National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2004-06-23 11:58 UTC (Mfoley1@worldbank.org)
Date of last update
2010-01-25 09:20 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2010-01-25 09:20 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
Colombia Capacity Building Project for the Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework
Contact person
Ms. Mary-Ellen Foley
GEF Team Biosafety Focal Point
Environment Department
The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
Phone:+1 202 458 0445
Fax:+1 202 522 3258
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Colombia
  • CBD Regional Groups - Latin America and the Caribbean
Type of initiative
Main target group(s) / beneficiaries
  • Target group: Policy makers, regulators, decision makers, scientist and the public.
Start Date
Ending date
Donor(s) information
Government(s) sponsoring the initiative
  • Colombia
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative
Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute
Calle 37 #8-40 Mezanine
Santafé, Bogotá DC
Phone:(57+1) 3383900 exts. 388, 389, 390, 391
Fax:(57+1) 2889564
Url:Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Organization: Alexander Von Humboldt Institute and The World Bank
  • Type of Organization: National government
  • Type of Organization: UN Agency
Budget information
GEF - $$1,000,000.00
Co-financing: Gov. of Colombia - $$2,478,123.00
IBRD - $$1,000,000.00
Availability of funds for participants
Activity details
Description of the initiative
This project builds upon the experience gained in Colombia on plant and animal health inspection services, biodiversity conservation and human health. It will help to consolidate Colombia's national capacity for the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The Government of Colombia has placed a high priority on developing a framework as reflected in its National Development Plan by promoting research on biodiversity friendly goods, including supply, demand, barriers and opportunities; and, promoting such goods and coordination of the implementation of the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH).

Specifically, the project will develop national capacities in biosafety required to:
(i) strengthen the legislative framework and operational mechanisms for biosafety management in Colombia;
(ii) build capacity and establish an operational system for risk assessment and monitoring;
(iii) establish the biosafety database system and Biosafety Clearinghouse Mechanism;
(iv) support centers of excellence and a network for research, risk assessment, and monitoring; and
(v) establish the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU).

The development of national capacities in these areas consolidated the national framework for biosafety management.

Colombia has previously carried out self-assessments of national capacities and gaps in the framework of the enabling activities in climate change and biodiversity. The current project takes into account these previous experiences and concretely builds on the national biodiversity information system housed in the Von Humboldt Institute. At the same time, the intersectoral working group has raised awareness of the gaps in the national legal framework for Biosafety and has promoted broader dialogue with all the stakeholders. During the project preparation process, the project team has promoted wider dialogue and consensus between the different agencies and organizations represented by the intersectoral working group, and has helped to achieve consensus on national priorities in relation to LMOs. This improved co-ordination and dialogue is a key aspect of the proposed capacity building activity with the GEF.

National level activities
Development of national biosafety frameworks
Human-resources development
Information exchange & data management
Institutional strengthening
Risk assessment

Regional level activities
Centres of excellence and training.
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
To strengthen the legislative framework and operational mechanisms for biosafety management in Colombia.
To build capacity and establish an operational system for risk assessment and monitoring.
To establish the national biosafety database system and Biosafety Clearing-House.
To support centers of excellence and establishment of a network for research, risk assessment, and monitoring.

The objective of the Project is to establish national capacity for implementation of the National Biosafety Framework according to the obligations of the Cartagena Protocol.

The immediate objective is build sufficient capacity to assess and manage risks associated with the transboundary movement of LMOs through strengthening regulatory frameworks, enhancing institutional capacity and effective communication strategies.
General thematic area(s)
  • Institutional capacity
  • Human resources capacity development and training
  • Risk assessment and other scientific and technical expertise
  • Information exchange and data management including participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House
Additional Information
Additional Information
Colombia was one of the leading countries in formulating the Cartagena Protocol and is one of the first to sign and ratify the Protocol. Colombia is also a major center of biodiversity and home to many local and native species of agricultural crops. Recognizing this, the national development plan gives priority to development of capacity in Biosafety and related research on biodiversity.

While a basic capacity to regulate Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) has been developed in some organizations, such as the Institute for Colombian Agriculture (ICA), deeper and wider capacity building remains a high priority, especially in a rapidly changing field such as biosafety. Members of the National Technical Committee on Biosafety (CTN) have received training from the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) but some ministries, such as environment, health and external trade, have yet to develop a minimum capacity to analyze and assess risks for decision making. This is especially true for environmental impact assessment, food safety and allergenicity related to released LMOs, or commercial imports for food use.

The Government of Colombia has also recognized the need to establish an inter-ministerial mechanism to formulate national policies and coordinate decision making on biosafety issues that cuts across sectoral boundaries. Additionally, current regulations only cover LMOs for agricultural use intended for release into the environment and Regulations on other LMOs and commercial imports of LMOs for food and feed are still being established.