The debate comes amid EU plans to reduce the use of crop-based biofuels in the European market.
The meeting, titled Trends in Global Biofuels Markets: Sustainability Policy and Trade, is part of an effort to improve policy coherence in this particularly complex field, and to bring together the separate discussions that are now taking place in national capitals and various international forums.
The meeting is being staged in order to review trends in biofuels markets. It will consider the perspectives of countries with established biofuels industries, as well as those of producers and consumers.
The aim is to identify constructive proposals on how to reconcile biofuels expansion with such issues as food security and environmental sustainability, while at the same time allowing technological progress to take place in a manner that does not exclude developing countries from a growing market.
Biofuels currently offer the only cost-competitive alternative to fossil fuels in the transport sector, thanks particularly to their compatibility with existing infrastructure. As biofuels move from national and regional markets to being a global commodity, the impacts arising from demand for them are no longer easily confined to the countries where they are consumed.
The development of this fuel source has occurred in the context of persistent distortions in international markets for agricultural commodities. It also has been affected by complex policies for energy-related products and services. In addition, use of biofuels has expanded at a time of weak global governance on environmental challenges, especially climate change.