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The National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) recently hosted the NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE). ABNE is a biosafety resource network for African regulators and policy, with the delegation visiting Namibia from 11 to 12 July 2016.
The delegation not only met with the Executive Management Team of the NCRST, but also paid courtesy calls to the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Alfred van Kent; the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Forestry, Ms Sophia Kasheeta, and the Environmental Commissioner, Mr Teofilus Nghitila.
The ABNE Delegation met with Technical experts within Biosafety legal framework, including stakeholders from Ministries of Finance; Agriculture, farmers unions, Millers and producers. The meeting covered aspects of Biosafety administration and decision making; risk assessment, risk management and risk communication; an overview of the ABNE service network and key areas of interventions in Africa; international and regional obligations and the progress in the sub regions; and discussed Namibia’s needs in terms of Biosafety capacity building.
“One of the topics of discussion was Biosafety capacity building needs that stakeholders may require to implement a functional Biosafety Framework. The discussions and consultations of the ABNE delegation with various stakeholders and the NCRST will pave the way for the drafting and eventual signing of an MOU between NCRST and ABNE, as well as a subsequent Implementation Plan”, said Mr John Sifani, GM: Innovation and Technology Development at the NCRST.
The overall goal of ABNE is to enhance the capacity of African countries to build functional biosafety regulatory systems. The delegation consisted of Dr Jeremy Ouedraogo, Director ABNE; Mr Sam Timpo, Senior Programme Officer for Socio-economics and Biosafety Communication; and Dr. Woldeyesus Sinebo, Senior Programme Officer for Agricultural Biosafety.