Winrock International India (WII), a New Delhi based not-for-profit organization (also a IUCN member), organized the 6th International Biofuels Conference on March 4–5, 2009 in New Delhi. The Conference, 6th in the series, has created a niche for itself and has over the years, become a vibrant and neutral platform for stakeholders from across the world.
The two-day conference, this year, focused on topics that encouraged debate and deliberations on some of the most contentious issues facing the Biofuels movement in India and globally. Spread over seven sessions, more than thirty five papers were presented at the conference covering such issues as: Policy perspective on biofuels; Food v/s fuels debate; Next Generation Biofuels; Sustainability issues and Biofuels as a driver for rural development.
The conference witnessed participation from all over the world, including Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Netherlands, among other countries. More than 300 delegates, from diverse sectors, including central & state ministries and agencies; financing and banking institutions; technology suppliers/developers; petroleum, sugar, alcohol/ethanol industries; edible & non-edible oil and automobile industry; NGOs and micro-finance institutions (MFIs); management advisors and entrepreneurs, made the conference highly interactive. A key highlight of the conference was the enormous student participation from a number of engineering and technology universities from all across India.
The outcome of the conference covered various aspects of the biofuels sector. Among them, in the Indian context, it came out that large scale biofuel production could be a major driver for economic development but policy safeguards are needed to keep the biofuels program consistent with existing land use and other planning required for multi-sectoral growth and development. Decentralized biofuels production and application, on the other hand, require very few checks and balances and has the potential for being a major catalyst for rural development and addressing poverty, which in turn would have benefits in terms of improved livelihoods and thereby in conservation of forests and natural resources.