Since the beginning of the joint FAO/IAEA programme on the research and development of insect pest control methodology, emphasis has been placed on the basic and applied aspects of implementing the sterile insect technique (SIT). Special emphasis has always been directed at the assembly of technological progress into workable systems that can be implemented in developing countries. The general intention is to solve problems associated with insect pests that have an adverse impact on production of food and fibre. For several insect species SIT has proven to be a powerful method for control. This includes the New World screwworm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorox), the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), the melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae), the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) and one tsetse fly species (Glossina austeni). Improvements of the SIT are possible, especially through the use of molecular techniques. The final report of the Co-ordinated Research Programme on ``Genetic Engineering Technology for the Improvement of the Sterile Insect Technique`` highlights the progress made towards the development of transformation systems for non-drosophilid insects and the research aimed at the identification and engineering of potential target genes or traits. Refs, figs, tabs.