Namibia said it is set to implement the biosafety act promulgated in 2006 and Cartagena protocol on biosafety to which the country is a party.
The country’s ministry of education which supervises science and technology had already held a stakeholders meeting to prepare citizens and government officials of the Southern African country for the implementation of the act.
With funding from the United Nations Global Environmental Fund, the country was able to pilot as well as demonstrate a national biosafety project to support the implementation of the national biosafety programme for Namibia.
David Namwandi, Namibia’s deputy minister of education said that the demonstration was successful and had given government the encouragement to fully implement the biosafety act.
He said that all was in place for the implementation of the act while efforts were on for the establishment of a National Research, Science and Technology Council that would oversee the implementation of the act.
Namwandi said government has the goal of developing and empowering citizens as well as providing the necessary environment, infrastructure and administrative capacity to ensure effective implementation of the biosafety act in compliance with the Cartagena protocol and all other national, regional and international instruments interfacing and interacting with the biosafety law.
The Cartagena protocol obliges parties’ signatory to it to handle issues around genetically modified organisms responsibly.
The minister said that biotechnology has evolved in such a manner that modern biotechnology must be practiced with caution.
“The difference between modern and traditional biotechnology is the fact that you can cross species boundaries by introducing genes from micro-organisms into plants such as maize. These numbers of concerns regarding the safe use of the technology as well as ethical concerns are issues that required careful considerations,” the minister said.