ETHIOPIA – Ethiopian biotechnology stakeholders are holding Genome Editing Communication Strategy and Implementation Plan Validation Workshop in Addis Ababa.
The participates who are drawn from the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETin) , Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), pertinent Universities, the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) , the media are in attendance in the two-day workshop organized by BETin in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD.
The workshop organization is meant to collect inputs on the Final Draft Communication strategy and mapping its implementation plan which are expected to be validated soon.
Opening the validation workshop today in Addis Ababa, General Director of Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETin) Dr. Kassahun Tesfaye indicated : “These 2 day validation workshop is organized to collect input on the Final Draft Communication strategy and enrich it with comments from various stakeholders.”
Dr. Kassahun said that communication is considered as one of the several key variables that needed to create an enabling environment for biotechnology development in Ethiopia.
“Moreover, efforts to encourage stakeholders to participate in evidence based discussions coupled with awareness raising activities should be given due emphasis at all levels. To do this; a clear communication and advocacy strategy accompanied with plan of action and good science are critical to ensure gene editing technology communicated properly to the general public,” the General Director explained why the communication strategy is prepared.
Dr. kassahun who underscores that Genome Editing is now an emerging technology across the world and in the door steps of every nation , pointed out that unless appropriate communication strategy and guidelines put in place, the biotechnology community in Ethiopia could face challenges like they have experienced such media controversies related to GM crops earlier.
Mrs. Florence Narare, Acting Director of Knowledge Management Program of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) on her part said that participants have made an encouraging strides so far exerted to formulate the strategy and said that she is optimistic that it will be finalized soon and facilitate level playing field for the Genome editing technology development.
She also expressed her conviction that the validation process will be successful and extended her appreciation to all participants in general and the Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETin) in particular for the organization of the workshop.
It is to be recalled that BETin) and AUDA-NEPAD have been collaborating to initiate and draft the Genome Editing Strategy and development of similar strategies are also underway in other African countries with the support of NEPAD.