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The need for national biosafety policies or strategies [#747]
My name is John Komen, program manager for PBS – the Program for Biosafety Systems (http://www.ifpri.org/pbs/pbs.asp) supported by USAID. Thanks for all excellent contributions to the forum so far.

In my view, it would be ideal if the major capacity building needs and gaps are analyzed and prioritized in a national biosafety policy or strategy, as they will differ from country to country. Such a strategy is essential also to provide guiding principles for the development, implementation and long-term financing of a national biosafety framework. Elements of a national policy would include a clear definition of a country government’s goals and priorities for biotechnology, biosafety and associated capacity development; and, a division of responsibilities across government agencies. Having a national policy in place serves to build long-term government support, give weight to any decisions on LMOs / GMOs, and supports inclusion of biosafety capacity development into national budgets.

PBS has supported biosafety policy development in countries such as Kenya, Malawi and Uganda (often jointly with other agencies) with, overall, positive results. I’m aware of biosafety policies or strategies in a number of countries and would be interested to hear participants’ experiences.
posted on 2008-11-11 15:57 UTC by Mr. John Komen, Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS)
RE: The need for national biosafety policies or strategies [#749]
My name is Bosibori Bett a Research Scientist in Kenya.  I agree with Joel Komen that there is need to prioritize capacity building in different countries, which is key when it comes to implementation of a country’s NBF.  Truly, Kenya has been able to come up with a biosafety policy with support from various agencies, (thanks to that), and one such outcome of the developed policy is the need for capacity building.  This has been realized in Kenya in form of trainings, workshops, seminars etc. right from the lower levels to the highest, in order of hierarchy in institutes, organizations etc. undertaking biotechnology-related research, etc.  This has concurrently filled some gaps related to implementing research projects, and has also created awareness. 
posted on 2008-11-13 08:22 UTC by Mrs. Bosibori Bett, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
RE: The need for national biosafety policies or strategies [#760]
My Name is Angela Lozan. I'd like to bring a Moldavian experience in developing of biosafety policy. Moldova is part of the CP since 2002, The National Biosafety Strategy and Action Plan (2000) stipulates several requirements and needs regarding Biosafety: regulatory development, detection laboratory, public awareness and participation. The national Law on Biosafety (entered into force in 2003) regulated the risk assessment requirements (Art 34), as well as the a special guide describes the risk assessment procedures during the decision making. 
During the UNEP/GEF project on Implementation of NBF a Biosafety Action Plan was drafted to strenthen efforts to the implementation of a comprehencive NBF, stipulates the biosafety as a governmental priority, and outlines the prioritar measures that responsible governmental bodies should undertake. AP is expected to ensure the long-term measures and effectiveness. As a special task it is to build capacities for environmental risk assessment and post-release monitoring. The document have been consulted with largerly with differnt stakeholders, and a consensus was meet. As the following actions, a series of regulations and guidelines are drafted and some of them approved to setting up a system for monitoring and risk assessment procedures, including the RA and post-release monitoring.
In the context of John's approach I condider important to strenthen national policies in order to successful implementation of biosafety mechanisms.
posted on 2008-11-15 13:21 UTC by Angela Lozan
RE: The need for national biosafety policies or strategies [#765]
Concerning national strategies on Biosafety, as a part of the UNEP/GEF Implementation Project, Cuba started to develop an Action Plan for Biosafety (2003-2004). This Action Plan was approved in 2006 and it was included into the National Action Plan for Biodiversity. The General purpose of this plan is aimed at organizing, directing and controlling the National System for Biosafety. Its specifics objectives are:
• The establishment and implementation of the national system of Biosafety to achieve the strengthening of the regulatory activity on this matter; 
• The development of a specialized training system and scientific research to achieve the increment of the level of the human resources, including the personnel of the Regulatory Body, and the rest of the specialist of the system,
• The encouragement of the Information exchange on Biosafety issues.

It is important to point out that this Action Plan is the response to the broad approach that Biosafety, as a preventive discipline, has in Cuba. That is the reason why it is not only aimed at LMOs, but it includes, alien species and pathogenic biological agents.

The above specific objectives are distributed in 7 main areas:

• Political and legislative framework.
• Administrative and infrastructure framework.
• Biosafety Control.
• Training.
• Scientific research.
• International, regional and sub regional cooperation.
• Information exchange.

Finally, the fulfillment of this Action Plan is checked by the National Group for Biodiversity, this group is coordinated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba.
posted on 2008-11-17 15:25 UTC by Lic. Lenia Arce Hernandez, Centro Nacional de Seguridad Biológica
RE: The need for national biosafety policies or strategies [#792]
My name is Behzad Ghareyazie, President, Biosafety Society of Iran. I do agree with John Komen that every country needs a writen national biosafety policy and strategy.
In Iran, the Government has approved the National Strategic Plan for Biotechnology in 2004. According to this plan, Iran has to devote to GM crops more than %0.5 of the global area under the cultivation of GM crops. This has been reflected in the draft law currently under approval in the Parliament. Iran's policy can therefore be enumerated as following:
Iran accepts the genetic engineering as one of the tools for improvement of the agricultural productivity.
Iran is concerned about its biological diversity and therefore is looking for the safe handling of the technology.
Iran has already released t and commercialized the first transgenic rice in the world which is an insect resistant aromatic variety.
posted on 2008-11-22 10:16 UTC by Mr. Behzad Ghareyazie, Iran (Islamic Republic of)