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Online Forum on the Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

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National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6092]
Colleagues, in sharing with the group your respective country's experience and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans can you please also indicate:
(i) To what extent have existing NBSAPs and national development plans taken biosafety issues into account and to what extent are biosafety issues being taken into account in the revision of the NBSAPs?
(ii) What are the main obstacles and challenges to integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans and how have they affected the process and how could they be addressed?
(iii) What do you see as potential benefits for integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?
posted on 2014-05-26 22:49 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6096]
Dear All,
First of all let congratulation to the CBD Sec for making this online conference happened and I thanked to all participants who raised useful experiences in their respective countries in developing NBSAPs in the past and mainstreaming the Biosafety issue and Biotechnology into it. Let investigate the 3 questions posted below.

(i) To what extent have existing NBSAPs and national development plans taken biosafety issues into account and to what extent are biosafety issues being taken into account in the revision of the NBSAPs?

Cambodia has had a similar experiences since 2002 when we developed NBSAP. In fact, Biosafety issue and biotechnology have been one among 17 themes of the NBSAP. But they were not as details as it is said in the action plan for Biosafety and Modern Biotechnology in Cambodia 2010-2014. Similarly, the new revised draft NSBAP is not comprehensive in terms of elaborating the issue of biosafety and biotechnology since NBSAP has many other priority areas to be raised.  


(ii) What are the main obstacles and challenges to integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans and how have they affected the process and how could they be addressed?

- Biosafety has many issues as priority. It cut across various sector, i.e. agriculture, health ecology, socio-economic and environment.
- It would not be helpful to get the document passed by the policy makers.
- Coordination among stakeholders.

(iii) What do you see as potential benefits for integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

- raising profile.
- cut cost;
- get more support from relevant stakeholders;

That's all. Pisey Oum, Cambodia/MOE, NSCB Secretary.
posted on 2014-05-27 02:34 UTC by Mr. Meng Monyrak, Cambodia
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6110]
Thanks to Cambodia for sharing their experiences. Getting the biosafety issues integrated into NBSAPs and national development plans is contesting for the space as Cambodia has indicated that there are many other themes and issues that are also making their way to the NBSAPs and national development plans. This requires constant engagement with the national planning processes and NBSAP review processes. Over and above CPB has been so independent from the mother convention (The CBD) that it is seen by most as a stand alone rather than a Protocol established to implement the Convention. Should its status with regards to the CBD be revisited and more synergies between the Protocol and the Convention be enhanced both at national and international levels, it would not be that difficult for Protocol related activities to be captured in the NBSAPs. Any thoughts on this? And what are the national experiences on this matter?
posted on 2014-05-27 17:29 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6144]
Dear All,

Let me thank Mr Lewis for spreading the word about this online forum I think it is a great platform to exchange ideas and experiences on the integration of biosafety into NBSAPs etc.

I believe much has been said by my esteemed colleague Ms Anita James of the integration of Biosafety into our revised NBSAP in Saint Lucia. Having stated that, I believe that the main challenge to mainstreaming Biosafety into other national plans and policies and the success thereof hinges on getting buy-in at the policy level if Biosafety cannot be shown to have a significant impact on the economy and society in the short to medium term it would be difficult to garner interest from our political directorate.
In Saint Lucia, many consultations were organized during the revision of the NBSAP where Biosafety issues were also considered and included. Recognizing that Biosafety issues are cross-cutting into other areas such as science and technology, the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and climate change adaptation which are very topical at this time helped engender support for inclusion into the NBSAP.
A good strategy would involve establishing linkages  between biosafety and those other areas within countries that great importance is attached to, I can suggest poverty reduction, attracting foreign direct investment for biotechnology research and production, climate change adaptation etc etc.

Biosafety should be viewed as a means of establishing a framework for attracting investment in biotechnology, much as the off-shore banking sector achieved throughout the islands by putting regulations in place to stimulate that sort of activity.

On resource mobilization the establishment of National Conservation Fund is critical for us as it would guarantee us a sustained source of revenue for maintaining our systems. Additionally, all frameworks should attempt to include financial sustainability plans and strongly consider setting up their fee schedules so that some of that revenue goes back into biosafety management.

The integration of biosafety into national plans ensures that serious consideration is given to biosafety issues including the financing aspect which supports long-term sustainability.


Regards,
posted on 2014-06-04 19:30 UTC by Mr Terrence Gilliard, Saint Lucia
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6145]
Dear M. Lewis
Thank you for the comments and the interest in Cameroons experience.
Although resource mobilisation is relevant for session 4, I would briefly explain that mainstreaming biosafety issues in the NBSAP II, the Environment Sector Plan and the NEMP II has provided a great opportunity for mobilisation resources internally.
Cameroon over the last two years has implemented a program budgeting approach which implies that priority actions within key strategic documents provide the basis for annual budgeting by the finance departments and approval by parliament. 
Budget allocations have therefore been provided for biosafety priorities which is a major achievement yet the major challenge which remains is to ensure these allocations are disbursed within the term of the budget program

