Mauritius initiated the preparation of a regulatory regime on biosafety in 1997. In 1999, with the assistance of a UNEP/GEF pilot project, Mauritius (through the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute) prepared its “National Biosafety Guidelines for the Safe Development and Introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms”. The guidelines, based on the precautionary principle, outlined the administrative and institutional procedures necessary for the safe application of genetic modification.
Mauritius being a Party to the Cartagena Protocol since April 2002, fulfilled its obligations by passing the GMO Act in the National Assembly on the 16 March, 2004. However, only six sections have been proclaimed so far.
The National Biosafety Framework( Mauritius) UNEP/GEF
Duration: 4 years, with an official start date in December 2006 and expected termination in December 2010 with a moratorium of 3 months.
Objectives: by 2010 Mauritius has a workable and transparent national biosafety framework, in line with its national development priorities and international obligations.
§ The implementing regulations and procedures are developed, adopted and are in effect
§ Mauritius has a functional national system for handling requests, performing risk assessment and management, decision-making, performing administrative tasks, handling, storing and exchanging information in line with the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) requirements
§ Mauritius has a functional national system for monitoring of environmental effects and inspections
§ Mauritius has a functional national system for public awareness and participation
Budget: The total project value of 635,700 USD of which the UNEP/GEF contribution is 66%.The remainder is provided as in kind contribution by the Government of Mauritius.
Implementing Agency: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
National Executing Agency: Food and Agricultural Research Council
Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security
The Project management staff consists of:
§ National Project Coordinator: Mr J. Ramkissoon, Director General, FARC
§ Project Assistant: Mr N. Gopaul, Divisional Scientific Officer, Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security
§ Finance Officer: Mr L. Ramnath, Senior Accounts Officer, Farmers Service Centre
Project Activities: The project consists of thirteen activities which have been allocated to various teams of National Consultants following an invitation exercise from relevant stakeholder institutions. All activities but two have been initiated and are in progress.
In cases where local expertise is not available foreign expertise through UNEP has been solicited e.g. GMO detection training, and risk assessment and management.
Progress Reports (Management Reports) : Progress reports in the form of half yearly Progress Reports (Management) are submitted at predetermined intervals (i.e. within 30 days of the reporting period i.e. half yearly period) as per UNEP ANUBIS software.
Financial Reports: Financial Reports are submitted to UNEP/GEF on a Quarterly basis while the activities of project management are submitted as a half yearly report within one month of the period. All reports are submitted as per UNEP/GEF format (custom designed ANUBIS software).
An annual audit is carried out by the office of the Director of Audit and the report submitted to UNEP.
Terminal reports: Within 60 days of project completion NEA to submit a terminal report to UNEP/GEF.
Steering committee: A National Coordinating Committee assists project management to run the project. It consists of representatives of Ministries, research organisations, State Law Office, Consumer association, Chamber of Agriculture and hold meetings at least once per quarter. Minutes of meeting are included in the half yearly progress reports.
National Coordinating Committee: The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) works together as a team on management of the National Project and meets at least on a quarterly basis and assists project management to run the project. The NCC consists of members from various ministries, research organisations and consumer protection organisation. This Committee is chaired by the National Project Coordinator.