The Biosafety Protocol, which follows the precautionary principle and empowers nation's to regulate GMO foods, could run into direct conflict with the World Trade Organization. Last month, the U.S. filed a legal challenge before the WTO contesting Europe's right to place a moratorium on some GMO food crops.
The Biosafety Protocol reaffirms the right of Europe, and other countries, to set their own regulations for biotech crops.
SO USAID, part of whose official role is to integrate GMos into the agruiculture of developing cpountries, is going to help them write those regulations via a $ 14.8 million dollar programme ...
2 items follow.
---Consortium to Support Biosafety in Developing Countries
Author: Press Release
Date: Monday, June 09, 2003http://www.agbios.com/main.php?action=ShowNewsItem&id=4478
OTTAWA -- Agriculture & Biotechnology Strategies (AGBIOS) is a key participant in the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), a $US 14.8 million initiative that aims to enhance the ability of developing countries in Africa and Asia to more effectively address the impacts of modern biotechnology on the environment and human health. The program will work initially with Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, East and West Africa. By implementing functional biosafety systems, these countries will be better able to determine the safety of new products so that farmers and consumers can realize benefits from agricultural biotechnology.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by the International Service for National Agricultural Research, PBS is implemented by a consortium of public and private sector institutions. The consortium will work in a client-driven manner to rapidly and practically address partner country needs related to: policy development; environmental risk assessment and risk management research; the preparation of regulatory applications; and communication, outreach and training.
"Building biosafety systems are a key to helping countries make effective decisions about biotechnology, decisions that span development strategies across economic, environmental, trade, and social sectors," said Emmy Simmons, Assistant Administrator at USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
Key activities in the delivery of PBS include:
- Implementing new models for biosafety regulation that promote science- based decision-making and policy development, and regional cooperation
- Improving the science base supporting biosafety regulation by funding new research through the USAID Biotechnology and Biodiversity Interface grants program
- Providing guidance to partner country institutes on incorporating biosafety concerns into product development strategies
- Establishing effective regional mechanisms for biosafety risk assessment, risk management, and communication
AGBIOS is coordinating the capacity building and outreach activities of PBS, which include: building scientific and technical capability to conduct environmental, food and feed safety assessments of biotechnology products; establishing improved mechanisms for the safe conduct of experimental field trials; and the creation of a lasting regional communications capacity.
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AGBIOS is a Canadian company dedicated to providing public policy, regulatory, and risk assessment expertise pertaining to genetically modified and other novel foods, crops, and forest tree species. The Company also assists commercial enterprises seeking regulatory approval of biotechnology products, and other public and private sector groups seeking clarification of issues associated with the development and utilization of biotechnology processes and products.
Program for Biosafety Systems Consortium Partners
Lead Institute: The International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR; The Netherlands)
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI; USA)
- Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC; USA)
- AGBIOS (Canada)
- Michigan State University (MSU; USA)
- Western Michigan University (WMU; USA)
Partner Institutions and Organizations- Developing Countries and Regional Groups:
- African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum (ABSF; Kenya)
- Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA; Uganda)
- East African Regional Programme and Research Network for Biotechnology, Biosafety, and Biotechnology Policy Development (BIO-EARN; Uganda)
- National Agricultural Research Organizations (NAROs), Regulatory and Science and Technology Ministries, and community-level groups
- Le Conseil Ouest et Centre Africain pour la Recherche et le Developpement Agricoles (CORAF; Senegal)
- Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI; India)
Partner Institutions- International Agricultural Research Centers
- International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; The Philippines)
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT; India)
- West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA; Ivory Coast)
- International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA; Nigeria)
- International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT; Mexico)
- International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT; Colombia)
- International Potato Center (CIP; Peru)
Consortium to Support Biosafety in Developing Countries
'Group Awarded $15 Million for Work on Strategies and Policies'
WASHINGTON-The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) $14.8 million to assist developing countries to enhance biosafety policy, research, and capacity. PBS will be run by a consortium of professionals and institutions with an unmatched level of knowledge in biosafety program and policy development in poor countries.
The program will work initially with Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, East and West Africa, and is likely to expand to other countries and regions in the future. "Modern biotechnology has significant potential for improving agriculture in developing countries, but any nation wishing to benefit from biotechnology needs a functional biosafety system" said Dr. Joel Cohen, Project Manager of New Technologies for Agricultural Research at the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) in the Netherlands, who leads the consortium. "Through this project, we hope to assist our partners in determining how to best create such a system, making sound decisions based on scientific evidence."
The program's unique approach addresses biosafety as part of a sustainable development strategy, anchored by agriculture-led economic growth, trade, and environment objectives. It will assist national governments in studying the policies and procedures necessary to evaluate and manage the potential harmful effects of modern biotechnology on the environment and human health. Among the consortium's goals are:
* To improve regional cooperation on issues related to genetically modified organisms and expand management skills in the area of biosafety;
* To assist governments in making science-based decisions about the effects on biodiversity of introducing genetically engineered organisms into the environment;
* To build collaboration between agricultural research and environmental conservation communities in the United States and developing countries;
* To assist partner countries in regulating and safely conducting experimental field trials.
"Building biosafety systems are a key to helping countries make effective decisions about biotechnology, decisions that span development strategies across economic, environmental, trade, and social sectors," said Emmy Simmons, Assistant Administrator at USAID, which administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. For participating countries and regions, the group looks to build a firm foundation for policy development and biosafety decision-making in the future. The program, which will last for five years, began in May, with collaborators from all levels gathering for a participatory planning meeting in July.
"There are many components to a solid biosafety strategy" notes Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, of the University of the Philippines Los BaÃ’os. "Biosafety considerations need to be examined with a scientific focus to determine how products of biotechnology will affect the environment" adds Ebora. "Farmers also need to see for themselves the risks and benefits that GM crops may bring. Policy recommendations need to take all perspectives into account, and we feel PBS will help bring these perspectives together." -- ISNAR is one of the 16 Future Harvest Centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Late last week, the Pacific nation of Palau became the 50th country to sign the United Nation's Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The signature triggers a 90-day countdown, with the treaty coming into force on September 11, 2003.