ECOWAS moves to ensure Biosafety in the region18 May, 2019
Abuja, 17th May, 2019. The preliminary draft regulations on biosafety in West Africa have been validated by Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in order to address the challenges related to the use of modern biotechnologies and their potential impacts on the environment, human and animal health and socio-economic and food security in the region.
The representatives of the Ministers who met on 17th May 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria, called on Member States to effectively implement the regulations when adopted by the ECOWAS Parliament and the statutory Council of Ministers.
Furthermore they urged the ECOWAS Commission to collaborate with Member states and other regional organizations to develop information mechanisms on the regulations and contribute towards the mobilisation of funds necessary for its implementation.
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Sékou Sangaré reiterated the Commission’s commitment to strengthen institutional, technical and human capacities and cooperate with other sub regional and international organizations to promote the effective implementation of the regulations.
Similarly the representative of Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote stated that the biosafety regulations for West Africa will assist less competent Member States through capacity development and sharing of ideas and knowledge in line with Article 22 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), which “enjoins parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to cooperate in the development and/or strengthening of human resources and institutional capacities in biosafety, including biotechnology to the extent that it is required for biosafety, for the purpose of the effective implementation of the protocol, in developing countries with economies in transition”.
The regional regulations on biosafety stems from a collaboration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) to address environmental and socio-economic challenges of biotechnologies in the region.