Jun 8, 2011

Workshop on Biosafety Risk Communication.

The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGBE) in collaboration with the Faculty of Agriculture and Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC) is holding a 3 day workshop on Biosafety Risk Communication from 8-10 June 2011 at Gold Crest Hotel, Quatre Bornes. The opening ceremony was launched on 8 June 2011 and was attended by the Hon R. Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, science and Research and Technology, the rep of Minister of AgroIndustry and Food Security, Dr D. Dumur the Vice Chancellor of the University Prof K. Morgan, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Assoc Prof M. Driver, the Director of FARC, Mr Jairay Ramkisson and Assoc Prof D. Puchooa the local organiser of the workshop.
The workshop has drawn several participants from several parts of the world to share their experiences on biosafety issues.

The rationale of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for various stakeholders to interact and share their experiences regarding risk communication strategies and activities in sub-Saharan Africa. The workshop also presents an opportunity to share past experiences regarding how challenges faced in risk communication were overcome (or not) in various countries. Additionally, it is intended to open a dialogue between the various involved stakeholders (researchers/developers, capacity builders, regulators, decision-makers, etc.) and to stimulate discussion towards the identification of key issues required in effective risk communication strategies for SSA. Ultimately it is hoped that this will lead to the identification of effective risk communication strategies, which could be used to better focus risk communication training programmes and could also guide relevant stakeholders in designing and carrying out biosafety risk communication programmes. Finally, it is expected that the presentations and discussions will be sufficiently condensed and summarised as to create a manuscript suitable for publishing, to thus share the workshop outcomes with the wider stakeholder community.

Objectives and expected outcomes
· To identify current practices in biosafety risk communication in SSA
· To identify elements of risk communication strategies adopted in various countries found to be effective at building public trust and knowledge (What worked, what did not work and best practices
· To identify the main risk communication challenges faced by product developers, regulators and capacity builders
· To discuss how to overcome the various risk communication challenges
· To make the output of the workshop available for wider dissemination.
· To identify prevailing training needs in the area of risk communication based on the experience of the present stakeholders

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