern biotechnology are lacking, and there is little experience in dealing with these issues in actual decision-making processes. The aim of this paper is to provide such information and analysis as a starting point for assisting national governments and other stakeholders in designing and implementing policies and mechanisms that incorporate socio-economic considerations into decision-making.
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