The World Bank Board of Executive Directors endorsed a $9.3 million “West Africa Regional Biosafety Project,” that will help eight countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo – to establish and implement a shared biosafety regulatory framework by putting in place necessary environmental and social safeguards. This will allow them to meet their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB).

“This is a key milestone that will have a dramatic impact for over 10 million households in the region who rely on farming for their livelihoods,” said Global Environmental Facility CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut. “The program will contribute to the region’s development while protecting biological diversity and human health. The money will also help countries meet recognized international standards for assessing risk associated with genetically modified organisms.”

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) will provide a $5.4 million grant to finance the project as well as a $3.9 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA). It is a part of a larger program that includes other donors including France and the European Commission.

“We are delighted that the project has been endorsed,” said Soumaila Cisse, President of the WAEMU Commission that is implementing the project. “A harmonized regional biosafety framework will not only benefit individual countries to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity but also build critical biosafety capacity across the entire WAEMU region.”

The program has three components that include evaluating tools and guidelines used in WAEMU member states for risk assessment and management, a national reference laboratory will be established in Burkina Faso (financed by the IDA credit), strengthening institutional capacity for preparing regional laws and regulations on biosafety, and providing support to WAEMU countries that have ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

“The project preparation phase was marked by a consultative process,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, project team leader and senior natural resource economist working in the World Bank’s Africa region. “We sought and received inputs from a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society thereby helping us to develop a robust development program with social and environmental safeguards.”




  1. 1   SERIOUS MONDAY: WEST AFRICA REGIONAL BIOSAFETY PROJECT by swiftda Trackback on November 19, 2007 at 3:36 am

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