ECOSOC 2010 Substantive Session
Opportunities for Small Island Developing States
Tuesday 20th 2010
Professor Anthony Clayton
University of the West Indies
Step 1: Stop looking in the wrong place
 The usual SIDS presentation: start with a list of depressing problems:
Physically small and/or small population.
Small domestic markets, no economies of scale.
Remoteness, high transport costs.
Resource constraints (water, fuel, waste disposal sites, food
Relatively little influence in world affairs.
Exposed to extreme natural events; hurricanes, earthquakes,
volcanoes etc.
Population and infrastructure mostly on the coast; vulnerable to
sea level rise.
Difficult to build and retain human capital (technical and
managerial skills).
Then conclude with the usual request for failed ‘solutions’:
•More aid
•Continuing Special and Differential Treatment
Case study: land use in Jamaica
Jamaica was the world’s largest sugar producer in the period
17th - early 19th centuries.
Today, Jamaica’s share of world production is just 0.1%, the
tonnage of sugar slumped from 514,450 tonnes in 1965 to
124,206 in 2005, the contribution to export earnings has
fallen from 49% in 1952 to 1.8% in 2006, the contribution to
GDP has fallen from 9% in 1953 to 0.8% in 2006.
It became uncompetitive, in part because it was protected
from competition by EU trade preferences, so was
profoundly threatened by phasing-out of trade preferences.
The industry still occupies 53,294ha (of which 46,000ha
producing, for quota) = 30% of agricultural land in Jamaica;
41% of permanent crop land.
We had to develop alternatives.
Recommendation: optimize land-use
Intensive, high-value agriculture, including highvalue plant extracts such as oleoresins and
flavonoids for export to nutraceuticals and functional
foods markets.
3rd generation biofuels.
Nutraceuticals and functional foods
 Nutraceuticals/functional foods: actives and micro-nutrients,
mostly plant extracts, used to reduce the impact of agerelated degenerative disease.
 The actives concerned can be given in medical formats
(nutraceuticals) or used as food additives in standard food
products (functional foods) as a cost-effective way of raising
the health status and average life expectancy of a population.
 This is not the same as traditional herbalism; the new
industry uses measured doses of the desired actives,
traditional herbalism uses materials with little processing
which contain unknown quantities of both desirable and
undesirable actives.
 Requires ability to extract, maintain high purity. Later stages
involve e.g. microencapsulation.
The functional foods market
Oct 29th 2009
 Sales of functional foods in western Europe grew
by 10.2% a year between 2004 and 2007.
 In America, sales of functional foods grew by
15.8% a year between 2002 and 2007, compared
with overall food-sales growth of 2.9% a year.
 PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the global
market for functional foods will grow in value
from $78 billion in 2007 to $128 billion in 2013.
Possible high-value extracts
Jamaica has 348 plants with actives in Jamaica, 45 of which are endemic.
 Ginger contains flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory,
vascular stabilizing and anti-platelet effects. They can be
used in the treatment of rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis,
and they are likely to be cardio- and stroke protective.
 Turmeric contains flavonoids that are anti-inflammatory,
and also block tumor necrosis factor alpha. They are
likely to find a use in the treatment of arthritis, asthma
and ulcerative colitis, and their properties also indicate
that they will be cardio- and stroke protective.
 G 1: cane/corn derived ethanol. Energy balance ratio for
corn = 1.3/1, sugar = 8/1.
 G 2: cellulosic ethanol. EBR for cellulose = 12/1 to 16/1
But – G1 and G2 biofuels cannot solve our energy problems; if
the US converted all its available biomass into ethanol, it
could only displace 30% of its current gasoline demand.
 G 3: Algae can produce 10-20,000 gallons of fuel per acre
per year, so 85 billion gallons (sufficient for all US
transport) could be produced on 15,000 square miles (4.5
million acres), about the size of the State of Maryland.
 The US farms 938 million acres; fuel would take 0.47%.
 G 4: Synthetic biology/genomics: turn organisms into
bioreactors to make fuel.
Recent projections
 Trials suggest that GM algae can produce long-chain
hydrocarbons which can be refined into synthetic highoctane gasoline. This is compatible with refineries, filling
stations and cars, does not have contaminants such as
sulphur, nitrogen and benzene, will have higher energy
density and offer more complete combustion than gasoline
and diesel.
 Process uses non-arable land, non-potable water, delivers
10-100 times more energy per acre than cropland biofuels.
 GM algae may grow faster (* 2 mass in 1 hour), fix nitrogen
and CO² from air.
 Production costs are still high; cost-effective algae-based
biofuels by 2012-2015, replacing gasoline by 2020.
GM prototype bioreactor
UK announces world's largest algal biofuel project
Thursday October 23 2008
 The UK wants algal biofuels to make a significant
contribution by 2020, and has made an initial
investment of £26m to allow scientists to develop
better strains.
 At present, it is possible to make algae with a high oil
content, or algae that grows quickly. The goal is to
combine these qualities. Research will also develop
the optimal designs for culture and production.
 Plants will then be scaled up. Most of the UK’s
investment will be located in countries with yearround sunshine to maximize production.
Industrial biotechnology
 Biological feedstock used to manufacture chemicals, plastics and fuels,
displacing petrochemicals.
Current research includes replacing petrochemical-based polyester, epoxy
and vinyl ester resins and composites with resins and composites
manufactured from soya or corn oil; these give equivalent strength for
about 25% of the weight.
It may eventually be possible to produce aircraft, cars etc from ecocomposites; carbon or natural fibres in a matrix derived from plant
starches or resins.
These eco-composites offer completely new prospects for agriculture,
especially in tropical regions, as fibres, oils and resins become nextgeneration industrial crops.
Current projections are that global biotechnology industry revenues will
grow from $170bn in 2008 to $660bn by 2020.
Developing countries (e.g. Brazil, China) emerging as major sources and
markets. e.g. Brazil experimenting with producing polypropylene from
sugar cane.
SIDS could transform their cost structure and development prospects by
reducing dependence on imported fuel, chemicals etc.
Thank you !