The need to institutionalize and promote cooperation in the area of Biotechnology has been recognized by the Heads of State or Government at various SAARC Summits since 1990. From 1990-2003, cooperation the area of Biotechnology was pursued by the Technical Committee on Science and Technology. A Working Group on Biotechnology was established in 2004 as a part of the restructured SAARC Integrated Programme of Action to coordinate regional cooperation in the area of Biotechnology.
Since 2004, the Working Group on Biotechnology has met three times. The First and Second Meeting of the Working Group on Biotechnology was held in Kathmandu in April 2004 and December 2006 under the Chairmanship of Nepal. Sri Lanka assumed the Chair of the Working Group on Biotechnology on 1 January 2009 for a period of two years. The Third Meeting of the Working Group on Biotechnology was held in Colombo in June 2009.
The Third Meeting of the Working Group on Biotechnology (Colombo, 4-5 June 2009), among others, considered and finalized a Concept Paper on a Programme of Cooperation in the field of Biotechnology between SAARC Member States.
The Programme for Cooperation in the field of Biotechnology provides for cooperation the following areas:
(i) Medical Biotechnology
(ii) Agricultural Biotechnology
(iii) Environmental Biotechnology
(iv) Animal Biotechnology
(v) Marine Biotechnology
(vii) Plant Tissue Culture
(viii) Genetically Modified Organisms and bio-safety
(ix) Marker Assisted Selection
(x) Bio-fertilizer and Bio-gas
(xi) Vaccine Production
(xii) Genomics and Proteomics
(xiv) RNA interference technology platform
(xv) Stem cell research
(xvi) Industrial biotechnology
Cooperation the identified areas as listed above among the Member States of SAARC will be pursued through hosting of conferences and workshops; post-doctoral fellowships; joint research projects; and exchange of visits among scientists and specialists from the region.
As per recommendation of the Fourth Meeting of the Working Group on Biotechnology (Colombo, 27 April 2011), the National State-of-the-Art Reports on Biotechnology received from Member States are uploaded below: