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Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea - 2014 public hearing on LMO Act hosted by MOTIE, Korea
「2014 Public Hearing on LMO Act 」 took place at the Korea Chamber of Commerce on the 29th of August, hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, the competent national authority for biosafety protocol and government agencies for LMO safety management, and organized by the Korea Biosafety Clearing House. The public hearing was jointly conducted by seven related government agencies for LMO safety management, and was designed to introduce “The Act on Transnational Transportation of LMO” and its lower statutes of which parts were revised in 2013. The public hearing was participated by 150 people from various fields such as government, industry and academia, and served as an opportunity to provide explanations to working-level staff on revised LMO Act and regulations and had a Q/A session for participants, as well. Major revisions of the act involved report/permit of LMO facilities for test and research, changes in report/permit of development/test, new report/permit of production/processing facilities’ installment/operation and environment impact studies, etc.

This public hearing was carried out as LMO forum seminar, hosted by KBCH annually. The first seminar was held in May 2010, taking place three or four times a year, and this was the 14th LMO forum seminar.
Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea - Bhutan Delegation Visits to Korea
Two workshops on LMO safety management system were held for the Bhutan government officials by the Korea Biosafety Clearing House or KBCH. Bhutan is currently establishing biosafety system with the support of UNEP-GEF. The workshops, taking place by the request of the Bhutan government, served as an opportunity to share Korea’s knowledge and experiences on the detection, use, development of LMO, and its management system, so that it will help set up Bhutan’s biosafety system, and Bhutan and Korea exchanged ideas seeking cooperation in many fields, such as rural development, etc.

The first seminar was carried out for four days from the 12th to 15th of May, with a total of 10 participants including seven governors and three officials the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest. The second was attended by 13 participants including Secretary of the Agriculture and Forest, from the 25th to 29th of August.

During the workshops, the delegation visited a number of related agencies, organizations and NGO in an aim of learning Korean LMO management system (involving legal/institutional framework, quarantine, risk assessment, monitoring, facility management, and safety management) and the current status of R&D. They also made on-site visits to places like greenhouses and field trials. Participants from Bhutan had a great interest in Korea’s GM development status, LMO detection methods and organic farming, and the two countries were looking forward to forging a close international cooperation in a continuous manner.
PhilippinesPhilippines - Philippines – COP/MOP 7 preps underway
In preparation of the upcoming Seventh Conference of Parties serving as meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 7), the Philippines conducted a series of consultations to generate comments and capture the ideas and concerns of the Filipino community on biosafety issues and the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
The consultation served also as a venue to update major stakeholders on the progress and developments of implementation of the decisions made during the COP/MOP 6 in 2012 and discuss the draft country position on the outstanding and substantive issues in the implementation of the Protocol. The results of the consultations shall form part of the country position that will be negotiated by the Philippine Delegation in the COP/MOP 7 scheduled on 29 September to 03 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The first consultation, which was held on 19 August 2014, tackled three issues of the Protocol, namely: Article 15 Risk Assessment, Article 16 Risk Management, and Article 20 Information Sharing and the Biosafety Clearing House.
The second round of consultation, conducted on 09 September 2014, discussed the other Articles which were not taken up in the first consultation, to wit: Article 17 Unintentional Transboundary Movement and Emergency Measures, Article 18 Handling, Transport, Packaging and Identification of LMOs, Article 26 Socio-Economic Considerations, Article 27 Liability and Redress, Article 33 Monitoring and Reporting, and Article 35 Assessment and Review of the Effectiveness of the Protocol.
The key concerns that were raised during the consultation include the rules and procedures on intentional introduction of LMOs, unintentional transboundary movements and handling, transport, packaging and identification of LMOs. The stakeholders were also concerned on the extent of public participation in the biosafety decision-making process. Issues on substantial equivalence, risk analysis and comparative assessments were likewise discussed.
The Competent National Authorities (CNAs) assured that the country has a functional regulation in place covering activities on LMOs from laboratory, field testing, commercialization and use of LMOs for food, feed and processing. While measures such as sampling and testing are in place in cases of unintentional transboundary movements, the Philippines is yet to come-up with a legal framework. On public participation, the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) National Focal Point stressed that the national BCH (BCH Pilipinas) provides a section for public comment on all available information contained in the BCH. The BCH Pilipinas also includes related links to agencies involved in LMO regulation. The country’s national records are reflected in the BCH Pilipinas, including safety assessments and decision documents on LMOs intended for Direct Use as Food, Feed and for Processing.
After eliciting comments and suggestions/recommendations from the participants of the two consultations, the Philippine Delegation is expected to consolidate the results and come up with the final country position, with top priority on protecting national interest on the safe use modern biotechnology.
The Philippine Delegation spearheaded the two consultations with assistance from the Secretariat of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines. Both consultations were held at the Department of Science and Technology, Bicutan, Taguig City. Participants came from the academe, industry, consumer rights groups, public and private research institutions, government and non-government organizations, and the CNAs.
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsWebinar on tools and information resources available on biosafety (31 October 2014)
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) is participating in the exchange of information on a variety of scientific and other relevant information on biosafety through several initiatives at the global level.

As part of these efforts, a Webinar will be held on 31 October 2014 to provide an overview of the tools and information resources available on the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH), the GM Foods Platform maintained by the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) and the Biotrack database of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Specifically, the Webinar will provide an overview on the resources on biosafety that are available on the internet and offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions and engage in discussions on this subject.

The webinar will be conducted in English and repeated twice during the same day (one morning session, one afternoon session) for accommodating the diverse working times and availabilities of participants around the world.

We would like to invite all stakeholders to participate in this Webinar. A certificate will be provided to attending participants.

Information is available on the FAO website (at http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/events-projects/event/detail/en/c/242232/ ) and more will follow in due course.

For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at bch@cbd.int.

The BCH team
Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea - Holding of Model United Nations General Assembly
The Korea Biosafety Clearing House, together with the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies International Model United Nations, held the “39th Model U.N. General Assembly” in the auditorium of KOEX, Seoul, on Saturday August 9th.  The event was held to inform the public of the goal of the “12th Conference of the Parties of the Biodiversity Convention and the Meeting of the Parties of the Biosafety Protocol” to be held from September 29 to October 17 in Pyung-Chang, Gangwon Province, and to promote understanding of the importance of biodiversity and biosafety.

At the Model U.N. General Assembly, 28 university students that had been selected through prior screening conducted the role of country representative, interpreter, moderator, etc.  Discussions were held according to the rules of proceedings of the actual UN General Assembly, in the languages of a total of 13 countries, such as South Korea, Argentina and Japan.  Each statement was interpreted into the 6 official U.N. languages and Korean, and the discussions were conducted similar to the actual General Assembly of the U.N.

The Model Assembly was conducted in two parts, under the theme “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.”  In Part 1, students representing each country shared opinions on “Access to Genetic Resources and Sharing of Profits.”  In Part 2, the theme was “Treatment, Transport, Packaging and Identification of LMOs,” an important core agenda for the 7th Meeting of the Parties of the Biosafety Protocol, on which opinions were stated, resolutions were submitted, deliberations were conducted, and a report was made on the final adopted resolution to conclude the session.  The event was attended by about 1,000 regular spectators, and was an opportunity to transfer academic knowledge on LMO-related issues, and promote public awareness of and participation in LMOs.  Moreover, the event held particular significance because one could have an experience in advance of the 7th Meeting of the Parties of the Biosafety Protocol to be held in September in Pyung-Chang.
Republic of KoreaRepublic of Korea - Korea BCH held high school debate competition on LMO
Upon receiving support of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Korea Biosafety Clearing House(KBCH) held the 5th Debate Competition on Biosafety and Bio-industry.  KBCH has sponsored this debate competition each year since 2010.  Based on the knowledge that each student has independently acquired on debate topics related to biosafety and bio-industry, students engage in diverse and indepth discussions with other fellow students.  The purpose of this competition is to induce learning through participation, aiming to improve the communication skills of students, promote broad understanding of the life sciences, and sharpen their knowledge of science.

The preliminary theme for this year’s competition was “Must all food products that include GMO-derived ingredients  be labeled?”. Applications for participation in the competition were received during a period of about four weeks from May 12.  As a result, a total of 150 teams (300 persons, 2 persons per team) from 108 high schools nationwide completed registration.  Thereafter, 64 teams that passed the first screening stage (conducted through video) participated in the preliminary round of competitions on July 25.  Teams were divided into teams for and against adoption of the GMO full labeling system, and engaged in aggressive discussions.  16 teams went on to the main round of competitions.  And on August 14, the main competition (tournament style) was held, under the topic, “Should GMOs be actively adopted to acquire food security?”  All the teams that participated in the main round of competitions conducted more indepth discussions on the feasibility of adopting GMOs to acquire food safety, and the positive aspects and the negative aspects of it.  Students argued based on what they had studied regarding the fundamental factors of the global food crisis, the status of food security in Korea, and the competitive efforts that are being made globally to acquire food resources.
MexicoMexico - Quinto Día de Puertas Abiertas de la Secretaría Ejecutiva: México conmemora el Décimo Primer Aniversario del Protocolo de Cartagena de sobre la Seguridad de la Biotecnología
Durante esta jornada se pretende, informar a los asistentes con fundamentos técnicos y científicos las acciones del Gobierno Federal en materia de Bioseguridad, esperando como resultado la aclaración de conceptos que deriven en la incorporación de conocimientos y la formación de un criterio propio en el tema. Así como, posicionar a la Comisión como ente de referencia con base científica y técnica en materia de Bioseguridad de OGMs. Así como, conmemorar el Décimo Primer Aniversario del Protocolo de Cartagena sobre Seguridad de la Biotecnología More...
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsInvitation to comment on a first draft of an Aarhus Convention/CBD checklist
A draft checklist of key measures required for ratifying and implementing the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Article 23) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Aarhus Convention’s Almaty Amendment has been prepared pursuant to the conclusions by the Chair of the joint Aarhus Convention/CBD round table in October 2013. In this regard, we invite all interested governments and stakeholders to submit comments on the first draft checklist. Please note that comments should be submitted no later than 31 September 2014 to aarhus.survey@unece.org and to ulrika.nilsson@cbd.int. For more information, please visit the Portal on Public Awareness at http://bch.cbd.int/onlineconferences/portal_art23/pa_main.shtml
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsPerú - Proyecto MINAM-UNEP/GEF-UNOPS "Implementación del Marco Nacional de Bioseguridad en el Perú (IMNB-Perú)" realizó Segundo Taller Nacional sobre el Centro de Intercambio de Información sobre Seguridad de la Biotecnología (CIISB-BCH).
El proyecto MINAM-UNEP/GEF-UNOPS "Implementación del Marco Nacional de Bioseguridad en el Perú (IMNB-Perú)", con el apoyo técnico de la Dirección General de Diversidad Biológica del Ministerio del Ambiente (DGDB-MINAM), realizó el Segundo Taller Nacional sobre el Centro de Intercambio de Información sobre Seguridad de la Biotecnología (CIISB-BCH) los días 28 y 29 de agosto de 2014. El taller se llevó a cabo en el Centro de Cómputo de la Facultad de Ingeniería Agrícola de la Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (CECOFIA-UNALM), en Lima Perú. More...
SenegalSenegal - Atelier sur la communication en matière de biotechnologie moderne et de biosécurité. Dakar, du 19 au 21 août 2014.
Du 19 au 21 août 2014, s’est tenu Dakar, un atelier sur la communication en matière de biotechnologies modernes et de biosécurité. Organisée par l’Autorité Nationale de Biosécurité du Sénégal (ANB), sous l’égide du Ministère de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable du Sénégal et en partenariat avec l’USDA (Département de l’Agriculture des Etats-Unis d’Amérique) et l’IFIC (International Food Information Council Foundation), la rencontre a vu la participation :
- de régulateurs en biosécurité, de députés, de membres du Conseil Economique, Social et Environnemental et de journalistes  du Sénégal
- et d’invités constitués de points focaux nationaux de biosécurité (Bénin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambie, Ghana, Mali, Niger et Togo) de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et d’experts facilitateurs (Etats-Unis d’Amérique, ABNE/NEPAD, Burkina Faso).
Le principal objectif visé par l’atelier était de définir des orientations de communication, afin d’éclairer le choix du consommateur et de fournir des outils pertinents d’aide à la décision pour une gestion sécurisée des biotechnologies modernes.
A ce titre, les communications ont essentiellement porté sur :
- un résumé de la situation actuelle de l’utilisation de la biotechnologie moderne aux États-Unis et dans les régions-clés du monde ;  
- les aspects généraux liés au Protocole de Cartagena ;
- la mesure et le développement de la compréhension du public ;
- les principales idées fausses, barrières et opportunités pour une acceptation plus large de la biotechnologie agricole en Afrique de l’ouest ;
- l’apport des études portant sur les attitudes des consommateurs ;
- l’utilisation du guide du communicateur pour améliorer la sensibilisation du public, à travers notamment la formulation d’une terminologie et de messages clés adaptés
- l’utilisation des média conventionnels et des média sociaux
- l’optimisation de l’accès à des ressources en ligne crédibles, etc.
Outre ces communications, l’atelier a également permis à travers un panel d’échanger sur les pistes d’optimisation des communications en matière de productivité agricole et de biotechnologie en Afrique de l’ouest.
Lao People's Democratic RepublicLao People's Democratic Republic - Training on LMO Detection at Biotechnology and Ecology Institute, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR, 08-18 July 2014
The training workshop was held on 08-18 July 2014.
There were over 10 participants in this training, including  
LMOs detection expert from Environment Agency Austria (Dr. Frank  Narendja) , and key stakeholder from Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Ministry of Health, and National University of Laos.

Dr. Frank  Narendja facilitated and presented during the training. The presentations included the Introduction to LMOs, LMO-detection, LMO sampling, Analyze extraction, Qualitative detection of LMOs, Background information on web-information about GMOs and GMO detection, Expression of results and requirements for test report, Sampling on grains and seeds, field sampling, practical use of protein strip tests.

This training workshop has created a great opportunity to learn from GMOs detection expert’s experiences in order to further improve biosafety practices as well as GMOs detection in Lao PDR.
PhilippinesPhilippines - Greening of the Bench: Biosafety and the Law
“Biosafety and the Law Training Course”, a three-day training organized by the Program for Biosafety  Systems, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology Biosafety Committee and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines Los Banos was held from 21-23 July 2014.

The objective of this training is to provide a systematic and organized set of information to Filipino lawyers, regulators and policy makers on the critical legal issues surrounding biotechnology and biosafety of Living Modified Organisms in order to guide them in their decision-making.

During the course, the participants were introduced to the concept of genetic engineering in crops and the extent of local and global adoption of transgenic crops, the concept of biosafety, which concerns efforts to minimize if not to totally  eliminate risks in the conduct of experiments on biotechnology. Also of equal importance, especially on the part of the policy makers and regulators was  a walk-through on the Philippine Biosafety regulations on LMO's, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and its provisions, the Supplementary Protocol on liability and redress and the measures that the country need to put in place in order to comply with its provisions. Also discussed were the socio-economic considerations, compliance,  and enforcement of regulations, other treaties and international agreements that impact biosafety. The importance of transparency and public participation in the decision-making process were discussed, confidential business information in proposals and other critical legal issues relevant to biosafety regulation. Lastly, litigation/cases filed involving GM crops from around the world and their status were presented. The course will be first of a series of activities in the Philippines, aimed at creating awareness and providing science-based information to members of our legal system in what we called "Greening of the bench".  

Julieta Fe L. Estacio
Project Development Officer IV, DOST
Head Secretariat, National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines
and National Focal Point, BCH
Côte d'IvoireCôte d'Ivoire - Atelier d'information et de sensibilisation sur la biotechnologie moderne et la biosécurité
Du 15 au 16 Juillet 2014, s’est tenu à Manhattan Suites Hôtels (Abidjan), un atelier d’information et de sensibilisation sur la biotechnologie moderne et la biosécurité, organisé par le Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Salubrité Urbaine et du Développement Durable, avec l’appui technique et financier de l’Institut du Sahel du Comité Permanent Inter Etats de Lutte contre la Sècheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS).
L’atelier a réuni une cinquantaine d’experts nationaux de l’administration publique, du secteur privé, du corps judiciaire et de la société civile.
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsLIBERIA conduct bch workshop
Liberia EPA Biosafety unit completes training workshop on the 13,June 2014. this training involves the stakeholders. this training is very important because it  will empower all the members that are currently involved. More...
Lao People's Democratic RepublicLao People's Democratic Republic - Lao PDR - Risk Assessment and Risk Management Training Workshop, BEI, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR, 16 -27 June 2014
The training workshop was held on 16 -27 June 2014. There were 40 participants in this training workshop, including Biosafety Expert from Environment Agency Austria (Dr. Michael Eckerstorfer) , and key stakeholder from Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Ministry of Health, National Agriculture and Forest Research Centre and National University of Laos.

Dr. Michael Eckerstorfer, Biosafety Expert from Environment Agency Austria, presented during the workshops.

This training workshop has created a great opportunity to learn from Biosafety expert’s experiences as well as share and exchange ideas and knowledge concerning risk assessment and risk management to further improve Biosafety practices in Lao PDR.
MalaysiaMalaysia - National Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Seminar 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 18-19 June 2014
This is the third year that the Department of Biosafety is having this National Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) Seminar. These seminars are held annually to help equip IBCs, specifically Biosafety Officers to handle their roles and responsibilities in being compliant to the Biosafety Act in an effective manner. This year seminar with the theme “Institutional Biosafety Committees – Capacity Building” is aimed to provide guidance on:
1) requirements under the Malaysian Biosafety Act 2007;
2) how to monitor modern biotechnology activities through inspection of Genetically Modified Microorganism (GMM) facilities;
3) appropriate decontamination and disposal of wastes;
4) filling up the Notification Form (Form E);
5) identification of contained use activities that are exempted from the Biosafety Act; and
6) best practices on how to manage the IBC at the institutional level and share challenges

Participants of this seminar were mostly Biosafety Officers and IBC members who are actively involved in ensuring compliance to the Biosafety Act at their respective institutes. This seminar has created a great opportunity to network, share and learn from common experiences as well as exchange ideas to further improve biosafety practices in Malaysia.

Update on 2013-07-09
United Nations Environment Programme United Nations