Biosafety : a challanging issue for Nepal

gooseliverBiotechnology

Oct 22, 2013 (4 years and 17 days ago)

77 views

Biosafety : a challanging issue
for Nepal

Hari Prasad Bimb, Ph. D.


Biotechnology Unit, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC)

Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal, PO Box 1135

E
-
mail: biotech@narc.gov.np


"Biotechnology could contribute
significantly to the achievement of the
objectives of the convention on
Biological Diversity and the attainment
of the Millennium Development Goals.
However, it must be developed
judiciously, and used with adequate
and transparent safety measures"


United Nations Secretary
-
General Kofi Annan

LMOs and GMOs


Living organism that possesses a novel
combination of genetic material obtained
through the use of modern biotechnology





(CBD)



extraction and transfer of strands of DNA and
entire genes
-

which contain the biochemical
instructions governing how an organism will
develop
-

from one species to another viz. gene
from cold fish to tomato

In Favor of GMOs


greater commercial value, higher yield, improved
nutrition, or resistance to pests and diseases.


boost food security


benefit the environment by reducing the need for
more farmland, irrigation and pesticides.


better medical treatments and vaccines, new
industrial products and improved fibers and
fuels.

The major concerns in the use of
GMOs



Unintentional introduction of allergens and other anti


nutritional factors in foods.


Unintentional gene flow: the chance of transgene
escaping from GM crops to


wild relatives which may become super
-
weeds


Related cultivated species


Non
-
transgenic crops of the same species


Development of resistance in target pests to the toxins
produced by GM crops


Emergence of new pests (like viruses)


Adverse effect on non
-
target organisms


Transgenic plants may turn weedy



Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety




29 January 2000

at Montreal, Canada



As of Friday, April 1, 2005, 118 instruments of ratification


Nepal has signed on the Protocol on March 2, 2001 but yet to ratify


Objective:


"the objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of
protection in the field of the
safe transfer, handling and use of living modified
organisms

resulting from modern biotechnology that may have
adverse effects

on
the
conservation

and
sustainable use

of
biological diversity
, taking also into account
risks to human health
, and specifically focusing on
transboundary movements
".


Features:


Decision to accept import of GMOs on the basis of risk
assessment


to identify and evaluate the
potential adverse effects

that a
GMO may have on the
conservation and sustainable use

of
biodiversity
in the receiving environments


to be undertaken in a
scientific manner

using
recognized
risk assessment techniques



country considering permitting the import of a GMO is
responsible

for
ensuring
that a
risk assessment

is carried
out


it has the right to require the exporter
to do the work

or to
bear the cost



Features contd



No technology or human activity is completely risk
-
free. People
accept

new technologies because they believe the
potential
benefits outweigh the potential risks


The Protocol requires each country to
manage

and
control

any
risks they may be identified by a risk assessment


Effective risk management:


Monitoring systems
,
research programs
,
technical training

and
improved
domestic coordination

amongst government agencies
and services


Protocol also requires each government to
notify

and consult
other affected or
potentially affected governments

when it
becomes aware that GMOs under its jurisdiction may
cross
international borders

due to
illegal trade

or
release

into the
environment


This will enable to pursue
emergency measures

or other
appropriate action



Establish
official contact points

for emergencies as a way of
improving international
coordination
.

Features continued….


GMOs intended for direct introduction into the environment:


documentation must clearly state that the
shipment
contains GMOs




specify the
identity

and
relevant traits

and
characteristics
of
the GMOs



any
requirements

for its
safe handling
,
storage
,
transport
and
use
; a
contact point

for further information


and the
names and addresses

of the importer and exporter



documentation must also declare that the shipment
conforms

to the
Cartagena Protocol



for direct use as food or feed: the shipment must clearly
indicate that it
"may contain"

living modified organisms and
that these organisms are not intended for
introduction

into
the
environment
.



Fig
1 Growth of area under



transgenic crops in



China (million hectares)



(adapted from Varma, 2004)
[1]








Status of biotechnology development and utilization in some of the
countries of the region. (Adapted from Varma, 2004)
[1]




Bangladesh

China

India

Indonesia

Malaysia

Pakistan

Philippines

Sri Lanka

Thailand

Viet Nam

h

China

India

Indonesia

Malaysia

Pakistan

Philippines

Thailand

Viet Nam

Development of
GM
animals/fishes

Field release of
GM crops

Development of
GM crops

Use of
Recombinant
DNA
technology

Tissue Culture

Micro
-
propagation

Status of biosafety related regulatory mechanisms in some of the countries of
the region

Bangladesh

China

India

Indonesia

Malaysia

Pakistan

Philippines

Sri Lanka

Thailand

Viet Nam

Bangladesh

China

India

Indonesia

Malaysia

Pakistan

Philippines

Sri Lanka

Thailand

Viet Nam

Multiple control

S
ingle
-
window mechanism developed

Institute Biosafety committees in place

National Biosafety
Committee

in place

Biosafety

Law

Biosafety
guidelines

developed

Party to Cart
ag
ena Protocol

Features continued….


