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Biosafety Clearing-House News

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Saint LuciaSaint Lucia - Saint Lucia endorses National Biosafety Policy
Saint Lucia demonstrates its commitment to Biodiversity conservation and endorses the National Biosafety Policy and Legislation.On Wednesday 3rd May, 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers announced its endorsement of the Biosafety policy and authorised Attorney General’s Chambers to finalise the Biosafety Bill and regulations. These legal instruments will regulate the use and creation of GMOs and LMOs through a licensing system and will solicit background information on persons wishing to use or import GMOs into the country. The Biosafety bill establishes bodies of technical and scientific experts who will be called upon to review applications, assess the risk and determine whether the genetically modified product will have any negative impacts on human health and the environment, and if so, how these can be avoided. The Biosafety regulations assign fines of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) for persons importing, using, creating or transporting a GMO without the required license. More...
SenegalSenegal - Atelier sur les applications de la technologie <<Gene-Drive>> dans les systémes de santé publique
L’autorité Nationale de Biosécurité du Sénégal, dirigée par Monsieur Ousseynou Kassé a organisé, du 09 au 11 Octobre 2017, un atelier sur les applications de la technologie <<Gene-Drive>> dans les systèmes de santé publique pour mener la réflexion autour de la problématique de l’adoption des biotechnologies modernes du « gene-drive ».

La Cérémonie d’ouverture qui a eu lieu le mardi 10 avril à 10h00, a été présidé par le Ministre de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable, Professeur  Mame Thierno Dieng, en présence des représentants des Services étatiques et d'organisations de la société civile.

Dans son discours, Monsieur le Ministre a exprimé tout le plaisir qu’il éprouvait en présidant l’ouverture des travaux. Il a rappelé aussi l’engagement des pouvoirs publics à positionner les enjeux de biosécurité au centre des préoccupations de  l’Etat.
MexicoMexico - CONVOCATORIA: Cuarto Curso Regional para el Fortalecimiento de Capacidades en bioseguridad de organismos genéticamente modificados.
En seguimiento de las actividades de Divulgación y Comunicación coordinadas por la Secretaría Ejecutiva de la CIBIOGEM y en consideración a la importancia de la cooperación internacional en el fortalecimiento de capacidades técnicas entre países de la Región Latinoamericana, acciones asociadas al Plan Nacional de Desarrollo para delinear un México con Responsabilidad Global; esta Secretaría Ejecutiva convoca a participar en el “Cuarto Curso Regional para el Fortalecimiento de Capacidades en bioseguridad de organismos genéticamente modificados” que se realizará del 16 al 20 de octubre de 2017, en la Ciudad de México.

Le informamos que el registro se encontrará abierto del 23 de junio al 4 de agosto.
More...
PhilippinesPhilippines - 2nd Meeting of the Informal Consultative Committee (ICC) of Asia BCH Family (ABF)
The Informal Consultative Committee of the Asia BCH Family held its 2nd meeting on May 10-12, 2017 at Puma Imperial Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, hosted by the Government of Mongolia, thru the Ministry of Nature and the Environment.

The ICC is created in order to promote and facilitate the implementation of the  Asia BCH Road Map (2016-2020) which was developed and finalized during the 2015 BCH Workshop in the Peoples' Republic of China. The ICC members are from the Republic of South Korea, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Cambodia, and the Philippines,  with one representative  each from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), the United Nations Environment (UNE), the Compliance Committee to the CPB and UN Regional Advisors.

The meeting was convened  to assess the 1st year accomplishments of the ABF in implementing the BCH Road Map (2016-2020) and to plan and finalize the ensuing activities for the remaining 2017, the highlight of which is the holding of the joint ABF & BCH Workshops sometime in November. Notable among the 2016 achievements was the holding of the “Side Event” for the ABF in Cancun, Mexico in December 14 wherein the ABF was introduced and its mission recognized by the UN Environment and the COPMOP, among others.

The ICC agreed to continue its follow up and assist countries, as needed, to comply with the reportorial requirements of the Protocol; encourage  sharing  of information and enhance public awareness within the regional by updating country information and activities in the Asia Regional Portal (ARP) hosted by the KBCH; involvement of the ABF in enhancing regional collaboration  by presenting the Asia BCH Roadmap as a means to implement the provisions of the Protocol. The ensuing activities shall be sustained in order to achieve its objectives and  realize its vision of One Successful BCH Family by 2020 and beyond.

Detailed information about the ABF can be accessed at: http://asiabchfamily.org/?menuno=107

Julieta Fe L. Estacio
PDOIV, DOST
NBF, BCH Pilipinas
and Regional Coordinator ABF (2016-2017)
PhilippinesPhilippines - Regulators from Competent National Authorities participate in the 14th ISBGMO in Mexico
On 4 to 8 June, the regulators from Departments of Health (DOH) and Science and Technology (DOST) participated in the 14th International Symposium on the Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (ISBGMO) in Guadalajara, México. For this year, the conference theme was "Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms: past, present and future"

The group was composed of Dr. Rodolfo Antonio Albornoz, Engr. Rolando Santiago, Dr. Leonardo Gonzales, Dr. Flerida Cariño, and Ms. Julieta Fe L. Estacio are are members of the DOH and DOST Biosafety committees which are primarily in-charge of the biosafety management of GMOs in the country.

Further, Dr. Gonzales and Ms. Estacio participated in the scientific poster presentation with posters entitled: “Biosafety Regulators Challenge: Measuring and Monitoring the Socio-economic Impact of GMOs in the Philippines” and “Public Awareness and the Asia BCH: The Philippine Experience”, respectively.

​Ms. Estacio was also invited to the PechaKucha session wherein the country's experience in public awareness was presented, alongside the collaboration and commitment of the twenty three (23) Asian countries known as the "Asia BCH Family". Also called as the ABF, these countries are continuously enhancing their efforts in implementing the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety by way of the four focal areas in the BCH Roadmap (2016-2020): Compliance, Regional networking and collaboration, Capacity building and Public Awareness and Education.

​Attendance in the Symposium provided an opportunity for other country regulators to exchange information and experiences about the latest developments in the field of biosafety. New breeding techniques and results of several years of studies on the effects of GMOs on the environment were also presented with the aim for helping regulators in the conduct of risk assessment and management of GMOs.​

The ISBGMO is a biennial, international meeting organized under the auspices of the International ​Society on ​Biosafety ​Research (ISBR)  with the goal to advance the standing of biosafety research around the world and shape the ways in which GM technology is applied and regulated. This event brings together academics, technology developers, regulatory authorities, non-government organizations and other credible stakeholders involved in all aspects of biosafety and offers a unique opportunity to share information and experiences and engage in open and meaningful dialogue on biosafety research, risk analysis, policy and regulatory matters.

Julieta Fe L. Estacio
Head Secretariat, NCBP
and NFP, BCH Pilipinas
PhilippinesPhilippines - DA-BPO conducts Capacity building on Modern Biotechnology Tools for Crop/Animal Improvement
Since the DA-DENR-DILG-DOH-DOST Joint Department Circular governing plants and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology took effect last April 16, 2016, the Department of Agriculture Biotech Program Office (DA-BPO) has been incessantly conducting activities in collaboration with other institutions to strengthen the capacity and participation of the five government departments involved in the biosafety regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). 

Last April 17-21, DA-BPO conducted a Biotechnology Training Course on Basic Biotechnology Tools for Crop/Animal Improvement in the Philippine Rice Research Institute at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

With speakers from the academe and public research institutions, the week-long training focused on explaining the technical and scientific concepts of modern biotechnology and domestic and international instruments used as basis for safety assessment of GMOs. The course aimed to enhance the understanding of participants on the application of modern biotechnology tools, the Philippine biotechnology regulatory system, and research and development activities on GM crops being carried out by the public research institutions and provide sources of information that can be referenced in carrying out risk assessment. The participants were comprised of regulatory officers from the five departments involved in the implementation of the JDC.

