The National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines is spearheading the development of a multi-year regional proposal on biosafety on the sustainable implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The country will focus on the two thematic areas: 1) Handling, Transport, Packaging, and Identification of LMOs; and 2) Information Sharing and Strategic Knowledge Management & Sustaining Regional Cooperation and Coordination.
At the regional level, the project will be led by the United Nations Environment Program while the Competent National Authorities: DA, DOST, DENR and the DOH, will implement the activities the national level. Funding for the project will come from the STAR 7th Cycle Global Environment Facility in the amount of US$500,000. In country contribution will be in the form of facilities and manpower.
Discussions on the project started in January 2019 and extended to March wherein the ABF Informal Consultative Committee and UNEP-GEF BCH Project Manager developed the concept note of the proposal.
The concept note was presented to the GEF Secretariat in October 11, 2019. The mission recognized the importance of regional collaboration not only because it is embodied in the COPMOP9 decisions and commitment of the GEF to support the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety but most specially, the benefits that will be derived from this endeavor that will contribute to building the capacities of the participating countries to manage and ensure the safe and responsible use of GMOs.
During the intersessional period until the engagement Workshop in February 4, 2020, UNEP continued its follow up with countries that intend to join according to the three modalities presented. To date, Philippines, Mongolia and India had expressed its commitment to join the project, while decision of other countries are expected after consultations with their respective Principals. Non-GEF country like Korea will join the project and provide funds for its implementation. The Project Information Form (PIF) is being finalized by the UNEP and will be endorsed to the NOP-GEF once finished.
Ms. Estacio believes that the Philippines can contribute in enhancing the regulatory system of its neighboring countries,considering the country’s experiences in research and development, and commercialization of products of products of modern biotechnology."