Tuesday, November 01, 2005 - Attempts at better regulating and monitoring
the possible importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) are to be
strengthened with more consultations on the national bio-safety project. They
are scheduled for the week of November 9th and will be held in Micoud. The most
recent consultations took place in the capital city Castries in October.
The bio-safety project began in April of 2004 and is sponsored by the Global
Environment Facility of the United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP). The
project is to come to an end by December 31st, 2005. Over it’s year-and-a-half
long lifespan the project has trained several Saint Lucians in bio-safety
management issues, risks assessment and management. The project has also played
a key role in helping to further sensitized stakeholders to the issue of
National Biodiversity Co-ordinator attached to the Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries Anita James says, “bio-safety is basically putting
systems in place to protect the island’s biodiversity and human health from any
possible negative impacts that may occur from the use, creation or transfer and
handling of GMO’s especially those that are living.” Miss. James says efforts
have gotten underway in the form of national consultations, which seek to
prepare a draft framework to help Saint Lucia better manage the issue.
The comprehensive framework consists of a policy, strategy and action plan,
along with public participation, administrative and regulatory systems. Saint
Lucia in June of this year signed the Cartegena Protocol on Bio-safety, which
helps countries collaborate in reducing the negative impacts of risks from GMO’s.
Project officials say at present, there is a high probability that Genetically
Modified Organisms may be entering the country. That they say however cannot be
fully ascertain due to the lack of control and monitoring mechanisms.