Biosafety Awareness creation workshop held in Hawasa, Ethiopia.

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Biosafety and Invasive  Alien Species Directorate under Environment, Forest and Climate change commission has organized awareness creation  on the current status of biosafety development and its implementation status with the financial support from biosafety project entitled ‘’Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety through Effective Implementation of National Biosafety Framework of  ETHIOPIA’’

 As the country is a signatory for Cartagena protocol on Biosafety, the country has developed biosafety laws and endorsed directives which would support implementation of the proclamation. However, the level of awareness by different groups and at different level has been considered very low. This is the reason why the above mentioned directorate has planned and carried out the workshop in Hawasa, Ethiopia.   

The workshop focuses on:

  • The current status of biosafety development in Ethiopia
  • Ethiopian Biosafety laws (former and amended proclamation)
  • Ethiopian biosafety Directives and their applications
  • Directive on Institutional Biosafety Advisory Committee

Regional states representatives of Environmental office principals and experts selected from the areas where Bt cotton and Bt IR and Dt maize confined field trials has been carried out were participated on the workshop.

Biosafty is a scientific monitoring and regulation system designed to minimize or mitigate the potential negative impact on the environment and biodiversity resources, which can be resulted to the purpose of biotechnology. In a conference held in Hawassa City, presentation by experts working in biosafety shows that the directorate is working to avoid or minimize risks associated with the use of products of biotechnology. Follow on presentation by biosafety experts, stakeholders were raised different questions and suggestion on the current status of biosafety development expressing their positional fear regarding the impact of GMO on human health, Environment, and biodiversity. Presenters have explained the regulatory procedures and steps followed to ensure safety issues and further explained that all stakeholders should support the implementation of the protocol to make it functional. 

Potential risks from GMOs transaction while encouraging the ongoing efforts to utilize products of genetic engineering to prevent that the efforts to utilize genetic engineering products in the environment are bordering on environment and biodiversity resources.

 According to Asefa Guddina, Biosafety and Invasive Alien Species, Regulation Directorate director, the directorate has been organized under Climate change and Biodiversity sector of the commission with the objective implementing Ethiopia amended the proclamation number 655/2009 amended by proclamation number 896/2015 has announced its application.

The director further explained that existing provisions (proclamations, directive and guidelines) are intended to protect Ethiopian rich biodiversity and the environment while importing, transporting, storing genetically modified organisms for research and teaching.

During the workshop, the stakeholders were briefed that the country has established national biosafety advisory Committee which advises the government and the commission on the transaction of GMOs.

On the workshop, the current status of biosafety development was briefed to the participants indicating that Ethiopia has deregulated genetically engineered Bt-cotton after a serious of confined field trials at different locations across the country.