The project entitled “APEC - ATCWG Biofuels Network Annual Symposium and Biotrade/Technical Training Workshop” is the continuation of a successful APEC funded project (ATC 16/2009A) entitled “Biofuels from Agricultural and Agro-Industrial Wastes” organized during 24th – 27th May 2010 which resulted in the establishment of APEC biofuels expert/private sector network from Indonesia, Mexico, Australia, United States, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, South Korea, and Philippines. The continuation support from APEC to the APEC biofuels network is a key process of capacity building.
The importance of food security was also outlined in the strategic plan during 2008 – 2011 of World Food Program (WFP) mentioning that millions of people on the global scale are exposed to desperation and hunger due to sky rocketing food and fuel prices which significantly undermine the purchasing power of households. The implementation of any initiative relating to biofuel should be assessed whether such activity make an impact to local staple food security (Final Report on Small - Scale Bioenergy Initiatives, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2009). There exists sounded arguments from both sides who support and discourage the production of cash crops. Some studies from World Bank and FAO did not reveal significant evidence of correlation between bioenergy production and diminished food supply. However, the development of second/third generation biofuels can alleviate this controversial issue by finding the coexistence of food and biofuels production from non-edible parts of plant. A number of APEC developing economies have the capacity to produce raw materials for second/third generation biofuels production.
Biofuels also provide a significant advantage over the fossil fuels in term of environmental aspect as stated in the Draft Terms of Reference by APEC Biofuels Task Force, EWG31, Singapore, May 2006 and more recently at NREL Golden, CO, October 2008 where cellulosic biomass has been considered as a future resource for energy supply with the potential to replace up to 50% of gasoline. In term of air quality, the application of total ethanol fuel – a type of biofuels results in a drastic decrease of greenhouse gases emission such as CO2, CH4 and N2O by 106% with the additional benefit of safeguarding the soil, water and biodiversity.