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Biosafety

Biosafety is the protection of human and animal health and the environment from the possible effects of products of biotechnology. Biosafety entails risk analysis. Risk analysis has three components namely risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Risk assessment is the evaluation of the likelihood of the occurrence of an undesirable event. It is science based, carried out on a case-by-case basis, comparative and iterative.

In Zimbabwe risk assessment is an obligation under international agreements (e.g. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) and national laws which include the National Biotechnology Authority Act [Chap.14.31] of 2006 - section 25. Risk management entails choosing and executing actions to ensure that risks are controlled. Whilst risk communication is the exchange of information between stakeholders and risk assessors and risk managers for guiding the risk assessment and risk management processes.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international agreement on biosafety, which seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by genetically modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety makes it clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle (Principle 15) which was adopted from the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. To this end a holistic and comprehensive regulatory approach that ensures that biosafety measures, based on the precautionary principle, covers the entire range of activities from research and development of GMOs to their commercialization, and post-release monitoring is followed in Zimbabwe.

The Biosafety Protocol was one of the basis for improvements made in Zimbabwe’s National Biosafety Framework in 2006. Zimbabwe has been a party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety since 2005. The country actively participates in Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP) and Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) activities.
Please visit our BCH page - http://bch.cbd.int/about/countryprofile.shtml?country=zw

National Biosafety Framework (NBF)

The National Biosafety Framework is intended to enable the economically viable, scientifically sound, environmentally sustainable, and socially acceptable application of both conventional and modern biotechnology in priority areas of agriculture, health, energy and environment. National Biosafety Framework comprises of:

  • The National Biotechnology Policy,
  • An Act of Parliament-the National Biotechnology Authority Act [Chap.14.31]of 2006,
  • Institutional arrangements in the form of the National Biotechnology Authority (NBA) and Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs),
  • Mechanisms for risk assessment (reviews), mechanisms for decisions making (NBA), mechanisms for public participation, mechanisms for monitoring and enforcement (Biosafety Inspectorate), and supporting guidelines and standards.

The National Biosafety Framework sets out to measure, assess and manage new biotechnologies. These set of measures are centred on the need to balance research and development interests and safety and biosecurity. It also provides for the establishment of regulatory regimes in biosafety, biosecurity, intellectual property bio-surveillance and bioethics.

  • GM Testing Laboratory

    The NBA’s GMO Testing Laboratory was officially opened by the senior government official from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, on 13 September 2017.

    Resources for setting up the laboratory were provided by the Government of Zimbabwe and the European Union. The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and NBA renovated an already existing super structure into a laboratory. Whereas, the European Union supplied equipment worth US$90, 434.18. 

    The NBA will use this laboratory as a facility for GMO detection, quantification, identification, monitoring and surveillance. The laboratory contributes greatly towards development of the National Biosafety Framework. This Biosafety level 1 laboratory is an initial step towards the development of a National Biosafety Reference Laboratory. It shall be upgraded so that it has biosafety levels 2 -4. This will enable NBA to safely analyse and handle high risk category organisms like Ebola and HIV.

  • Are GMOs safe for human consumption? …second NAM technical meeting sparks debate

    HARARE – The second Non-Aligned Movement Science and Technology technical meeting has sparked a fresh wave

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  • Zim moves to draft GM labelling laws

    Sifelani Tsiko: Zimbabwe has made a huge step towards establishing genetically modified (GM)labelling laws which seek to

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Recent Event

Safeguarding Progress in Biotechnology:  Profiling Ms Annah Runesu Takombwa.

http://www.nepadsanbio.org/articles/safeguarding-progress-biotechnology-profiling-ms-annah-runesu-takombwa-486.html

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The National Biotechnology Authority (NBA) participated at the Harare Agricultural Show (H.A.S) and RIO-SET 2016 edition.

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Bioinformatics research set to improve use of computers. 

http://www.chronicle.co.zw/bioinformatics-research-set-to-improve-use-of-computers/

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