The Biosafety legislation passage; A revolutionary achievement for Uganda!
By Mr. Musa Kwehangana, Biosafety Officer- UNCST
Many had given up on the Biosafety bill that was passed by the 10th Parliament on 4th October 2017. Congratulations to Uganda!
Uganda joins Countries in Africa that have Biosafety laws which are currently using modern biotechnology for the development of agricultural and allied economic sectors, notably, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Mali, Sudan, Cameron. The journey to having a Biosafety law did not start yesterday as the country ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety earlier on 30 Nov 2001; in commitment to Global Biodiversity Management.
Uganda accords high priority to the successful implementation of this Protocol on Biosafety and all UN resolutions and has participated in all the meetings of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity Serving as a meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP-MOP). Uganda’s commitment is also reflected in her efforts in the domestication of the protocol and the mainstreaming of biosafety into her National Programs with the aim of achieving global biodiversity conservation targets. Uganda also equally signed the Nagoya Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in 2014.
The law provides for the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Policy Committee on Biotechnology and Biosafety that will be chaired by the Prime Minister and consisting of Ministers responsible for STI, Health, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Education, Lands, and Defence. The law further states that minister will create a technical committee, The National Biosafety Committee that will oversee and regulate the development and importation of biotechnology products.
The National Biosafety law is crucial in the management of Modern Biotechnology in the country. Biotechnology has been identified as an important tool that can help countries to achieve food sufficiency/food security, industrial growth, health improvement and environmental sustainability. The Biosafety law will give the legal framework to regulate the activities of modern biotechnology locally as well as imported GM crops into the country as well as providing an avenue to engage Ugandan scientists and experts from different fields to identify and pursue solutions to our local challenges.
The law will also allay the fear of the populace on the socio-economic consequences of modern biotechnology, especially among the small-scale farming systems that are prevalent in Uganda Reaffirm Uganda’s commitment to the principles of the World Trade Organization and to reaffirm Uganda’s commitment to the goals and objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which Uganda has signed and ratified as well as safe use of modern biotechnology and provide holistic approach to the regulation of modified organisms in Uganda . It will also promote active commercialization of the research and development projects in our various Universities and Research Institutes hence improving our economy as well as support the country to become one of the leaders in Biotechnology, particularly in Africa
Let’s work together to achieve a bio-economy led transformation.
The State of Intellectual Property Management in Uganda
This policy brief analyses the state of Intellectual Property (IP) administration and management in Uganda. Significant progress has been made with respect to IP legal reforms and setting up the national intellectual property office at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). However, challenges such as low awareness about IP among public and limited technical capacity of lawyers, judges, customs officers and the police to handle IP issues still exist. Additionally, weak implementation of local and global commitments on IP tends to diminish the sense of accountability on IP issues. We believe these challenges could be addressed with by strengthening synergies between key IP management institutions in the country.
Read full article: