Biotech Updates

World Bank Grant to Foster Technical Cooperation on Biosafety

October 3, 2012

The World Bank has unveiled a US$1.2 million grant to fund a new global partnership formed to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to make their biosafety regulations more efficient and harmonized. The grant will support up to 10 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia that are adopting, or are considering the adoption of agricultural biotechnology. The first round of countries selected to participate in the project include Paraguay, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

"Partnership for Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation" brings together the non-profit Center for Environmental Risk Assessment (CERA) of the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to strengthen and improve environmental risk assessment of agricultural biotechnologies. The partnership will be a critical component of multilateral efforts to build developing country capacity in science-based environmental risk assessment to help ensure that trade, testing and adoption of transgenic (genetically modified) crops is as environmentally sound as it is efficient. The grant is expected to leverage an additional US$6.5 million in funds from the public and private sectors.

 "By bringing together two partners with distinct comparative advantages, this partnership will help to safeguard the environment while equipping countries with the tools needed for safe access to new technologies that have the potential to reduce poverty and promote food security," said Juergen Voegele, Director of the World Bank's Agriculture and Rural Development Department. "Equally as important is the potential for this collaboration to give developing country partners a voice, as well as the means to influence the international dialogue on an issue with significant development linkages."

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