[To contribute to this conference, send your message to [email protected]
For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see Forum website.
Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]
Sent: 02 May 2003 10:10
To: '[email protected]'
Subject: 12: Re: Regulation of GMOs: issues to be addressed in developing countries
This is Kelebohile Lekoape. I am a short-term professional staff member at the World Health Organization (WHO). I am currently working on a study 'Modern food biotechnology, human health and development'. The primary objective of the study is to give WHO Member States, as well as stakeholders in this area, the basis for an evidence-based description of the broad area of the use of biotechnology in food production, including both potential advantages and problems.
While I largely agree with the comments made by Vasanthi Siruguri (Message 8, April 30), my concerns are that international regulatory systems are intended to bring about harmonization of the divergent national systems presuming an equal knowledge base. In most developed countries, regulatory expertise was built almost simultaneously with advances in biotechnology. Developing countries, on the other hand, do not have sophisticated biotechnology research programmes from which to gain knowledge and experience.
Within the framework of international obligations, developing countries therefore must be in a position to clearly articulate:
1. What it is they hope to regulate i.e. R&D (including field trials) and/or
imports (commercial releases; processed foods);
2. How they hope to regulate;
3. Do they have the basic competencies, and what constitutes the core/minimum skills;
4. Consider sharing and maximising resources as subregions/regions with similar agro-ecological zones in order to build regulatory capacity that cuts across all the required scientific sectors.
Food Safety Department
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
lekoapek (at) who.int