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The FAO - CBD - OECD Biosafety Databases Forum

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Discussion Summary [#7195]

Dear Participants,
Thank you very much for all the valuable comments, perspectives and experiences that you have posted over the last weeks.

Many of you recognized the importance of effective inter-agency collaboration at the national level as a way of clarifying the scope of different agencies’ responsibilities and the potential to avoid possible gaps and duplications of work. Some countries have in place a cross-sectoral mechanism that allows various government agencies and institutions, often supplemented by representatives from other sectors such as academia and NGOs. It was observed that such established mechanisms are often under legal provisions of the national law.  The tasks and responsibilities that are assigned to the mechanisms vary among countries and include regulating, advising, coordinating and sharing information. In some countries, although a reasonably effective informal coordination mechanism has been established, lack of a formal mechanism can sometimes become a hurdle when it comes to sharing information between different ministries and agencies.

Other challenges that were identified by participants include an unclear division of tasks among the involved agencies. It was also raised that a lack of interaction among authorities working on different safety aspects (environmental – food safety) is a specific challenge when it comes to effective national communication and coordination.

According to participants, international organizations can provide assistance by creating harmonized communication channels, preparing cross-sector oriented guidance and organizing joint training opportunities at the national, regional and international levels. A concrete and practical example suggested was the development of a single interface that shows a list of all national focal/contact points of each of the three databases.

The output of the online discussion will be further summarized in a brief report that will serve a basis for the development of the upcoming webinar on 27 May. For more information about this event please go to http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/a-z-index/biotechnology/biosafety-events/en/

Again many thanks for your contribution.

Masami and Ward – FAO
Manoela and Dina – CBD
Peter, Bertrand and Taka - OECD
posted on 2015-05-15 17:02 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD