23 October 2018 – The Joint Laboratory for Bio-safety (Joint Lab), established by CABI and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), is celebrating 10 years of collaborative research and development to address Chinese and global needs for food and nutritional security.

A short ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary was held at CABI’s Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation on 18 October, with delegates being shown a commemorative video on what the Joint Lab has achieved, and also given an opportunity to visit the Joint Lab and see research undertaken first-hand at a field trip to IPP-CAAS on 19 October.

The function of the Joint Lab is to provide a platform for research and development collaboration, a centre for training and scientific exchange, an open platform for collaboration with third parties and a consultancy service for the Chinese government.

Highlights of successes achieved as part of the initiative include the delivery of multiple international projects – worth around $23 million – to promote north-south and south-south cooperation.

Other successes of the Joint Lab, where the main areas of research focuses on integrated pest management and biological control technologies, have seen collaboration with the Plantwise programme which is helping the Chinese government achieve its target of ‘zero pesticides growth’ by 2020.

In addition, two recent projects, supported by DG DevCo EuropeAid and MARA, have helped smallholder farmers in Laos, Myanmar and Southwest China to increase their rice and maize production – crucial in achieving food security and meeting the targets set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The success of the project led to it being awarded the 2nd Science and Technology Progress Award by Dehong Prefecture Government, Yunnan Province.

Dr Ulrich Kuhlman is CABI’s Executive Director, Global Operations and Co-Director of the Joint Lab who was elected 2018 Chairperson of the Joint Lab Steering Committee. Dr Kuhlmann  said, ‘The outstanding achievements to date have been made possible thanks to strong support from the Chinese government and sound management and strategic direction provided by the Steering Committee, which has been supported by the Technical Advisory Group, as well as the world class team of staff, Co-Directors and Liaison Secretaries.

‘The Joint Lab’s relevance and contribution to China’s future agriculture and economic development will continue as China leads the way in south-south cooperation and technology transfer.

‘Important Chinese initiatives, such as the Belt & Road Initiative (B&R) and China’s ‘going global’ strategy, will provide the Joint Lab with future opportunities to function as an open platform for multi-lateral collaboration. This includes a focus on biological control-based pest management approaches considering our experiences from China but also from the B&R countries and CABI’s member countries.’

Dr Kuhlmann added that CABI also looks forward to the full operations of the European Joint Lab established with China with increased commitments – both political and financial from China and CABI, and as leverages for third-party funding, and more triangular or multilateral collaboration, particularly among CABI member countries.

Vital to the establishment of the Joint Lab was China’s membership of CABI in 1995 followed by the opening of a CABI office in the country in 2002. A Memorandum of Understanding with China at the High-level Joint Summit on Strategic Partnership in 2007 agreed the establishment of the Joint Lab which was opened the following year at the Institute of Plant Protection of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing.

Dr Tang Shengyao, Deputy Director General of International Co-operations, MARA and 2017 Chairperson of the Joint Lab Steering Committee, said:

‘The joint laboratory has made remarkable achievements in advanced technologies and concepts, international cooperation projects, academic exchanges and technical training, as well as building research and innovation teams.

‘As such, it has become a successful example of agricultural cooperation between China and international organisations, drawing increased global attention, and signalling opportunities of greater multilateral or triangular collaboration among CABI member countries and partners through this excellent open platform.

‘The key to this success is due to both strong support from MARA, CAAS and CABI through the effective work of the Joint Lab Steering Committee and to outstanding leadership from scientists including Professor Wu Kongming, Professor Zhou Xueping and Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann.’

Additional information

Read on the CABI Blog ’10 highlights from 10 years of the CABI-China Joint Laboratory.’

For an example of how the work of the Joint Lab has already started to make an impact see more about the project ‘Increasing rice production around the Mekong’ here.

Read here how in April the 10th annual Steering Committee of the Joint Laboratory for Bio-safety of CABI and MARA highlighted a broad commitment to environmentally-friendly technology in agriculture.

The research pathway for a new European Laboratory was agreed in December 2017. Read more here.

Video showcasing 10 years of the Joint Lab

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