National Biosafety Framework

Overview of the National Biosafety Framework

Swaziland recognizes the potential of biotechnology to contribute to sustainable development outcomes. At the same time, the country is cognisant of the potential negative impacts of modern biotechnology on biological diversity, the environment as well as human and animal health. The National Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy therefore tries to balance promotion and adoption of biotechnology with protection of biological diversity as well as human and animal health. The National Biosafety Framework is founded on the principles of:

  • The precautionary principle: The Precautionary Principle forms the cornerstone of Swaziland’s Biosafety Framework.
  • Duty to protect the environment:Every Swazi has the responsibility to protect the environment, safeguard it and ensure that it is maintained for sustainability. It is every citizen’s duty to inform relevant authorities about any activities or phenomena that may result in damage to the environment. This then requires a public that is informed about biotechnology and biosafety.
  • Preventive principle:Implementation of the regulatory framework will prioritize prevention of any adverse effects of modern biotechnology to the environment, human and animal health over other considerations.
  • Advanced informed agreement: All activities involving LMOs will be subject to authorization by the National Biosafety
  • Balanced & informed decision-making: Decisions on modern biotechnology applications will be carried out on a case-by-case basis based on available information balancing potential benefits against risks to the environment as well as human and animal health.
  • Public awareness, participation and transparency: Decision-making will be transparent allowing for participation of the public.
  • Socio economic and ethical consideration:Socio-economic and ethical considerations of interest to the people of Swaziland shall be taken into consideration in decision-making.

The purpose of Swaziland’s NBF is to establish an environment that is conducive to safe development, deployment and application of modern biotechnology whilst ensuring protection of the environment, human and animal health from potential risks. The specific objectives of the NBF are:

i.        To provide a science-based and transparent decision making system that will enable Swaziland to benefit from the potential benefits of modern biotechnology while ensuring maximum protection of the environment, humans and animals from potential risks.

ii.        To ensure that research, release and handling of products from modern biotechnology are done in a manner that minimizes potential risks to the environment, human and animal health, and;

iii.        To ensure safe handling and trans-boundary movement of products derived from modern biotechnology.