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Online Forum on the Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

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Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6117]
Dear all,
I am lLetchu from the Department of Biosafety, Malaysia. my input is as follows:

I believe in some countries biosafety is a relatively unknown and neglected subject and runs on a one man show or so. It needs skilled people with capabilities to engage with and convince the authorities in charge of NBSAPs or National Development Plan. One can learn such capabilities in a natural way as they become mature. However as biosafety is relatively new subject, development of a guidance document on integration of biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans can be useful. It has to have clear facts and arguments on important parameter that can convince authorities. At institutional level, the structure can be reviewed over time (e.g. by increasing manpower or bringing more experts) depend on complexity and burden of works. This is important especially to support the implementation of biosafety action plans identified under NBSAPs which are cross-sectorial and involve many states
posted on 2014-05-28 09:04 UTC by Mr. Ramatha Letchumanan, Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6121]
I agree with you Mr. Leutchmanan biosafety needs skilled personnel for its implementation. Complex issues such as risk assessment and management requires persons who are well trained in the subject area and that is precisely why a strategy for human resource capacity building at the national level is so vitally needed. In the Caribbean Region which basically comprise of many small islands developing states, we are now in the process of implementing a regional biosafety capacity building project, where, hopefully, many persons would be trained in a plethora of areas. There is also plan afoot to develop an MSc. programme at the university in biosafety/biotechnology which would ensure that a pool of skilled persons who graduate from the system would be able to work in their respective countries. Capacity building has to be a constant and dynamic phenomena. Policy makers need to understand that biosafety is not an abstract subject matter but rather an important area that is inextricably linked to their countries socio economic development and as such, must be given the kind of importance and priority it deserves.
posted on 2014-05-28 10:52 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6125]
In order to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans, personnel need to be aucourant with exactly what biosafety is and how it can be tied to biodiversity in all its forms and how it can impact socio-economic development to be included in development plans.

In this regard, training of technical personnel in how biosafety can relate to NBSAPs through biodiversity considerations and how it can impact socio-economic development so that it is included in development plans is key to effective integration. Technical personnel to be trained should have an agricultural, biodiversity, forestry, botanical, wildlife, environmental, fisheries or marine resources background to be able to make most of the training imparted.  It is also essential that the trainees are experienced in community participatory management so that they can understand and apply the socio-economic issues that are relevant.
posted on 2014-05-28 19:24 UTC by Ms. Anita James, Saint Lucia
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6140]
Anita you raised some interesting points regarding the need for technical personnel to have the requisite background in a multiplicity of critical disciplines and the community participatory management skills which is so important when interfacing with the public cannot be overlooked in any strategy development programme in public education.

But what specific activities could be taken to strengthen the capacities of Parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

There is a general feeling expressed by most participants in this online discussion that there is a lack of technical capacities in most countries. Taking into account this reality, what specific roles should the Cartagena Protocol focal points and other Government officials responsible for biosafety play in raising the relevance of biosafety to other sectors and its integration into NBSAPs and national development plans?
posted on 2014-06-02 10:51 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6149]
Esteem colleagues, do you think that a generic guidance document on integration of biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans necessary? If your reply is in the affirmative, then what key elements should be contained in such guidance to assist parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Another key question I would like some fed back on is what specific activities could be taken to strengthen the capacities of parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Please share your perspectives on these two key questions
posted on 2014-06-05 02:36 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6158]
Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes
      The Strategic Plan for implementation of the Cartagena Protocol is a very important tool for keeping the implementation process under constant control. Certainly, successful implementation of this plan requires enough human resources, institution and technical capacities. In Belarus that problem was solved by the establishment of the National Co-ordination Biosafety Centre (NCBC) which coordinates its activities with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the other competent authorities, and executes national plans and international projects on biosafety.  NCBC monitors implementation of the obligations under the Cartagena Protocol by state and/or commercial institutions, physical persons, it provides them with information they need to know in biosafety field. Involvement of NCBC personnel in the process of improving the legislative and administrative measures to strengthen national capacities is the most effective way to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs. It works in Belarus and may be successful in other countries.
posted on 2014-06-06 07:54 UTC by Assoc. Prof. Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6161]
From the experiences shared by Professor Makeyeva from Belarus with regards to strengthening national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs, I think Belarus has done well in creating in creating the institutional framework and the necessary coordination mechanisms to ensure that the system works well. Other parties can certainly learn from what is being done in that country.
posted on 2014-06-06 11:16 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6169]
The main capacity that has to be developed, first has to be directed to politicians, technical staff and others in the government level, supported with scientific information as this is a polemic topic to discuss and for many years it has been left in the table with no discussion or will to understand it. It should also consider the new scenario of current laws that have relation with the theme as the Mother Earth Law from 2012.

