André Rosado and Wendy Craig
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Italy

The development of a legal framework and the establishment of an administrative system are two fundamental elements when building a biosafety regulatory system. Further, the ability to process applications and make decisions concerning the various uses of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are good indicators of an operational biosafety regulatory system. This study provides an update of the progress made by Latin American and Caribbean countries in the establishment of their biosafety regulatory systems, and focuses especially on the regulation of four key types of GMO use (e.g., contained use, confined use, unconfined use, and importation of GMOs or their derived products for food, feed, or processing purposes). It demonstrates that nine countries have operational biosafety regulatory systems with experience in all four types. The majority of countries, however, have little experience regulating GMOs. In fact, our study highlights common capacity deficiencies of these countries, upon which future assistance can be targeted.

Key words: Administrative system, biosafety regulatory system, capacity building, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC region), legal framework.