Southern African Regional Course on Biosafety

University of the Free State, South Africa, Sunday 28th June 2009 to Friday 3rd July 2009


GMO Testing Facility
University of the Free State
 Southern African Regional Course:
Holistic Foundations for Assessment and Regulation of Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms

 Date:     28 June – 3 July 2009
 Venue:  University of the Free State, South Africa
 Topics include:
  • Holistic overview of genetics, genes, gene expression and regulation
  • Various application areas for genetic engineering
  • The potential impact of GMOs on the environment and human health
  • The Biosafety Protocol
  • Economic and legal aspects of GMOs
  • Socio-cultural and ethical issues of GMOs
  • Regulatory systems and GMO labelling
  • Risk assessment of GMOs and risk assessment review
  • Laboratory practicals on protein and PCR based GMO detection
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety seeks to ensure ”an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movements”.In order to manage the introduction and development of GMOs as well as trade thereof, countries are required to develop biosafety regulations. However, there is a lack of understanding, expertise and scientific knowledge on the different aspects necessary to perform risk assessment and develop a regulatory system that takes into consideration the ethical, economic and social considerations.
Performing credible biological risk assessments requires multi-disciplinary scientific and social scientific competence that considers the local context of GMO introductions. Each country needs to be able to conduct risk assessment review and understand the different aspects thereof in order to effectively monitor and manage the introduction of GMOs into the environment Moreover, there is a need to assess GMOs in the context of each countries unique cultural, ethical socio-economic and policy frameworks. Such initiatives will require holistic approaches to develop adequate regulation over the use of GMOs.

About the course
The course is designed to provide policy makers, regulators, scientists and NGOs/civil society leaders, specifically from developing countries, with the necessary balanced and critical knowledge and training in crucial GE/GMO issues. Through lectures, laboratory demonstrations, group work on case studies, and discussions, we offer biosafety capacity building within a holistic framework.

Eligibility and selection process
The working language of the course will be English only, and as such, applicants should be able to work sufficiently well in English in both oral and written communication.
Preference will be given to applicants from the SADC-area (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe). Participant must come from or live in an ODA-country to be considered. Gender and regional criteria are also used in the selection of participants in order to achieve representational balance.
Applications close on 1 April 2009.
Costs and expenses
Full sponsorship will be given to 40 selected applicants. The sponsorship will cover curricular materials, course-associated travel, visa-fees, accommodation and meals.
How to apply:
The online (electronic) application form can be downloaded from: or or obtained on request from or
The completed forms should be returned to
For further information you can contact:
Prof. Chris Viljoen
Local coordinator: Biosafety Workshop
Katrine Jaklin
Project Manager: GenØk – Centre for Biosafety

For further information about ODA-countries visit


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