Namibia Lays Groundwork to Legalize GMO

Namibia's National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) conducted a stakeholder workshop to discuss the Draft Biosafety Regulations before submission to the Ministry of Justice for gazetting. Through the workshop, Namibian scientists had an opportunity to develop regulatory instruments which would facilitate safer transfer, handling, and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to protect and sustainably use biodiversity.

According to the science and research council, the Namibian government has long recognized the potential benefits of biotechnology and has complied with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted by the Parties to that Convention. After this, the Biosafety Act was ratified in 2006, which is administered by the science council as the competent authority. The science and research council formed the Biosafety Council, which will finalize the regulations to the act.

"The development of GMOs has become a contentious and most-discussed aspect of biotechnology. Modern science and technology offer tremendous opportunities for improving the well-being of people and the environment, however it also embodies risks. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that adequate care is taken to inform the people of the benefits and processes associated with these innovations," said Dr. Eino Mvula, CEO of science and research council.

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This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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