Policy and Legal Framework
Policy and Legal Framework
The regulatory regime for the application of Modern Biotechnology in the country is guided by the following principles:
a) Precautionary Principle: This shall be implemented through the decision-making system, particularly in accordance with the procedure for risk assessment, risk management and evaluation of socio-economic risks.
b) Preventive principle: prevention of adverse effects of GMOs on environment and human and animal health
c) A balanced approach: Such approach recognizes both the potential benefits and risks of modern biotechnology to human and animal health, agriculture, biological diversity and the environment.
d) Prior informed consent: The exporting Party shall notify the National Biosafety Focal Point prior to the first intentional transboundary movement of GMOs. A failure to acknowledge receipt of a notification should not imply consent to importation of GMOs.
e) Strict liability: A person who imports, arranges transit, makes contained use of, releases or places on the market a GMO or product of a GMO shall be strictly liable for any harm caused by such a GMO or product of a GMO. The harm shall be fully compensated.
f) Socio-economic and ethical considerations: the social, economic and ethical considerations shall be taken into account in Biosafety decisions.
g) Transparency and Public Participation: decision taken under the NBF shall be arrived at in a transparent and participatory manner. All relevant stakeholders shall have appropriate access to information and opportunity to participate in Biosafety decision-making process.
h) Duty to protect the environment: Every person living in Tanzania shall have a stake and a duty to safeguard and enhance the environment and to inform the relevant authority of any activity and phenomenon that may affect the environment significantly.
The National Environmental Policy (1997)
The National Environmental Policy (1997) recognizes the importance of conservation and sustainable utilization of the national biological resources. Paragraph 32 stipulates the need for undertaking programmes and actions for the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological resources to prevent and control the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity. It further states, ”Strategic measures shall be put in place for the development of biotechnology, especially to ensure fair and equitable sharing of the results and benefits arising out of utilization by foreign recipients, of genetic resources originating from Tanzania, and biosafety”.
In addition to the National Environmental Policy, there are sectoral policies relevant to biosafety. For example the National Science and Technology Policy for Tanzania (1996) acknowledge the existing weakness in emphasis on basic and applied research. The Policy focuses on, inter alia, biotechnology, genetics and genetic engineering, and exploitation of medicinal, agrochemicals and industrial chemicals. National Biotechnology Policy (2010) seek to ensure that Tanzania has the capacity and capability to capture the proven benefits arising from health, agriculture, industry and environmental applications of biotechnology while protecting and sustaining the safety of the community and the environment.
Legislation Related to Biosafety and Biotechnology
A review of existing pieces of legislation has shown that there is yet no single legislative instrument that addresses biosafety concerns in the country. Rather there are various pieces of sectoral legislation covering plant protection, animal and human health, which would implicitly address issues of biosafety in their respective mandates. They address the issues of plant protection substances including pesticides and herbicides; animal health; food quality; health control; environmental protection and natural resources management. The following are some of the legislation that have been assessed in order to establish the extent to which they regulate the application of biotechnology in the country: Environmental Management Act (Cap. 191); The Plant Protection Act No. 3 of 1997; The Veterinary Act No. 16 of 2003; The Animal Diseases Act No. 17 of 2003; Fertilisers and Animal Feedstuffs Ordinance Cap. 467; The Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act No. 1 of 2003; The Merchant Shipping Act No of 2003; The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Act No. 10 of 2003; The Fisheries Act No 22 of 2003; Forest Act No. 14 of 2002; Beekeeping Act No. 14 of 2002; Wildlife Conservation Act No. 12 of 1974; The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology Act No. 7 of 1986; The Tanzania Bureau of Standards Act No. 33 of 1975; and The Industrial and Consumer Chemicals (Management and Control) Act No 3 of 2003.