National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2004-06-23 21:28 UTC (erie.tamale@biodiv.org)
Date of last update
2010-01-20 12:00 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2010-01-20 12:00 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
Capacity-Building in Biosafety for the Caribbean
Contact person
Maureen Manchouck
Research Science and Technology (NIHERST)
Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST)
c/o National Institute of Higher Education
4 Serpentine Place
St. Clair
Trinidad and Tobago
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • CBD Regional Groups - Latin America and the Caribbean
Type of initiative
Main target group(s) / beneficiaries
  • Target group: Caribbean scientists and technical experts
Start Date
Ending date
Donor(s) information
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative
Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST)
National Institute of Higher Education
Research Science and Technology (NIHERST)
43- 45 Woodford Street
Trinidad and Tobago
Phone:(868) 628- 8523,(868) 622-7880
Fax:(868) 622- 1589
Url:Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST)
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Type of Organization: Regional Organization
Availability of funds for participants
Activity details
Description of the initiative
Within recent times the advances in biotechnology have brought considerable benefits to humanity mainly in such fields as agriculture, medicine, and the environment. In fact, it is believed that the 21st century will witness a biotechnology revolution with increased investment in research, development and marketing for new biotech-products and processes. Despite its benefits, however, modern biotechnology products and processes may have adverse impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, health, environment, and socio-economic interests.

Biosafety, therefore has been a subject for negotiations at three global fora: the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) - Agenda 21 (Chapter 16), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - Articles 8 (g) and 19 (paras. 3&4), and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Article 15 of the Cartagena Protocol requires Parties to undertake risk assessment and risk management procedures in line with other provisions of the Protocol. This requires capacities in both general risk assessment as well as scientific and socio-economic capacities. Compliance therefore requires multi-disciplinary expertise and ability to deal with scientific uncertainty in ways that allow technological development to take place without compromising human and environmental health.

The project countries do not have the human resources and institutional capacity to implement their obligations at national, regional and international levels. There is a lack of a critical mass of professionals to deal effectively with the complexity of issues related to the assessment and management of GMO risks. These countries are also significant importers of food and have significant manufacturing bases that use biological processes. Some countries, for example Trinidad and Tobago, also see biotechnology as a new niche area for which foreign investment is being encouraged. Hence support for these countries will be emphasised in this project but this will not be to the exclusion of other countries.

This project not only helps to equip the above named Caribbean countries with some of the required technical expertise and institutional capacity to satisfy their international obligations but also protects the public's health and well being. The project complements initiatives undertaken under the UNEP-GEF Project on the Development of National Biosafety Frameworks.

The project is funded by the Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund

Regional level activities
January 19th -30th 2004, 50 regional participants took part in an intensive training workshop based at the Environmental Management Authority in Trinidad to commence the project. The biosafety issues addressed included:

*The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and other relevant international agreements,
*biosafety systems in selected developed and developing countries,
*scientific risk assessment and risk management focussing on transgenic plants,
*food safety assessments and relevant international protocols,
*decisions and decision making,
*biosafety communication,
*regional approaches to biosafety, and
*biosafety resources and support.
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
*To train Caribbean scientists and technical experts in the techniques to deal with the safe transfer, handling, use and identification of GMOs that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, the environment and human health.

*To formulate model guidelines for use at the national and regional levels for the safe transfer, handling, use and identification of biotechnology products, especially GMOs.

*To contribute to the development and harmonisation of initiatives and collaborations in the Caribbean region on biosafety.

The primary goal of the project was to develop some of the necessary capacities for the safe transfer, handling, use and identification of GMOs, which may have adverse effects on the biological diversity, environment, and human health. This would assist countries in the implementation of Articles 16 and 19 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol.

Main outcomes
Workshop Outputs:

1. A cadre of 50 regional scientists, technologists, regulators, consumer protection, trade and NGO personnel trained in biosafety.

2. Production of model guidelines for the safe transfer, handling, use and identification of biotechnology products/GMOs in the Caribbean.

3. Knowledge dissemination on the implementation of the Biosafety Protocol and national biosafety regulations and guidelines. (See the Caribbean component of Simbiosisfor further information.)
General thematic area(s)
  • Institutional capacity
  • Human resources capacity development and training
  • Risk assessment and other scientific and technical expertise
  • Risk management
  • Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration at subregional, regional and international levels
  • Public awareness, participation and education in biosafety
  • Information exchange and data management including participation in the Biosafety Clearing-House
Additional Information
Additional Information
Other collaborating organizations
*Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU (CTA)
*Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI)
*International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada