Aug 14, 2009, 7:37 AM
As part of the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Protocol, the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management recently held a two-day forum on Bio-safety Clearing House (BCH).
Held at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kololi, the forum was aimed at raising awareness among national stakeholders on the use of BCH, in a bid to fulfil the country's obligation towards implementing the protocol.
It also seeks to help stakeholders understand the protocol, and thus build their capacities to use the central portal of the BCH for acquiring relevant information.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of Parks and Wildlife Management, Mr. Alpha Jallow said The Gambia has already developed the national bio-safety framework document. This, he stated, is the framework policy document that contains relevant national information on existing laws, regulations and policies relevant to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOS).
Mr. Jallow stated that the Cartagena Protocol on bio-safety is an international instrument that deals exclusively with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The protocol, he noted, promotes bio-safety by establishing practical rules and procedures for safe handling and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), with specific focus on regulating movement of these organisms across boarders from one country to another.
He said government exchange the information through a bio-safety regime that facilitates transparency and the sharing of information, which is vital to dynamic and effective global bio-safety system.
Mr. Jallow said under the BCH project, the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management will serve as the focal point for the parent convention, noting that the CBD will ensure that national mechanisms for participation in the BCH are set to operate beyond the scope and duration of the project. This, he further stated, includes the establishment of a national task force on bio-safety, a body that would help in the implementation of the project.
He said the BCH project during 2008 conducted a series of national level training workshops on the use of BCH central portal and BCH database with the help of experts.
"At the regional level, the national task force on bio-safety has conducted tours to all the administrative regions to conduct awareness on GMOs and related issues," Jallow added.
Mr. Alagie Manjang, the Deputy Director of forestry chaired the occasion.