Scientists in developing nations must speak up

By Luis Ventura

January 3, 2017

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 13th United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Cancun, Mexico. COP MOP is the place where decisions are made and the regulatory framework of the future is built, as well as the focal point for people around the world who work everyday in biotechnology regulation.

I was surprised at the Conference to meet some people who are against the development of the science, and to discover that a high percentage of them come from developed countries. I think that for them it is so easy to come and tell everyone that we don t need the biotechnology and the innovation in science when they have enough food on their tables. But their situation is not the same that we face in developing countries like Mexico, where I am from.

The Conference of the United Nations reminded those of us from developing nations that we should speak out, because our voices are important and powerful. We should use them to show that we, the young people, are interested and we are talking about our future. It is our fundamental right to have decisions based in science not in myths and misinformation. We, the scientists, know that being a scientist is a lifestyle and we are lucky because we understand what biotech is and how it works. But we are responsible to everyone, not just ourselves. We need to share our knowledge because biotechnology can help to solve the problems caused by climate change, and it is ridiculous that the science is blocked in some countries. I don t want a future where people are afraid to use the science to get food. I want a future where all the people around the word have enough food and nobody dies from hunger.

I am convinced that developments in science and science-based communication should work together. I believe that my country Mexico can be better by using biotechnology, by using the science.

Luis Ventura is a biologist on the faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, with expertise in biosafety, and an Alliance for Science 2016 Global Leadership Fellow representing Mexico.