The National Biosafety Authority (NBA) was established by the Biosafety Act, 2011 (Act 831) to receive, process, respond to and making decisions on applications on modern biotechnology activities in the country; to establish an administrative mechanism to ensure the appropriate handling and storage of documents and data in connection with applications and other matters covered under the Act. Again, to act as the National Focal Point responsible for liaising with any other agencies or international organizations concerned with biotechnology and biosafety and lastly to promote public awareness, participation and education concerning the activities of the Authority under the Act.
To ensure an integrated approach to the regulation of modern biotechnology and its products, the Act enjoins the Authority to operate in conjunction with other regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Veterinary Division, the Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Division (PPRSD) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. In addition, the Authority is represented by certified Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) in research and academic institutions conducting research on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Ghana. The Act has also established a Technical Advisory Committee to support the Authority in conducting risk assessment and management of GMOs and also to provide scientific advice to the Authority on issues under the Act. Furthermore, the Authority is supported by an Appeals Tribunal which deals with concerns of aggrieved persons on issues regarding applications and other matters under the Act.
The mandate of the Authority focuses on ensuring protection from Genetically Modified Organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effect on health and the environment. The Act again allows a variety of permissions that enable people to handle or work with Genetically Modified Organism. These include, contained use, confined field trials, environmental releases, commercial releases and transit. Accordingly, the NBA makes decisions based on scientific evidence, whether or not to allow the use of GMOs in any of the fields stated above and the terms and conditions that should accompany the permits to ensure compliance and safe use of GMOs.
Efficiency, transparency and participation are the bedrocks of the Authority. Therefore, in accordance with the Act, the Authority gazettes decisions made on contained use and confined field trial applications and also notifies the public through the gazette and print and electronic media regarding receipt of applications on environmental and commercial releases of GMOs. These principles enable the Authority to consult widely before making decisions on environmental and commercial releases and also to publish the details of the decisions, allow public access to documents and keep public records on approved GMOs.
Vision: To excel as a modern biotechnology regulator trusted and respected by Ghanaians and the international community
Mission: Dedicated to promoting sustainable socio-economic development through efficient and transparent biosafety of GMOs.