Niger Parliament passes country’s National Biosafety Law

By Abdallah el-Kurebe 

The Parliament of Niger Republic has approved the country’s biosafety law. 

The epoch-making event took place at a plenary session on 17 October, 2019 in Niamey. 

The new law will provide for safety measures in research and development with respect to modern biotechnology and for transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) as well as products thereof. 

It also provides for risk assessment, risk management and risk communication concerning living modified organisms or other modern biotechnology products.

“This law allows us to honour our commitments to the international community, thereby improving the living conditions of our citizens”, said Mr. Almoustapha Garba, the country’s Minister of Environment, said. 

“At the government level, everything will be done to ensure a prompt adoption of the implementing measures and to ensure the strengthening of the capacities of the various services responsible for their application to the benefit of the people of Niger and of the humanity as a whole. The enforcement of this law is essential for biodiversity and the protection of the environment,” Garba emphasised.

The adoption of this law comes after series of capacity building activities undertaken by national institutions in charge of biosecurity and biosafety, with the support of the African Union Development Agency – NEPAD.

Among these activities were an important stakeholder seminar on the biosafety bill organised in June, 2019 and Parlementarians’ technical seminar on the biosafety bill held in early October, 2019. 

Both of these meetings were initiated by the Ministry of Environment of Niger Republic and the Centre National des Études Stratégiques et de Sécurité (CNESS). 

The activities were fully supported by AUDA-NEPAD through its specialized regulatory capacity building program, the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE).