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Project on Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (National Biosafety Project)

Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework in accordance with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a GEF funded project and is being implemented by the Ministry of Environment through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from 2017. The project objective is to strengthen Sri Lanka’s regulatory, institutional and technical capacities for the effective implementation of the National Biosafety Framework in conformity with the Cartagena Protocol. Biodiversity division of Ministry is the National Executing Agency (NEA) for this project. This project is addressing the 1) Strengthening policy, institutional, and regulatory frameworks for biosafety, 2)Enhancing system for Risk Assessment (RA), Risk Management (RM), and Risk communication (RC), 3)Developing technical capacity for detection and identification of living modified organisms (LMOs) and strengthening biosafety related infrastructure, 4) Knowledge development, public awareness, education and participation.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. It entered into force on 29 December 1993 and currently has 196 parties. The Principal objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity are the Conservation of Biological Diversity, sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair equitable sharing of the benefits arising from its utilization. The convention recognizes that the key to maintaining biological diversity depends upon using this diversity in a sustainable manner.Sri Lanka has signed the convention in June, 1992 and ratified in March 1994.The Ministry subject of Environment acts as the national focal point for the convention while Biodiversity division coming under its purview acts as the implementing centre of actions.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health and specifically focusing on trans - boundary movements. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003. Sri Lanka has signed the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in 2000 and ratified in 2004.

The Ministry subject of Environment acts as the national focal point for the protocol while Biodiversity Secretariat coming under its purview acts as the implementing centre of actions.

Although the advancement of modern biotechnology is still at an early stage in the country, the Government of Sri Lanka has been taking several steps to ensure the safe use of LMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Food Feed and Processed Products (FFP). Recognizing the need for ensuring the regulation of biotechnology research and development activities, the Biodiversity Secretariat implemented the National Biosafety Framework Development Project in 2005, which led to the formulation of the National Biosafety Framework (NBF) in 2005.