Sensitization workshop for government Legal Officers and media on the Biosafety Act 2012 in Eswatini

African Union Development Agency – NEPAD ABNE in collaboration with the Eswatini Environmental Agency (EEA) and the ministry of tourism and Environmental Affair to organized a sensitization workshop for other government ministries legal officers and media on the Biosafety Act 2012 in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The parliament, through to the request from the grass root, requested the minister through the EEA to create an enabling regulatory environment with a functional biosafety system in the kingdom of eSwatini.
The objectives of the trainings are, to capacitate the Judiciary in supports of the EEA of their role in case of litigation against government, to enhance media knowledge on science based biosafety communication.
Twelve (12) government Legal Officers from different ministries participated in the Lawyers’ workshop while nine (9) journalists from the media houses in the Kingdom of eSwatini were involved in the media capacity enhancement training.

Group picture of Eswatini government officials and Legal Officers with AUDA-NEPAD ABNE team.

The pre-meeting with the Permanent Secretary to the Minister of tourism and Environmental Affair signaled the government support for the capacity enhancement of the government legal officers and the media in the kingdom. A meeting with the Acting executive Director of the EEA
prior to the training brought to bear the importance of the meetings and the timeliness for the legal fraternity in the kingdom to be introduce and capacitated on the Biosafety issues and first of its kind since the inception of the agency.

Group picture of Eswatini government officials and Journalists with AUDA-NEPAD ABNE team

During the meeting, many topical talks in the legal subjects were made, such as Basic science of biotechnology, biotechnology trends in African countries, legal instruments for the regulation of biosafety in modern biotechnology, status of global, regional biosafety regulation and their implementation in Africa, the Intellectual Property Rights and litigations in modern biotechnology, liability and Redress issues, principle of risk assessment, and also the national legal instruments for the regulation of biosafety in modern biotechnology.
The selected journalists who attended the capacity enhancement went through some topics similar to that of the legal participants with the additions like, the role of the media in modern biotechnology biosafety communication, Bt cotton in the farmers field in the Kingdom of Eswatini, media interphase reporting and credible information sources on the environmental safety procedures for biotechnology product approval.
Among the main outcomes of the mission, a National lawyer’s network was established and incorporated to the African network of Lawyers. The establishment of this national network will allow Eswatini Legal Officers to benefit from continuous capacity building and experience sharing opportunities from the African network. The communication network also enjoys further capacity enhancement on the matter of science biosafety communication.