The Philippines is the first country in Asia to  establish a biosafety regulatory system for GMOs and also the first to commercialize agribiotech crop - Bt corn.
PhilippinesPhilippines - PAEP: JDC Public Briefing goes to Cebu
As part of the continuing initiatives in strengthening public awareness on the benefits of modern biotechnology and the safety assessment of its products, the DOST Biosafety Committee Secretariat   participated as resource speaker on the 4th Leg of the Biotechnology  and Joint Department Circular Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing last April 4 in Cebu City.

The event is a continuing effort aimed to increase the level of awareness of  members of the local government units, researchers, students and farmer groups about the science and current research trends on modern biotechnology; as well as the biosafety regulatory systems that govern these technologies. Ms. Estacio, together with Ms. Ma. Lorelie U. Agbagala, Agricultural Center Chief II of the DA- Bureau of Plant Industry, discussed the key features of the JDC on the regulation of plants and plant products derived from modern biotechnology, pursuant to the mandate of the Competent National Authorities.

The key features of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the country’s compliance  as party to the protocol,  the tools made available for public participation and awareness, the BCH and its features,  including the learning modules were likewise presented.

The participants were interested on the benefits of modern biotechnology to their farms, and how to avail GM seeds to increase their yield. The participants also asked how the new JDC will affect research projects on GMOs being developed by the public research institutions. They were assured that the JDC shall be true to its mandate of facilitating technology transfer while ensuring that safety assessments are done and meaningful public participation are provided to its stakeholders.

The public briefing was a collaborative undertaking by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture—Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA-BIC), and the Department of Agriculture and Public research Institutions. The next leg of the activity will be held in Davao City in August.
Biosafety Clearing-House NewsLaunch of the Biodiversity e-Learning Platform/Biosafety Modules
Two new biosafety self-paced learning modules on public access to biosafety information and public participation in decision-making regarding LMOs and an e-course on the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for customs/border control officials, developed in collaboration with the Green Customs Initiative, has been launched by the Secretariat in March 2017. Please visit and enroll in the relevant modules at http://scbd.unssc.org.

The notification is available at  https://www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2017/ntf-2017-021-cb-en.pdf?dowload
MalaysiaMalaysia - DEPARTMENT OF BIOSAFETY MALAYSIA AND THE ASIA BIOSAFETY CLEARING HOUSE
Malaysia was involved in a Side Event on the Asia Biosafety Clearing House (Asia BCH). The establishment of the Asia BCH Family is to enhance existing collaborative mechanisms in order to be self-sustaining and movement towards compliance to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as a region. Malaysia was represented by Mr. Letchumanan Ramatha, who gave a talk on the Asia BCH Roadmap as Enhance of Regional Cooperation to Improve Compliance. More information on http://www.biosafety.nre.gov.my. More...
SenegalSenegal - Atelier national sur la révision de la loi sur la biosécurité
Sous l’égide de l’Autorité Nationale de Biosécurité (Autorité nationale compétente) et en collaboration avec l’African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), le Sénégal s’est engagé depuis plusieurs mois dans un processus de révision de la loi sur la biosécurité (votée en 2009).

A ce titre, un atelier de partage a eu lieu les 19, 20 et 21 décembre 2016 à Saly Portudal (au sud de Dakar, sur la Petite Côte) et a vu la participation de l’ensemble des membres de l’Autorité Nationale de Biosécurité, du Comité national de Biosécurité et de diverses autres parties prenantes nationales. Cette rencontre avait pour objectif de recueillir les avis sur le draft de loi proposé pour la révision, ainsi que sur les textes d’accompagnement. La révision de la loi est motivée par :
- un souci d’alignement au Protocole additionnel de Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur (qui était faiblement pris en compte dans la loi de biosécurité votée en 2009) et au projet de règlement communautaire de biosécurité pour l’espace CEDEAO qui entre dans la dernière phase d’adoption,
- la nécessité d’une meilleure prise en compte de la recherche nationale en matière de biotechnologie moderne
- et l’importance d’assurer un cadre national de biosécurité plus opérationnel, ajusté au contexte actuel, à travers notamment la réorganisation du dispositif institutionnel et l’amélioration et/ou la définition de dispositions majeures à cet effet.

Cet atelier fait suite à deux rencontres de partage en interne, au sein du Ministère de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable (Ministère en charge de la biosécurité au Sénégal).