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Most developing countries ill-equipped to ensure global biosafety: UN University

s there sufficient donor coordination to avoid inappropriate duplication?

  • Are existing activities sustainable?

  • How should capacity building differentiate between developing countries at different stages of uptake of modern biotech?

  • How can capacity building gaps and problems be addressed?

    Authors, Sam Johnston, Catherine Monagle, Jessica Green and Ruth Mackenzie say the use and prevalence of biotechnology in agriculture and other sectors seems certain to increase. And the widespread ratification of the worlds Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), which will mark the 5th anniversary of its coming into force on Sept. 11, 2008, demonstrates the desire for biosafety measures to go hand in hand with the development of biotechnology.

    However, they cite the lack of technical, policy and enforcement capacities in developing countries as a potentially contributing factor to the spread of bioterrorism -- the deliberate release of naturally-occurring or human-modified bacteria, viruses, toxins or other biological agents.

    Among other points and observations:

    • Globalization, resulting in the increasing flow of information, people and resources, has weakened the power of states to manage technology development and will make it harder to develop an effective international regime;

    • The lack of capacities and the associated policy vacuum allow for vested interests to predominate, dampen support for research and create hesitation on the part of governments to properly engage with the issue;

    • A country that lacks capacity is more likely to bring in very restrictive systems in order to counterbalance its deficiencies and undermines their ability to consider less contentious uses of biotechnology, such as in diagnostics, industrial enzymes, pollution remediation, combating drought and reversing salinity;

    • The lack of capacity creates dependency in developing countr

    Contact: Terry Collins
    United Nations University

    Page: 1 2 3

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