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6-Genetech §§: BIOSAFETY - Ugandian Minister for Environment plans biosafety law



-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Uganda: Miyingo calls for environment law
SOURCE: Africa News, by Milton Olupot
DATE:   January 13, 2000

----------------- archive: http://www.gene.ch/ ------------------


Uganda; Miyingo calls for environment law

Kampala - The Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Kezimbira
Miyingo, has called for a law to protect the biodiversity and
ensure conservation of the environment. Miyingo was yesterday
speaking to stakeholders in the field of biodiversity. The
meeting discussed ways to effectively deal with the biodiversity
and biosafety issues and discussed the forthcoming convention on
biodiversity due on January 24, in Canada. Miyingo expressed
concern that genetically modified materials were beginning to
find their way into Uganda. He said this was likely to infringe
on biodiversity and biosafety in the country.

The Executive Director of the National Environment Management
Authority (NEMA), Prof. John Okedi, said NEMA had come out with a
draft action plan, and a national strategy and biodiversity plan
was expected to be in place by mid this year. Miyingo also
expressed concern that there was no policy for accessing genetic
materials in Uganda. He said anybody disguised as a researcher
comes into the country and takes whatever they want without
question.

"There are no mechanisms in place, to check on all such practices
that will likely infringe on our biodiversity. A law ought to be
put in place sooner. I will personally take it up at the
political level," he said. "As we struggle to make laws, the
genetically modified materials are beginning to come into the
country. Who is there and what mechanism is there to safeguard
our country. I am informed that countries that produce them are
rejecting them and they will end up with us here.

The acting Assistant Executive Director, National Council for
Science and Technology, Dr. Charles Mugoya, said they were
working out a law that would hold importers liable in case of any
adverse effects resulting from the consumption of such products.
"We should not only focus on the genetically modified materials,
because it is only part of the component, but there are others,
that is why I have been fighting against importation of semen,
because of the mad-cow disease," Miyingo said. He criticised
genetical modification, saying it would enslave farmers, who will
not have their own seeds to plant and have to rely on suppliers.
Mugoya said biosafety committees were being set up to ensure no
clandestine groups smuggle into Uganda genetically modified
materials. 


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