Therefore, there is the suggestion to develop written material and launch seminars with experts from neighbor countries, like Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador, where they were able to advance in their biosafety national frameworks.
posted on 2014-06-11 22:05 UTC by Sra. Cecilia Gonzalez, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6171]
Thank you Senora Gonzalez for sharing your perspectives with respect to measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate NBSAPs and development plans and processes. The point raised about targeting politicians and other Government officials for capacity enhancement as a strategic goal have been raised by other participants in this online forum and its clearly a very important aspect that must be considered by parties seeking to improve the implementation of the protocol.
But Senora Gonzalez, what specific activities could be taken to strengthen the capacities of Parties to integrate  biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?
posted on 2014-06-12 10:07 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6183]
The multi-stakeholder character of biosafety issues and continuous developments in the field of biotechnology, makes it necessary to have a continuing focus on capacity building in all concerned institutions: public, private, voluntary, academic, research, and the media. The following actions may be necessary:

a) Review the present institutional capacities at the Central and State levels, in respect of enforcement of environmental / biosafety laws and regulations. Prepare and implement suitable programs for enhancement of the capacities, as required.
b) Incorporate in all environmental programmes a capacity development component for biosafety, with sufficient earmarked funds.
c) Ensure continuous upgradation of knowledge and skills of the scientific and technical personnel involved in biosafety management in public institutions at all levels: Central, State, and Local, through dedicated capacity building programs.
d) Promote public participation, particularly when it comes to assessing the environmental impacts of development projects that threaten biodiversity.

e) Educate people and raise public awareness on the importance of biological diversity and the need for its preservation.

In order to rapidly advance scientific understanding of biosafety issues, it is also necessary to promote properly focussed biosafety research by competent institutions.

A continuous engagement of policy makers with the scientific community, in government, academic, and private institutions, will provide important insights for policy making and regulation, including in the field of multilateral negotiations, and help realize deeper and broader skills in the scientific community.  Such an approach may also garner political will and public confidence in the present biosafety assessment process which is currently lacking.
posted on 2014-06-13 09:51 UTC by Dr. Ranjini Warrier, India
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6192]
On behalf of Alphonse Wouamane mbele:

1.      What specific capacities (human resources, institutional and other capacities) are required as a priority to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Human Resources: there’s a need of training and capacity building on biosafety issues of administrators, policy makers including members of the National Biosafety Committee and other experts (laboratory technicians, field inspectors etc.). There is also need of sensitization of the general public on biosafety issues.
Institutional capacities: Need to sensitize members of the parliament on biosafety issues; it’s necessary to ensure that deliberations made during the National Biosafety Committee Meetings should be based on expert advice and that these decisions can be applied nationwide.
Other capacities: Need of revival of the national Biosafety Clearing House, rehabilitation of the biotechnology laboratories of the Universities of Buea and Yaoundé I, that can help in identifying LMO and GMO products; There is need to ensure that biosafety activities are well captured in the national development plans.

2.      What specific roles should Cartagena Protocol national focal points and other government officials responsible for biosafety play in raising the relevance of biosafety to other sectors (environment, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, land use planning, finance and planning, and others) and its integration into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Cartagena Protocol national focal points and other government officials play a vital role in awareness raising on biosafety issues and its integration into the NBSAPs and national development plans. So far, the role these parties play in Cameroon has been weak but is now strengthened by the ongoing Cameroon Biosecurity Project which involves several sectors within its project structure such as the multi-sectorial Project Advisory Committee and task teams: several ministries are involved (agriculture, forestry/wildlife, Livestock/animal industries, environment, finance, economy/planning, scientific research, high education, etc.)  . It is envisaged that the communication within various sector agencies will be strengthened thereby further facilitating the integration of biosafety issues into NBSAPs and national development plans.


3.      How could external partners (including bilateral and multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector) support Cartagena Protocol national focal points in their efforts to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

External partners could assist first of all with the funding of biosafety activities such as capacity building (human & institutional) and public awareness. They can also provide technical support to ongoing biosafety activities thereby ensuring transfer of knowledge and technology. They can as well do some lobbying on the local government to emphasize the importance of biosafety: this can raise the awareness of these decision makers.


4.      What specific activities could be taken to strengthen the capacities of Parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

a.      Capacity building of administrators and policy makers on biosafety through seminars and workshops;
b.      Training of laboratory technicians and field inspectors on biosafety issues;
c.      Sensitization of the general public on biosafety;
d.      Revival of the national Biosafety Clearing House;
e.      Providing funding and technical support to local initiatives on biosafety;
f.      Regular/annual workshops of biosafety experts at national level to discuss recent issues.


