About the Project

Background

The current project, for which The University of the West Indies (UWI) is the Lead Executing Agency, officially began in November 2012, is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It represents a follow-on activity from another UNEP-GEF project, which started in June 2001, and sought to help countries comply with the CPB (http://www.unep.org/biosafety/Development_Projects.aspx). The countries currently involved in this project also participated in the development project, and have completed draft versions of their National Biosafety Frameworks (NBFs). They include:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad & Tobago

The NBFs can vary from one country to the next, but generally contain the following common components, namely: (i) a Government policy on biosafety; (ii) a regulatory regime for biosafety; (iii) a system to handle notifications or requests for authorisations; (iv) systems for enforcement and monitoring for environmental effects; and (v) approaches for public information and public participation.

Primary objectives

Major objectives of this implementation project, which has both regional and national components, include: (i) the establishment of a workable and transparent regulatory regime for biosafety and (ii) development of implementing systems for handling of notifications or requests for approvals, enforcement and monitoring, and public information and public participation.  In addition, the project also seeks to:

  1. move countries towards more harmonised biosafety systems that make use of existing national and regional capacities
  2. create new capacities where needed and ensure their financial sustainability
  3. take advantage of economies of scale and regional support mechanisms
  4. fit with the regional objectives of establishing a Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)
  5. be in keeping with CARICOM’s initiative of promoting biotechnology and biosafety as a regional strategy

Project outputs

At the national level, outputs are expected in 5 key areas, namely:

  1. Legislation
  2. Administrative system for national biosafety
  3. Capacity building
  4. Information management system (i.e. National Biosafety Clearing House)
  5. Public education and outreach

Regionally, outputs include:

  1. Provision of support to countries in the development of legislative and administrative systems to regulate the transboundary movement of LMOs
  2. Capacity building/human resources development
  3. Infrastructure upgrade to enhance detection capacities within the Region
  4. Information management system (i.e. Regional Biosafety Clearing House)
  5. Technical guidelines
  6. Strategy documents
  7. Public education and outreach

The achievement of these outputs is supported by the Regional Project Office located on the St. Augustine Campus of the UWI.