On October 1, 2008, the United States Agency for International Development awarded the IFPRI-managed Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), a partnership program for biosafety capacity development, with an additional five years of funding for a second phase of activities (2008-2013). This funding will allow PBS to support partner countries in their development of fully functional biosafety regulatory systems, while facilitating scientific review and decision making on genetically-modified (GM) products. This is particularly significant, as GM or biotech crops are grown in over 20 countries worldwide, and several new products, tailored to improve agricultural productivity or to enhance nutritional content, are in the pipeline. With biosafety systems in place, partner countries can capture the benefits of these emerging products, while also ensuring consumer safety and minimal environmental risk.
In its first five years, PBS established itself as a leading program in biosafety. For Phase II, PBS’s highly experienced and diverse team of biotechnology and biosafety experts will continue to design and implement partner country activities in close collaboration with in-country teams, partners and collaborators to provide: 1) Regulatory and technical expertise; 2) Scientific knowledge and product advisory services; 3) Policy analysis and research-based policy advice; 4) Capacity building and skills development; and 5) Facilitation of multi-stakeholder policy processes. PBS will seize opportunities to respond to ever-changing global and regional political environments and to support biosafety review of products progressing towards commercial release.
PBS consists of five country components: Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uganda. In addition, PBS maintains an active partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa with COMESA – the Common Market for East and Southern Africa – in developing common guidelines for its member countries.
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