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Building and sustaining capacities in risk assessment and post-release monitoring of LMOs [#810]
The future of the Protocol lies in ensuring that all Parties have the capability to effectively carry out scientifically sound risk assessments and post-release monitoring of LMOs. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to realise the objective of the Protocol if most countries are unable to assess potential risks of LMOs before approving their import or release and to test, monitor and evaluate them once they are released into environment.

From the discussions made during the conference so far, it is clear that challenge ahead is ernomous. As highlighted in session 2, there are several capacity-building needs requiring urgent attention. These include: the need for training of experts, building or strengthening institutional infrastructure (including accreditated laboratory facilities for detection and analysis of LMOs), establishment of LMO monitoring and inspection systems (including surveilance systems), development of  regulations and guidelines on risk assessment and risk management for various LMOs, development of standards and procedures for LMO risk assessment, generation or access to and management of data needed for risk assessment and monitoring of LMOs, competencies in managing the institutional processes that support these activities, and the need for financial resources.

A number of useful suggestions have been made regarding possible specific strategies and measures that could be taken to strenghen national and regional capacities in environmental risk assessment and post-release monitoring of LMOs. Example include: prioritization of capacity-building building in different countries, development of national biosafety policies or strategies, promotion of formal academic training, development of specialized biosafety training programmes and scientific research, encouragement of exchange of information and experience on biosafety issues, promotion of biosafety research at the national level, South-South cooperation  and North-South cooperation and development or strengthening of regional centres of excellence and regional expert networks on biosafety.

Moving forward to address the above capacity-building needs and strategies will require a concerned effort by different players. As emphasised in Article 22 of the Protocol, it will require cooperation among all Parties, non-Parties and relevant organizations, including the private sector.  New and additional resources would need to be mobilised and existing opportunities for synergy and complementarity among existing initiatives would need to be maximised.

Biotechnology and biosafety are rapidly evolving fields. As such capacity-building efforts in risk assessment and motoring of LMOs need to be ongoing and progressive. Experts at all levels would need to keep up-to-date with the developments in knowledge and technology. 

More views on how to move forward in building and sustaining capacities in risk assessment and post-release monitoring of LMOs are welcome.
(edited on 2008-11-27 21:38 UTC by Erie Tamale)
posted on 2008-11-27 21:36 UTC by Erie Tamale