Thursday, February 25, 2010

Journalist trained on Biosafety Clearing House

NEWS BANJUL, THE GAMBIA(MB)- About forty journalists from print and electronic were on Wednesday 17th February 2010 converged at Baobab Resort for a day long sensitization on Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Living Modified Organism (LMO), a program organized by Department of Parks and Wildlife Management funded by GEF/UNEP.
Speaking earlier, Alpha Omar Jallow the Director of Parks and Wildlife Management revealed that the Gambia has signed the convention on biological diversity (CBD) in 1992 and its Cartagena protocol on biosafety (CPB) on 24th May 2000.According to him the convention on biological diversity is the parent body to Cartagena protocol on biosafety; adding that the implementation of the parent body and CBD requires parties to the convention to take measures to regulate and manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into the environment.” The Gambia has already developed the National Biosafety Framework document which is the policy document that contains relevant information on existing laws, regulation and policies relevant to genetically modified organism”, he added.
Director Jallow further went on to say the biosafety framework is meant to guide all processes regarding to safe handling, use and movement of GMOs into the country by means of proposed administrative structures. He noted that the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international instrument that deals exclusively with GMOs which promotes biosafety by establishing practical rules and procedures for the safe handling and use of GMOs with specific focus on regulating movement of these organisms across borders from one country to another.
For his part, Alhagie Manjang BCH project coordinator said that the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international agreement concluded and adopted in the framework of the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). According to him the objectives includes convention of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity and fair and equitable sharing of benefits to contribute in ensuring an adequate level of protection in the safe transfer, handling and of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation. He noted that the protocol applies to the transboundary movement, transit, handling and use of all living modified organisms that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity taking also into account risks to human health.
Mr. Kawsu Jammeh alias Jakarta, PoWPA project manager stated that genetically modified foods are developed and marketed because there is some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer of these foods. This according to him is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater profit or both. Noting that initially genetically modified seed developers wanted their products to be accepted by producers, so have concentrated on innovations that farmers would appreciate. Adding that, genetic engineering offers a rapid and precise method of alerting organisms as compared to traditional methods that are slow and inaccurate.
Abdoulie Sawo park warden and also the assistant BCH coordinator revealed that the protocol on Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) was established in order to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on Living Modified Organism (LMOs) and for the parties assist including the Gambia to implement the protocol under the BCH project.
According to him all parties will need to put some basic information and non-parties are also encouraged to contribute appropriate information to the BCH. ”Required information should be posted within define time frames or as soon as feasible”, he emphasize.
Mr. Sawo further elucidated that some of the benefits of using the BCH include access to information about the national laws, regulations and guidelines of parties and other countries decisions and assessment relating to specific LMOs.
For Dr. Ebrima Njie lecturer at the University of the Gambia stated that genetic engineering is a set of techniques for isolating, modifying, multiplying and recombining genes from different organisms; adding that this enables geneticists to transfer genes between species belonging to different kingdoms that would have no probability of interbreeding in nature. “This practice originated in 1970s as the result of discovery of several key techniques in molecular genetics and the handling of GMO is multifaceted which could compromise the integrity of scientist, reduce organisms including human beings to commodities, intensify the exploitation and oppression of the third world and threaten human and animals health”, said Dr. Njie.

No comments: