#Article (Archive)

Journalists trained on Biosafety clearing house

Feb 24, 2010, 11:40 AM | Article By: Abdourahman Sallah

About forty journalists from both the print and electronic media last Wednesday 17th February 2010, gathered at the Baobab Resort for a daylong sensitisation on Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Living Modified Organism (LMO) organised by the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, with funding from the GEF/UNEP.

Speaking at the occasion, 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. The implementation of the parent body and CBD, Jallow added, requires parties to the convention to take measures in regulating, managing or controling 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 stated that biosafety framework is meant to guide all processes regarding safe handling, use and movement of GMO's into the country by means of proposed administrative structures.

For his part, Alhagie Manjang, BCH Project Coordinator said that the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international agreement, which was concluded and adopted in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

According to him, the objectives include 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.

Mr. Kawsu Jammeh, PoWPA Project Manager stated that genetically modified foods are developed and marketed, because there are some perceived advantages, either to the producer or consumer of those foods. This, according to him, is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater profit or both.

Other speakers included Dr. Ebrima Njie, a Lecturer at the University of the Gambia and Abdoulie Sawo, a park warden.