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REMA, NEPAD, Media towards the establishment of Rwanda’s Effective Biosafety Communication Strategy

Despite lack of scientific proof that the use of Biotechnology has serious risks on human and environment, scientists say that many people are still basing on ideological speculations on GMOs rather than basing on scientific findings

REMA is engaging more stakeholders as the Environment Regulatory Body is working on the Biosafety Communication Strategy

By: Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority and the African Union Development Agency known as AUDA-NEPAD have concluded a three days training of Media and focal persons from the Rwanda Agriculture and Research Board in order to have a common understanding on which communication that will be effective to communicate and report on Biosafety and Biotechnology.

Biotechnology is a new modern technique which is being applied in agriculture and food production.

Experts said since the introduction of Biotechnology there were mixed reactions among many people around the world and still today there is a resistance whereby many believe that Biotechnology products are harmful and can cause serious risks to their lives.

Despite lack of scientific proof that the use of Biotechnology has serious risks on human and environment, scientists say that many people are still basing on ideological speculations on GMOs rather than basing on scientific findings.

However, Mr Sunday Akile, the Programme Officer for Legal and Policy on Biosafety Issues at the African Biosafety Network of Expertise demonstrated that the global trends in Biological diversity is that the world is looking how human can live with nature in a sustainable way.

Read also: Rwanda insists on Biosafety rather than putting ban on Use of Biotechnology

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority is investing more effort in developing an Effective Biosafety Communication Strategy as a tool that will help the institution in its Biosafety regulation and knowledge transfer which will contribute to the prevention of large-scale loss of biological integrity, focusing both on ecology and human health.    

Eng. Coletha U. Ruhamya, Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority

Speaking at the first day of the training which was concluded on Friday, 13 December, 2019, the Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority Eng. Coletha U. Ruhamya said the training comes at the right time when Rwanda is establishing the Biosafety Regulatory system.

She reminds that Rwanda is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity and has ratified other agreements on the protection and conservation of Environment.

Eng. Ruhamya said “Capacity development and effective communication are key components of a functional Biosafety Framework. Media in its multiple forms play a major role in dissemination of information with the aim to ensure Public awareness, Education and Participation.”

 “…to put it clear this is a science…especially for Biosafety is a new technology for most of us specifically in the country. So media in its magical forms play a major role in dissemination of information with the interests of public awareness.” She added.

“I know there are a lot of terminologies in Biotechnology, so what we want to know is which simple language that you will use to inform the public about Biotechnology and Biosafety. Today we need to start thinking how are we going to communicate with this?” Eng. Ruhamya noted.

The training was an opportunity to discuss the Communication Strategy for Biosafety information and knowledge delivery

“I tell you, communication is a big tool to make people change. So for people to understand what are they supposed to do? When you use difficult terminologies a citizen will not be able to understand the message, she will conclude that those are for scientists only!” He added.

During the training journalists were given an insight on how they can communicate about Biosafety to people that they are always communicating to.

It was also an opportunity for key institutions in Biosafety regulation to sit with NEPAD experts and chart the way together towards an establishment of a communication strategy which will be effective for Biosafety Communication.

 

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