The biosafety project has as an important delivrable to ensure that fees generated from grants will increase the current national environment fund and provide an opportunity for financing biosafety project.
(edited on 2014-06-04 22:01 UTC by Mrs. Prudence Tangham Galega)
posted on 2014-06-04 21:59 UTC by Mrs. Prudence Tangham Galega, Cameroon
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6147]
Mrs. Galega, thank you so much for again  sharing the experience in Cameroon with respect to the strategy involved in resource mobilization within the Government system in your country. You certainly highlighted an interesting scenario that shows how mainstreaming biosafety issues in the NBSAPs and other national action plans present a great opportunity for mobilization of resources internally. This certainly is a strategy that many parties can adopt. Fantastic approach.
posted on 2014-06-05 02:16 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6155]
Hi Prudence and Daniel

Thank you for raising this very crucial issue of national budgets allocated for the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This goes with the critical issue raised by Terrence in St Lucia - of political buy-in. How do we ensure that Biosafety is in the top priorities of our respective countries? what are the capacity needs that are required to enhance this? who needs to be trained on what areas? What are the most important platforms that we as National Focal Point need to get into and create a space for the Biosafety issues? do we have skills, expertise and confidence to drive that process? how can we be assisted? Where do we start in our respective countries? do we communicate and share experiences with focal points from other international Treaties in our respective countries, particularly those focal points that are successful in getting their respective MEAs to the top of the National agenda, Terrence mentioned a few such as Climate Change. One would argue it is all about livelihoods, business interests, industry, etc. Biosafety issues if adequately communicate can move up the ladder as fast as the others, that is my personal view which I pose it up to you colleagues to challenge using your experience and explaining to the forum why it is experiencing the challenges of lack of recognition, visibility and probably less support for funding than the other MEAs? What needs to be done? Roles and responsibilities, capacity needs to enhance political recognition and buy-in, funding issues- I think all these go together as a package. Colleagues please talk to this issue and come up with recommendations to be captured in the report to assist the process going forward.
(edited on 2014-06-05 11:29 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana)
posted on 2014-06-05 11:27 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6148]
Mr. Gilliard thank you so much for sharing your perspective on some of the issues on this online forum. I am fully supportive of the point you made on the critical need to get the buy in at the policy level, in other words, the decisions makers have to be convinced that biosafety is a high priority and in the national interest and therefore it is incumbent on the focal point and others to ensure that the public awareness building activities have to target this  high profile  group.
posted on 2014-06-05 02:26 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6154]
Hi Terrence

Thank you very much for sharing your innovative ideas on how you see attempts to integrate biosafety into other development initiative. It would be very helpful if you can share the outcomes of such innovation with the CBD Secretariat once being implemented so that the success stories can be shared on the BCH for the benefit of other Parties. Colleagues we can also replicate these innovative ideas to our respective country's ways of trying things work in the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Thanks Terrence once again for these brilliant ideas.
posted on 2014-06-05 11:09 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6151]
Dear Collegues, thaks a lot for sharing your experience. Some words about the experience gained in Belarus...

• Topic 1: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans;
   The Republic of Belarus acceded to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in 2002. The activities of the Institute of Genetics and Cytology entrusted with the functions of the National Co-ordination Biosafety Centre and the National Competent Authorities for biosafety had been focused on the establishment of the National Biosafety System (NBS). This process had been completed by 2006 and resulted in the adoption of the Law “On the Safety of Genetic Engineering Activity” dated January 9, 2006 and a number of Resolutions of the Council of Ministers and three National Competent Authorities: the Ministry of Nature, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The State Customs Committee has adopted a Resolution on the procedure of provision information to the Institute of Genetics and Cytology if GMO were imported into Belarus.    
   The NBS includes the legal and administrative parts and the National Co-ordination Biosafety Centre NCBC). NCBC functions cover the following areas of biosafety activities: collection and analysis of information in regard to the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol, constant liaison with the Secretariat of CBD, placement legal and administrative standard documents and other information relevant to biosafety at BCH website.  
    The Belarus participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House was considered an important task of NCBC activities. In 2008 the joint NCBC-UNEP project “Building Capacity for Effective Participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House, Phase I” was completed and resulted in the development of the national biosafety website on the server hosted by NCBC. NCBC continues its participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House. Nowadays it aims to improve its national and international activities in the field of public awareness and education on biosafety issues in accordance with the national Strategic Plan of Cartagena Protocol implementation and under international treaties.
  The most important event relevant to awareness of the public on biosafety issues was the International Conference of CEI countries “Experience Sharing in Awareness and Education of the Public on Biosafety Issues” which was held in Minsk on October 1, 2013 under the financial support of the Central Europe Initiative Foundation. The participants emphasized the necessity for collaboration in that area, Belarus and Moldova agreed to consolidate their efforts for working out CEE interregional biosafety network aimed at awareness and education of the public on biosafety issues with expansion of the project to Central Asia countries.    

