Gov’t role in addressing LMOs issue a challenge

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Director Joe Horokou addressing participants of the workshop.
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BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE

Mr Saminela Fonua (far left), Mr Joe Horokou (fourth from right) and stakeholders at the BCH workshop.

THE issue of addressing living modified organisms (LMOs) is a challenge for Pacific Island countries especially when many people don’t know what LMO is and consume food or products that contain it.

The above statement was expressed by Mr Samiuela Fonua, the Pacific region’s only expert on Biosafety working with UN Environment on the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) project funded by Global Environment Facility.

He voiced that the LMOs issue is a challenge for Pacific Island states given the simple reason that it isn’t something that people tend to worry much about.

However, he said that it lies within us to find solution to how we can better address the issue of LMOs in the country and referred to the workshop as a platform the government can embark on to further deal with LMOs.

Mr Fonua stressed that through this workshop, the Solomon Islands national government can through responsible stakeholders accommodate programs such as trainings, education and public awareness which are all part of the country’s obligation under the Cartagena Protocol.

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Director Joe Horokou addressing participants of the workshop.

He said that once these initiatives roll out, people will be more informed about LMOs and be able to make choices and decisions.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure parties involve exercise safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs).

Solomon Islands ratified and signed the agreement in July 2004.

The workshop facilitated by Mr Fonua included presentations, questionnaire and an activity where participants were quizzed on aspects of BCH in respect to the Cartagena Protocol.

The two day workshop will conclude today (31st Thursday).

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