World Bank gives $1.2m to tighten GM foods regulations in developing countries

The World Bank Group on September 28, 2012 announced that it will provide $1.2 million to fund a new global partnership to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to make their biosafety regulations more efficient and harmonized.

The funding is from the World Bank’s Development Grant Facility (DGF).

The Partnership for Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation brings together the non-profit Center for Environmental Risk Assessment (CERA) of the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to strengthen and improve environmental risk assessment of agricultural biotechnologies.

According to the World Bank, the partnership will support up to ten countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia that are adopting, or are considering the adoption of agricultural biotechnology.

With the three-year grant, the World Bank said in a statement the partnership will be a critical component of multilateral efforts to build developing country capacity in science-based environmental risk assessment to help ensure that trade, testing and adoption of transgenic (genetically modified) crops is as environmentally-sound as it is efficient.

The Bank expects the grant to leverage an additional $6.5 million in funds from the public and private sectors.

“By bringing together two partners with distinct comparative advantages, this partnership will help to safeguard the environment while equipping countries with the tools needed for safe access to new technologies that have the potential to reduce poverty and promote food security,” said Juergen Voegele, Director of the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

The CERA is expected to actively support developing country regulators in their efforts to design and implement science-based processes for environmental risk assessment of genetically modified crops.

The first round of countries selected to participate in the project include Paraguay, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh and Vietnam, the World Bank stated.

By Ekow Quandzie

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