ECOWAS intensifies efforts to ensure biosafety in West Africa

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has intensified efforts to ensure biosafety as the preliminary draft regulations on biosafety in West Africa have been validated by the ECOWAS Ministers. This is in order to address the challenges related to the use of modern biotechnologies and their potential impacts on the environment, human and animal health and socio-economic and food security in the region.

This was the crux of the meeting of the representatives of the Ministers at the weekend in Abuja, Nigeria, where they called on Member States to effectively implement the regulations when adopted by the ECOWAS Parliament and the statutory Council of Ministers.

Furthermore they urged the ECOWAS Commission to collaborate with Member states and other regional organizations to develop information mechanisms on the regulations and contribute towards the mobilisation of funds necessary for its implementation.

Speaking during the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Sékou Sangaré reiterated the Commission’s commitment to strengthen institutional, technical and human capacities and cooperate with other sub regional and international organizations to promote the effective implementation of the regulations.

In the same vein Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, stated that the biosafety regulations for West Africa will assist less competent Member States through capacity development and sharing of ideas and knowledge in line with Article 22 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB).

The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ibukun Odusote, noted further that the (CPB) “enjoins parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to cooperate in the development and/or strengthening of human resources and institutional capacities in biosafety, including biotechnology to the extent that it is required for biosafety, for the purpose of the effective implementation of the protocol, in … Read More...

Single currency: ECOWAS Task Force to present assessment report in June

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The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou has disclosed that the ECOWAS Task Force on the region’s  proposed single currency would meet in June to give the assessment on the studies of the currency.
Brou made this known while presenting the Community Work Programme at the ongoing  First Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Friday, stressing  that critical stakeholders in the region’s economic and finance sectors, including the central banks and ministers of finance, had been brainstorming on the modalities  for the  single currency.
“The single currency is a topic that is very important because it completes the free movement of persons for a single market and if there is a single currency, one can carry out trade and there is a need for harmonisation.
 “Deliberations are being carried out with the central banks and the ministers of finance in the region and some key issues are being discussed.
“Issues such as the convergence criteria, the best exchange regime to adopt with challenges and costs are involved so as to give the best conditions for the community.
“The studies that are being carried out would be completed by next month so that we can have the proposals and make progress,” he added.
The Ivorian President of the  ECOWAS Commission said further that next month’s meeting will determine the possibility of achieving the single currency by 2020 set by the Authority of Heads of State of the ECOWAS countries.
“It will be on the basis of the results of all the studies on the assessment that is currently being done that we will see where we stand exactly but the objectives have been set by the Heads of State,” he said.
The issue of the