National Policy

A strong national policy environment for agriculture, new technologies, resource conservation, and related areas will foster the adoption of appropriate GM technologies. Coherent policies promote development of an implementable regulatory system for biosafety and guide its coordination with related regulatory mechanisms (e.g., phytosanitary requirements, seed registration, etc.). They provide a basis for accommodating the differing interests of ministries of agriculture, health, science and technology, environment, or others involved. Weak or absent national policy, in contrast, may serve as an impediment to technology transfer and adoption.

Around the world, national policies on genetic modification differ significantly in their objectives. Some countries design policy to protect the envi ronment and human health against uncertain or unidentified risks, allowing use of the technology only to the extent that its impacts are known or can reliably be predicted. Others frame policy to encourage the introduction of technologies that will benefit the country and its people, striving to identify and manage actual or potential risks, to the extent possible given current knowledge, and to balance these against the status quo.

Policy decisions regarding the relative roles played by the various ministries involved shape biosafety implementation. The statutory nature of biosafety regulations, whether issued as law, by ministerial decree, or as advisory guidelines, will dictate the nature and extent of enforcement measures and the means for addressing noncompli-ance. Existing regulatory agencies, such as those for plant quarantine and seed registration, may have statutory authorities that apply to GMOs and that need, therefore, to be coordinated with biosafety regulation.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

Convention — pertain to biotechnology development and trade. This fact indicates that a wide and complex scope of regulatory issues are associated with the use of the technology.

tarius, and the International Plant Protection

At least three international agreements — the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, Codex Alimen-

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