GENET archive


9-Misc: UNEP/GEF project in Cameroon plans biotech and biosafety school curricula

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TITLE:  Introducing Biotechnology in Schools
SOURCE: Cameroon Tribune, by Brenda Yufeh
DATE:   20 Jan 2006

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Introducing Biotechnology in Schools

A roundtable conference on Biotechnology and Bio-safety took place
recently in Yaounde.

Educators, Biotechnology and Bio-safety experts on Wednesday January 18
in Yaounde brainstormed on how to introduce modern Biotechnology and Bio-
safety techniques into the national school curriculum. Representing the
Minister of the Environment and Nature Protection, the Secretary
General, Akwa Patrick, said the roundtable was aimed at highlighting the
need and importance of introducing modern biotechnology/bio-safety to
the youths at an early age in their educational career.

Opening discussions, the Secretary General said Cameroon is party to the
Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-
safety which went into effect on September, 2003 in Cameroon. Akwa
Patrick said to render the protocol operational in the country, a Bio-
safety support Project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
through the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and the
Government of Cameroon was approved. One of the activities of the
project is to educate youths on the benefits and risks of modern
biotechnology and build their capacity towards risks assessments,
management and public participation.

In the Ministry of the Environment and Nature Protection it is agreed
that the best way to reach the youths is through the machines that
moulds them. Hence, the involvement of senior educators, who determine
the school curricula to the roundtable in the hope that the subject
could be part of the national school curriculum at various levels. The
Secretary General stressed that this is one of the strategies to ignite
and develop keen interest in environmental protection, as well as raise
awareness towards public participation in major issues linked to
biodiversity conservation and management, taking into account human
health considerations.

While hoping that the conference will go beyond the discussions, the
Technical Adviser at the Ministry of the Environment and Nature, Mrs
Fosi Mbantenkhu Mar, highlighted some of the issues discussed during the
roundtable. Topics covered during discussions included; the concept of
modern biotechnology/Bio-Safety and the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-Safety
and the Cameroon legislation, modern biotechnology: agriculture and
animal production, benefits and constraints of micro-organisms, socio
ethical and cultural problems of modern biotechnology, the future of
modern biotechnology/bio-safety in Africa an Cameroon in particular.


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