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Biosafety

The line is going to move

Decree regulates law and allows the resumption of the activities of the CTNBio

Six months after the Law on Biosafety was sanctioned, the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of the Republic has concluded its regulation. The expectation was that the presidential decree would be published at the beginning of October. The regulation will make possible the recomposition of the National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) and the resumption of its activities, suspended in May. The new commission will have an arduous task ahead of it: to get moving a waiting line with 398 processes: seven requests for the commercial release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), four new research projects, and another 52 requests for releasing research from the greenhouse to the outside environment, and 41 applications for imports, amongst other requests, not yet analyzed.

The CTNBio will be made up of 27 members, 12 of them specialists of renowned scientific learning, three from each one of these areas: human health, animal health, plant health and environment. With the law regulated, the Minister of Science and Technology, Sergio Rezende, will set up an ad hoc commission – made up of representatives of scientific societies, the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC) and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) – which will have 30 days to draw up triple lists of incumbents and alternates.

Also part of the commission are representatives of nine ministries and another six specialists in the areas of consumer defense, healthcare, environment, biotechnology, family farming and workers’ health. They will be indicated by the ministers of the various portfolios and chosen in triple lists drawn up by organizations of the civil society.

All will have a mandate of two years, renewable for another two. Federal government bodies and entities may ask to take part in the meetings of the CTNBio to deal with subjects of their special interest, without the right to vote. The quorum for the meetings is 14 members, including one representative of each one of the areas of specialization. The decisions will be taken by absolute majority.

The decree also regulates the National Biosafety Council (CNBS), made up of 11 ministers, which will be activated by the CTNBio to decide on the socioeconomic convenience and opportuneness of the commercial release of GMOs or to take upon themselves a process for analysis and decision within the time limit of 30 days, counted from the technical evaluation of the commission. The council will also arbitrate appeals lodged by registration and supervision bodies and entities.

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