Welcome to the National Commission for Research, Science and Technology.
Fostering Excellence through Knowledge and Innovation
"As we go forward, we will seek to be transactional in maintaining and strengthening the governance architecture, but we will also be transformational as we prepare the citizens for the new economy that requires the development of new parameters in education, innovation, and enterprise", - His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia
The fourth industrial revolution is blossoming at a sharp rate and science is at the heart of advancing digital technologies. The African continent
Participants of FEMBIOBIZ phase 1 Windhoek, Namibia – The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) together w
NCRST is currently hosting the 20th annual Biosafety meeting for National Project Coordinators (NPCs) of the UNEP-GEF, for the implementation of National Biosafety Frameworks. The meeting convened today in Walvis Bay and will continue until 2 July 2016.
As host of the meeting, the NCRST, is the competent authority for administering the Biosafety Act, 2006 (Act No. 7 of 2006), and is also the implementing agency of the UNEP-GEF Biosafety Project in Namibia. The meeting has participants from all over Africa, including; Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Madagascar, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Rwanda - which is a sign of the importance that member countries attach to biosafety and biotechnology. The annual NPC Meeting is part of the overall project management initiatives instituted by UNEP-GEF to ensure that the national project managers have the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences in order to improve the performance of the entire portfolio.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Mr. John Sifani, General Manager: Innovation, Technology and Development at the NCRST, remarked; “The NCRST finds it important that implementation of our National Biosafety Framework is internationally benchmarked, yet locally relevant. It is thus important for us to learn from our African counterparts. As we embark on this process of implementing our respective Biosafety regulatory instruments, it is important that we take into consideration the view and aspiration of the African people. It is our hope that participants in this meeting will learn best practices from each other for effective implementation of their respective National Biosafety Frameworks.”
In the case of Namibia, Government has long recognized the importance of biotechnology and
has acceded to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted by the Parties to that Convention. This was followed by the enactment of the Biosafety Act, 2006 (Act no 7 of 2006), which is administered by the NCRST as the Competent Authority.
The objectives of the Biosafety Act are:
· to introduce a system and procedures for the regulation of genetically modified organisms in Namibia in order to provide an adequate level of protection to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account –
· potential risks to the health and safety of humans and harmful consequences to the environment posed by genetically modified organisms or genetically modified products; and social, cultural, ethical and economic considerations
· to provide a framework for responsible research, development and the use of genetic engineering and to manage the risks posed by or as a result of gene technology by regulating activities involving the development, production, use, import, export, transport, release into the environment, marketing and other uses of genetically modified organisms and genetically modified products.
The Biosafety Act, 2006 (Act no 7 of 2006) also mandates the Commission to appoint members of the Biosafety Council in consultation with the Minister. The NCRST established a Biosafety secretariat and appointed a seven-member Biosafety Council as provided for in the Act in 2014. Subsequently the Biosafety Council and secretariat have been hard at work to finalize regulations to the Biosafety Act that will ensure comprehensive implementation of the Act. The process of drafting of regulations was undertaken in a participatory fashion involving extensive stakeholder consultation.
The Biosafety Regulations have been finalized and approved by the Minister responsible for Science and Technology. The regulations are currently undergoing legal drafting at the Ministry of Justice. Upon finalization of the Regulations, both the Regulations and the Commencement date will be Gazetted.