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Crop Biotech Update

Africa's Biosafety Agencies Seek to Harmonize Approaches to Regulatory Systems

August 24, 2016

The Association of National Biosafety Agencies in Africa (ANBAA) held its first African Biosafety Leadership Summit on August 15 and 16, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. The summit brought together over eighty delegates from local, regional and international organizations involved in biosafety. According to a joint communique, ANBAA committed to work towards "development of regional policies and common approaches to regulatory systems acceptable to most countries in the region." This is so as "to reduce trade barriers, facilitate trans-boundary movements of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) and strengthen expertise across Africa."

The ANBAA membership is also committed to:

  1. Serve as the African voice on biosafety issues and advocate for adoption of internationally agreed best practices in the continent;
  2. Enhance the Pan-African collaboration, networking and joint implementation of programmes in biosafety and support compliance to international agreements in Africa;
  3. Reduce biosafety risks by collaborating with governments and other institutions to explore mechanisms and policies that are consistent with international guidelines, norms and requirements; 
  4. Encourage participation of other agencies in Africa to establish a critical mass of NBAs with determination to facilitate safe use of modern biotechnology;
  5. Reduce hurdles in sharing data and information on biotechnology and biosafety between countries; and
  6. Initiate regional and local training, exchange and mentorship programmes.

The summit was held in collaboration with NEPAD Agency and Kenya's National Biosafety Authority (NBA) under the theme ‘Leadership in the Face of Challenging Regulatory Environments.'  Its aim was to bring together biosafety agencies and leading biotechnology and biosafety stakeholders to share experiences and analyze key capacity building needs. This is in the face of new and emerging challenges in development and implementation of workable regulatory frameworks at national and sub-regional levels.

For more information about the ANBAA summit contact Dr. Willy Tonui on ceo@biosafetykenya.go.ke.