Agricultural biotechnology is the subject of extensive public debates in many countries. This article presents a summary of the results of the International Conference on Biotechnology in the Global Economy held in September 1999 at Harvard University. The article argues that many of the debates are a result of a governance crisis involving the failure to bring social institutions in line with advances in biotechnology. It proposes a set of measures for doing so. These include: promoting consultative processes; undertaking scientific and technical assessments; conducting research and training; reforming national and regional policies and institutions; harmonizing standards and sharing experiences; and facilitating technological cooperation with developing countries.
Key words: Biotechnology; genetically-modified organisms (GMOs); globalization; international trade.