Friday, August 17, 2018

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Saint Lucia is much closer to having appropriate legislation, that regulate the creation, import, use and transport of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), following a successful national consultation on the proposed Biosafety Bill.

The consultation was held on Monday October 21,2013 and received support from a broad cross section of society including representatives of faith based organizations, supermarket retailers, farmers, healthcare practitioners, educators, scientists, environmentalists and government officials.

Participants reviewed government's draft policy and legislation on biosafety, with a view to exchanging ideas and providing recommendations, to help ensure that Saint Lucia has strong biosafety legislation. Such a consultative process is vital in light of the importance of  biosafety to the increasing use of  modern biotechnology in development and trade.

Biotechnology has important implications for St. Lucia’s biological diversity, national food security, human health, trade and sustainable economic development. The proposed bill seeks to ensure guidelines which allow for Saint Lucia to capitalise on the use of modern biotechnology in a manner that does not compromise the environment and human health. It forms part of  St. Lucia's National Biosafety Implementation Project which is funded by the United Nations Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Saint Lucia is among eleven other Caribbean countries currently seeking to enact such legislation as part of a regional project. The development and implementation of the Biosafety Bill is also a critical requirement for Saint Lucia as a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Following Monday's successful consultation, the final draft of the legislation will be drafted and discussed with stakeholders for onward transmission to Parliament for enactment. It is expected that the final draft will be ready by the end of November this year and stakeholders are hoping that it is adopted as law at the earliest opportunity, for the country to gain maximum benefit from its enactment.

Interested individuals are still being encouraged  to read the Biosafety bill, Biosafety policy and Biosafety regulations which are available on the Government of Saint Lucia's website http://www.stlucia.gov.lc and on lc.biosafetyclearinghouse.net.

The documents are also available at all public libraries around the island.

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