Technical workshop to develop biosafety regulatory tools and advance the process of setting up a functional biosafety system in Senegal

NEPAD Agency ABNE, in partnership with the national biosafety agency “Autorite Nationale de Biosecurite (ANB)” of Senegal, successfully carried out a technical workshop aimed to assist the country develop a number of basic biosafety regulatory tools that are required for building a functional biosafety system that will enable the country to safety harness the benefits from modern biotechnology.
The meeting took place from 6 – 9 June, 2019 at Saly Portudal, Senegal, and brought together regulators from ANB under the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (Minsitere de l’Environnement et du Development Durabel), and resource persons from other institutions. .

Group picture of participants.

The three day intensive program lead to the development of application forms for confined field trials of biotech crops, application form for importation / exportation of food and feed derived from biotechnology products; draft decrees laying down procedures for risk assessment, and draft regulation for the establishment of the scientific advisory committee responsible for dossier review and recommendations for decision making.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Ousseynou Kasse, Executive Director of ANB, expressed his high appreciation of the outcomes of the meeting as this was a critical need for Senegal, and thanked NEPAD Agency ABNE for its support for this opportunity and also during the past years. . “We now have part of the key tools we needed to be operational. These are important technical and regulatory tools that will allow us to fulfill our responsibilities”, he said. He added that his institution and the whole country rely on a continued support from NEPAD to develop the remaining tools that are needed for the country to have a fully functional system
Dr Moussa Savadogo, ABNE Principal Programme Officer, on behalf of ABNE Director, commended ANB Executive Director and his team for their leadership on the development of the legal instruments and for the positive move that the country is making towards the establishment of a functional biosafety regulatory system . “This meeting was a key step in the strengthening of the biosafety regulatory system in Senegal. Application forms are now ready for CFT dossier review and Senegal definitely has the human resources and the political will to move the process forward”, he added. Dr Moussa encouraged the regulators to speed up the process for the passage of the revised biosafety law.

A view of participants during the workshops

Senegal has been in the process of adopting functional biosafety regulatory systems since 2003, starting with the ratification of the Cartagena protocol on biosafety. It passed a biosafety law in July 2009 and established a National Biosafety Authority (NBA) in the same year. Over the years the law proved in practice prohibitive so a process for its revision to make it functional was started in 2015. In 2016, political leaders, at the highest level, officially expressed the need for the country to move forward and have in place the necessary legal framework that will allow the country to harness the benefits from modern biotechnologies for its development.
NEPAD Agency ABNE, within the framework of its AU mandate, will continue to provide the necessary technical support for the implementation of a functional biosafety system in Senegal.