The Biosafety Clearing House:


It facilitates transparency and the sharing of information


Enables governments to inform others about their final
decisions regarding the import of GMOs



Contains information on national laws, regulations and
guidelines for implementing the Protocol


Contains summaries of risk assessments and
environmental reviews


Bilateral and multilateral agreements


Scientific, legal, environmental and technical information
.





Features continued….


Countries that trade in GMOs need to have the
capacity

to
implement the Protocol:


They need
skills
,
equipment
,
regulatory frameworks

and
procedures

to enable them to assess the risks, make
informed decisions, and manage or avoid any potential
adverse effects of GMOs on their natural relatives



The Protocol actively promotes international cooperation to
help developing countries
build the human resources

and
institutions

needed for biosafety


It also encourages governments to assist with scientific
and technical
training
, to promote the
transfer of
technology

and
know
-
how

and to provide
financial
resources


The countries are
eligible

for support from the Global
Environment Facilities

such as
GEF

Features continued….


public awareness

of the safe transfer, handling and use of
GMOs



highlights the need for
education

on biosafety


individuals, communities and non
-
governmental organizations
should remain
fully aware

of and
engaged in

this complex issue



enable people to contribute to the final decision of the
governments on GMO, thus promoting
transparency
and
informed decision
-
making


number of separate international instruments and standard
-
setting processes

addressing various aspects of biosafety
such as IPPC, The Codex Alimentarius Commission, WTO etc.,
all are intended to function together and to be
mutually
complementary






National Status in technical aspect of biosafety



Infrastructure facilities are not adequate in agricultural, forest,
industry, environment, education and health sectors


Medium to lower scale national facilities in public and private
sectors

e.g. tissue culture, PCR based molecular techniques
that can identify GMO products


Recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering are
lacking

due to lack of biosafety policy and adequate skilled
manpower


The possibility of illegal testing of GMOs and transgenic seeds
of foreign origin and import of GMO food items may exist in the
country without a formal notice to the government



NARC is intended to initiate researches on GMOs for public
welfare in near future when the Biosafety Guidelines and the
Biosafety Framework are complete and implemented

Major Issues:


Nepal is
ill
-
equipped

to deal with any environmental disasters
emanating from GMO products


Qualitative test for initial screening and
quantitative test

might
give a decisive answer concerning the labeling requirement


Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety proposed (25 January 2002) for
the first time, methods for
GMO detection

and
quantification


Selection
of appropriate GMO technology


Need for quality, neutral, balanced and factual
information


Impact on
food production

and
food security

that encompass
several following issues:


Potential
failures

of GM crops


Potential
negative impact

of Bt

crops producing toxins
resistant pest, impact on non
-
targeted biocontrol organisms
and soil fertility


Potential
transfer

of insecticidal properties

to wild species of
crops

Major issues contd….


Potential
loss

of
genetic diversity


Testing grounds

by scientists and companies promoting
GM organisms


The
relative costs

(financial, social, political versus
relative benefits i.e. productivity and food security)



Fear of
handing
-
over PGR

to multinational companies
creating IPR problems
.





Recommendations:

1.
A
competence national authority

to review, assess, implement
and monitor biosafety and other environmental concerns such
as genetic erosion, agro
-
ecological disruption

2.
Setting of
basic standards

for the testing, importation and
exportation, and commercial use of genetically modified
organisms


3.
Ensuring that the release of GMOs is based on a
sound
and
comprehensive scientific assessment

(ecological and other risk)

4.
Elaboration of specific
laws and regulations


5.
Identification in
existing legislations


6.
Collection of records and dissemination of
information


1.
vulnerability

of

the

environment,

local

plant

genetic

resources

(diversity

and

extent

of

erosion)

and

agricultural

system)
.



Recommendation contd….

7
.

Appropriate

mechanisms

of

safety

should

be

developed

for

the

plant
-
animal
-
human

food

chain

8.
Primary

or

secondary

centers

of

genetic

diversity

conserved

for

posterity


9.
Transgenic

approach

should

be

considered

as

complementary


10.
International

guidelines

set

up

by

the

FAO
-
WHO

Codex

Commission

for

assessing

and

managing

the

health

risks

posed

by

GM

foods

should

be

closely

followed

11.
Strengthening

and

streamlining

of

the

transgenic

research

program

in

the

public

and

private

institutes


12.
Capacity

building

and

human

resource

development


13.
Ensuring

proper

flow

of

scientific

and

technical

information,

genetic

materials

and

other

critical

components

related

to

development

and

testing

of

transgenic

crops

among

the

related

institutes

and

public
.







THANK

YOU