Best regards,

Elena  Makeyeva, NCBC, Minsk, Belarus
posted on 2014-06-05 10:01 UTC by Assoc. Prof. Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6156]
Dear Elena

Thank you for sharing with the forum the success stories for Belerus. This is very useful information and I am sure other Parties will be utilise this wonderful experience to modify their operations in the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in their respective countries. Colleagues, time is ticking and we are closing the discussions on the 7th June,please get involved and let us debate these issues and come up with some advices and recommendations based on what participants have shared.
posted on 2014-06-05 12:22 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6173]
Dear Malta

Find below South African Context
(i) To what extent have existing NBSAPs and national development plans taken biosafety issues into account and to what extent are biosafety issues being taken into account in the revision of the NBSAPs?

•The development of the current NBSAP was underpinned among other by,
(a) The concerns about the possible negative impacts of widespread planting of LMO crops on South Africa’s rich and unique biodiversity,
(b) The need to strengthen legislation, decision-making, monitoring and enforcement.
(c) The need to take a precautionary approach to the release of LMOs into the environment, especially in biodiversity priority areas.
(d) The need to align policy and legislation between and amongst sectors

•The above resulted in  the development of an NBSAP outcome and subsequent activities as follows:

OUTCOME
Effective management and control measures minimise the potential risks to biodiversity posed by Living Modified Organisms

ACTIVITIES
Ensure institutional co-operation and co-ordination to deal with the potential risks posed by Living Modified Organisms

Develop and implement effective measures for management and control of potentially risky activities relating to Living Modified Organisms

Share information and provide support to ensure adoption and implementation of highest biosafety standards to minimise risks associated with Living Modified Organisms

Chapter 5 of the NDP provides for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience and highlighted the need for ‘Increased investment in new agricultural technologies, research and the development of adaptation strategies for the protection of rural livelihoods and expansion of commercial agriculture.’

(ii) What are the main obstacles and challenges to integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans and how have they affected the process and how could they be addressed?

In the South African context, the regulatory framework has taken a multidimensional approach which allows all aspects concerning the development, production, use, application and release of LMOs, to be decided upon cooperatively. This ensures that all activities with regard to LMOs (importation, exportation, transit, development, production, release, distribution, contained use, storage and application) are well coordinated.

Other parameters that hamper the alignment of biosafety into NBSAPs:

Key concern is the absence of a specific biosafety window within the biodiversity GEF window. As a result, biosafety issues are not necessarily given sufficient resources.

Another issue is the extent to which biosafety aspects are integrated into national plans. This is because the competent authorities for biosafety matters are not always environment authorities. In that case, it is not necessarily useful to integrate biosafety into NBSAP but rather into other portfolios such as Agriculture, science and technology and trade and trade and industry.


(iii) What do you see as potential benefits for integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and NDP create a platform to:
-raise awareness on the possible positive and negative impacts of LMO  on unique biodiversity.
-realise the need to strengthen legislation, decision-making, monitoring and enforcement.
-take a precautionary approach to the release of LMOs into the environment, especially in biodiversity priority areas.
-align policy and legislation between and amongst sectors
-Faciliate the allocation of resources for biosafety in the context of biodiversity management.
posted on 2014-06-12 13:23 UTC by Mr Stanley Tshitwamulomoni, Department of Environmental Affairs
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6188]
Dear Stanley (from South Africa)
Thank you very much for sharing with the group the South African experiences on ensuring synergies between Biosafety, NBSAPs and other National Development Plans. You as the country are doing great work especially getting other relevant government departments such as the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Department of Science and Technology (DST) and other important stakeholders because that collaboration surely enhances recognition of Biosafety, allocation of national budgets by various authorities and further implementation of Biosafety related legislation to enhance environmental protection. Having said that is it possible that you share with the forum to what extent has Biosafety issues been incorporated in the old and new generation NBSAPs, what benefits and what challenges have been experienced in doing such exercise as I believe RSA has all these under one roof (Biodiversity and Conservation).

There is also a process of getting the key responsibilities and mandates to the Minister's contracts which can be another platform for raising the profile of the Biosafety issues. Can you please share with the group how has Biosafety been incorporated into the Minister's contract with the State President and how that has benefitted the implementation of the Biosafety Protocol and how it has contributed in raising its profile politically and otherwise and how you see it working better. Also of importance is how you see the gaps identified in the old NBSAP improved in the reviewing and revision of the NBSAP. It would of great assistance to the discussions if you can share the RSA experience and further elaborate on these.

Regards
posted on 2014-06-13 12:31 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6209]
Dear Colleagues,
I wish to thank you all for the useful views exchanged thus far on  integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development agenda. Liberia like many other countries integrated Biosafety into its first NBSAP and is also including it into the current revised one. By this, Biosafety  may then be considered    an important national development issue. However, what is important is the political will to provide budget support to implement the NBSAP itself of which biosafety is an integral part. Our first NBSAP did not receive much support and therefore biosafety suffered the same fate.

Regards,
Johansen Voker
National Focal Point for Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety/ Liberia
posted on 2014-06-13 23:15 UTC by Mr. Johansen T. Voker, Liberia
RE: National experiences and lessons learned in integrating biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans [#6228]
Dear Mr Voker
Thanks for sharing with the group the Liberian experience with the group and thanks for participating in the forum

Malta
posted on 2014-06-14 22:47 UTC by Ms. Malta Qwathekana, South Africa