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POLICY & REGULATION: United Nations sponsored Bio-safety workshop concludes in Nevis




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  UNITED NATIONS SPONSORED BIO-SAFETY WORKSHOP CONCLUDES IN NEVIS

SOURCE: Nevis - Government Information Service, St. Kitts & Nevis

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://queencitynevis.com/NewsArticle.cfm/2412

DATE:   25.07.2007

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UNITED NATIONS SPONSORED BIO-SAFETY WORKSHOP CONCLUDES IN NEVIS

A two-day United Nations sponsored workshop on bio safety concluded at the Multi Purpose Centre in Charlestown on Wednesday July 25, 2007.?The workshop which was held for a number of agencies in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), preceded a law to be passed in St. Kitts and Nevis. It will set out guidelines for the importation and exportation of living genetically modified organisms into the Federation.

The workshop was hosted by the Department of Physical Planning on Nevis and facilitated by Mr. Stephen Vitoria the United Nations Regional Advisor on Bio safety and Dr. Malachy Dottin, Director of the Biotechnology Laboratory of the Government of Grenada.

Ms. Lilith Richards, Director of Physical Planning on Nevis told the Department of Information on Wednesday July 25, that the workshop fell under a United Nations Convention which required member states which included St. Kitts and Nevis a Clearing House which would allow persons both locally and internationally to access information on genetically modified organisms.

”We think that it is very important for Nevis because we import quite a bit of genetically modified organisms. The government agencies participating are the Customs Department because they are very critical they are at the boarder. Everything that comes in they would have to check to ensure that it is proper and the information is sent properly. We also have the Department of Agriculture because this law will most likely be administered by the Department or the Ministry of Agriculture. We have the Department of Physical Planning a key stake holder and the Health Department as well,” she said.

Mr. Vitoria explained that workshop concentrated on information systems that are required to support the Safety Protocol and Agreements that countries signed to since they would be required to post information on a single internet based information system which could be accessed by everyone.

”The public can access it and the governments can access as well as importers and exporters so anybody can see what rules and regulations any government has in place which governs the importation of genetically modified organisms into their country and they can see the different safeguards that each government has put in place.

”It also allows people like Customs in a country to understand the laws which are in place in their country which may restrict or allow different genetically modified organisms access to their country. But because it is Information Technology based it does require a training course to ensure that the participants understand how to use the system and that’s most of what we are doing on this particular training course,” he said.

Meantime, Dr. Dottin explained that financing was given for the workshop which had already been conducted in six other Caribbean countries so far.

”Countries have gotten finance to run workshops which will be run throughout the Caribbean because Caribbean countries have adopted the Cartagena Protocol. We have conducted countries in six countries so far and today we are conducting in Nevis to ensure that Nevis can implement the protocol thereafter. With enforcement in place to ensure that the Custom officers and the plant protection officers understand their role in that process and to ensure there is public awareness,” he said.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is an international agreement on biosafety, as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Biosafety Protocol makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits. It will for example let countries ban imports of a genetically modified organism if they feel there is not enough scientific evidence the product is safe and requires exporters to label shipments containing genetically altered commodities.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  IICA DIRECTOR GENERAL REPORTS ON MEGA-TRENDS IN AGRICULTURE IN THE HEMISPHERE

SOURCE: The Bahama Journal, Bahamas

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.jonesbahamas.com/?c=47&a=13509

DATE:   27.07.2007

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IICA DIRECTOR GENERAL REPORTS ON MEGA-TRENDS IN AGRICULTURE IN THE HEMISPHERE

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala, 26 July 2007- In the city of Antigua Guatemala, the Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Chelston Brathwaite, presented the report ”Agriculture and the new challenges of development”, which describes the mega-trends in agriculture and rural life in the hemisphere.

Several other international organizations contributed to this document on the state of, and outlook for, agriculture and rural life that IICA presented in Guatemala to the Inter-American Board of Agriculture (IABA), during the Week of Agriculture and Rural Life in the Americas.

At a press conference with the Minister of Agriculture of Guatemala, Bernardo Lopez, Brathwaite said that the role that agriculture has played in recent years is further confirmation of IICA’s hypothesis that agriculture is important not only because it is a way of life for millions of people in the Americas, but also because it is a strategic sector that contributes to the economic, social, environmental and political development of the countries.

[...]

Technology and innovation are growing in importance. Agriculture in the region is growing more strongly than in the rest of the world, but this is being achieved by farming more land. LAC invests over US$10 billion per year in science and technology, but Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba account for 96% of the total. Important progress has been made with biotechnologies, reflected in a big increase in the use of genetically modified varieties (GMOs) and the rapid spread, in this hemisphere and beyond, of some of the principal crops, such as grains and oilseeds. Biotechnologies offer bigger yields and lower costs but efforts must be made to ensure that the benefits reach producers and consumers, not only the developers and owners of the technology. The hemisphere must also address the concerns expressed by certain groups about the possible impact of GMOs on the environment and life in rural areas.

[...]


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