martes, 17 de noviembre de 2009

On going concerns about harmonisation of biosafety regulations in Africa

Author: Haidee Swanby

Published by: African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa


November 2009-11-13

Dear friends and colleagues

Haidee Swanby has written an excellent briefing paper titled
“On-going concerns about harmonisation of biosafety regulations in
The paper is a response to concerns raised by the African
Union’s Biosasfety Unit about assertions made in an earlier briefing
in June 2009 regarding the African Union’s biosafety harmonisation

In this briefing the Ms Swanby on behalf of the ACB salutes the
initiatives taken by the AU in the biosafety discourse on the
continent to date, including the early harmonisation attempts by its
predecessor, the Organisation of African Union (OAU) to put in place a
Model Law on Safety in Biotechnology. At that time, the OAU’s
harmonisation approach was to bring about a consistent African
approach to biosafety regulation based strongly on the precautionary

However, this briefing continues to warn of the dangers lurking in
the AU’s Biosafety Stategy with regard to proposed biosafety
harmonisation processes that involve several players that cause us
great concern. These players include: Regional Economic Communities
(RECs), who have a decidedly pro trade and pro GM agenda and whose
biosafety initiatives have to date been funded by USAID. The briefing
points out that the harmonisation approach favoured by USAID is one
that creates a one stop GMO approval system, and thereby side stepping
a country-by-country, case-by-case risk assessment and decision-making

The briefing also reiterates our extreme disquiet at the role of the
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (“FARA”) in the
implementation of the AU’s Biosafety Strategy.
The briefing goes
further by proffering information to the AU’s Biosafety Unit of
FARA's involvement with industry by highlighting for example, its
partnership with the Syngenta Foundation announced in May 2009, to
launch a 3 year biosafety capacity building project for six countries
in sub-Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and
Malawi. FARA’s board member is the well known Florence Wambugu,
whose long standing ties with Monsanto and generally, the pro-GM
machinery is well established.

The ACB looks forward to measures being taken to distance the AU’s
biosafety processes from actors whose agenda it is to promote
proprietary technologies
while actively promoting the development of
biosafety frameworks that ignore the precautionary principle and
provisions of the African Model Law on Biosafety.

Download the document from our website:

Kind regards

Mariam Mayet

Director, African Centre for Biosafety

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