The multinational biosafety project of the Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is supporting the project "Biosafety Regulations in Latin America and The Caribbean within the framework of the International Biosafety Protocol". The general objective is to strengthen national skills for the assessment and management of risks of biotechnology food products, and to build up public awareness about their benefits and risks in the participant countries, with the ultimate goal to promote their safe and sustainable use within a protective and trusting environment for the public. The first phase has been focused on the evaluation of the political and regulatory systems in Chile, Peru and Colombia, identification of needs, and development of a series of biosafety seminar-workshops in the three countries, with the participation of distinguished foreign experts. The second phase, which started in March 2003, has been extended to six countries of Central America and The Caribbean. The project is helping to identify the weaknesses and needs for the establishment of the biosafety protocol in each participating country. It has also establish the specific training needs and is given the bases for the design of general outlines of biosafety training plans, which will contribute to an efficient implementation of the International Biosafety Protocol. The project it is also allowing to coordinate actions between the countries for a better implementation of the protocol at a regional level. On the other hand, the project has allowed to assemble, around discussion tables, international experts with the main representatives of regulatory and academic institutions, business enterprises and NGOs, as well as with congressmen in scientific and technological matters and the protection of biodiversity. Thus, the project has permitted the establishment of cooperation linkages and has contributed to reinforce the notion of the importance of biosafety for national development and the preservation of local biodiversity.