5.      Is a generic guidance document on integration of biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans necessary?  If yes, what key elements should be contained in such guidance to assist Parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

Yes, it is really necessary to have a generic guidance document. Key elements could include:
-       Importance and key facts about biosafety;
-       Contributions of biosafety to development, with some examples taken worldwide;
-       Needs to involve biosafety experts in NBSAPs teams and committees, as well as some representatives of major national development plans.
posted on 2014-06-13 14:44 UTC by Mr. Andrew Bowers, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6201]
An excellent list of actions proposed by Dr. Warrier as measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety and development plans and processes. I sincerely hope that these could be recorded by participants on this online forum and be shared with their respective colleagues involved in the implementation of the protocol.
posted on 2014-06-13 15:56 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6214]
First of all let me thank Mr. Daniel Lewis for Co-Chairing this session.
1.   What specific capacities (human resources, institutional and other capacities) are required as a priority to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?
Withing the CIBIOGEM the six Secretaries that participate as well as the NAtional Conuncil of Science and Technology, participate in developing and agreeing on a  Biennial Working Program (BWP). The BWP  has four main  general objectives, that idetify priorities on the safe use of biotechnology. For example i) promoting training, distribution of biosafety information, outreach, and ii) strengthening  capacity building of human resources; the Program is aligned to the Cartagena Protocol Action Plan on Capacity Building (2012-2020). These activities include training of public officials, including regulators and decision makers, and are mainly focused on biosafety. On the other hand, biodiversity instruments are responsibility of the environment sector, the opportunity to promote an inclusive vision on how biosafety must be addressed in the context of the national biodiversity goals and CBD long term targets, could be beneficial for all these stakeholders.
Joint revision of CBD and PCB plans could synchronize perspectives and harmonize strategic criteria for the benefit of the regulators. A key issue is to generate and gather integrated information on biosafety, for communicating among policy makers at all levels.

2.   What specific roles should Cartagena Protocol national focal points and other government officials responsible for biosafety play in raising the relevance of biosafety to other sectors (environment, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, land use planning, finance and planning, and others) and its integration into NBSAPs and national development plans?
The Inter-secretarial Commission on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms in México (CIBIOGEM) is a national commission whose purpose is formulate and coordinate federal public policies related to biosafety of GMOs according to the regulation. This Commission is composed of seven entities that undertake biosafety decisions at the highest level, and is integrated by the heads of the Secretary of Environment and NAtuural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA), the Secretary of Health, the Secretary of Treasury, the Secretary of Economy, the Secretary of Education as well as the General Director of the National Science Council. It also has an Executive Secretariat, in charge of coordinate the activities of the government agencies involved, attend and promote compliance of CIBIOGEM’s decisions, and also act as the National Focal Point of the Cartagena Protocol. The Executive Secretariat is responsible for collecting, distributing and promoting information exchange on biosafety, and is assisted by the Commission Technical and Consultative boards and working groups to develop different actions on specific biosafety topics. This coordination scheme allows for consensus revision of biosafety and biodiversity aspects on a multidisciplinary approach among the government officials represented. So far, the experience is positive, and even if the revision of items can be time consuming, the outcomes of the process allows for a more integrated result.


3.   How could external partners (including bilateral and multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector) support Cartagena Protocol national focal points in their efforts to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?
The external partners could submit proposals on actions to be developed and identified as priorities through different mechanisms.

4.      What specific activities could be taken to strengthen the capacities of Parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?

• Further coordination of National Focal Points of CBD and PCB is needed in Mexico. The experience with the inter-secretarial coordination for the biosafety topic has helped to promote awareness among the different stakeholder and government bodies involved. CDB focal points are working on several issues and items. This very busy agenda becomes hard to follow with limited resources and short periods of time to accomplish targets.
• Revision of strategic plans and overview on the long term goals on biosafety and biodiversity targets (horizon 2020? 2030?).
• Guidance and expertise sharing, multidisciplinary training.
• Biosafety Capacity building (enhance biosafety skills on regulators and government agents that drive biodiversity and biosafety policies, most of the time partial views can compromise the process of a consistent strategy due to divergent opinions on the purpose of biosafety when put into the conservation of biodiversity context)

5.      Is a generic guidance document on integration of biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans necessary?  If yes, what key elements should be contained in such guidance to assist Parties to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and national development plans?
• Generic guidance could be useful, but seems very hard to establish a single one since different Parties have different structures to deal with biosafety and different mechanisms for the production of NBSAPs and national development plans.
• Perhaps the another difficulty while preparing a generic document would be the different contexts in which each country evolves their policies, depending on their particular biodiversity goals and sustainable development priorities.
posted on 2014-06-14 05:11 UTC by Ms. Sol Ortiz García, Mexico
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6216]
Ms. Garcia I deeply appreciate the enormous time and effort  you have taken to share with us on this online forum both  Mexico's experience in implementing the protocol including some of the challenges and success stories as well as some perspectives regarding a list of practical measures which can be adopted to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety issues into NBSAPs and other national development plans. You really provided, in a very comprehensive way, some deep and thought provoking ideas for which I believe participants can benefit. Your contribution has certainly added to the quality of the discussion and I deeply appreciate that.
posted on 2014-06-14 13:14 UTC by Mr. Daniel Lewis, Grenada
RE: Topic 3: Measures to strengthen national capacities to integrate biosafety into NBSAPs and development plans and processes [#6257]
Bonjour
Je me demande comment il y a des sujets toujours en anglais et pas un seul en français
posted on 2014-07-14 11:28 UTC by M. Guy Mboma Akani, Democratic Republic of the Congo