A critical scientific review on South African governance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

  • F W
  • E J
  • J N
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Abstract

&nbsp;<br /><br />\tCredible governance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is essential because of public concerns in South Africa (SA) and internationally. In this preliminary study, the opinions of a number of scientists with experience and/or interest in GMO governance were determined by means of two questionnaires to determine their perceptions on the credibility of risk governance of GMOs in SA.&nbsp; The respondents felt &lsquo;some improvement&rsquo; was required in criteria related to good governance. Excellence (quality of risk assessment) and effectiveness, such as protracted regulatory processes needed &lsquo;some to much improvement&rsquo;. The responses were evaluated against an analysis of the South African GMO Act, regulations, policy guidelines and available information. The Act provides a pro-active basis for good governance comparable to internationally described risk governance models, but implementation seemed to follow the less advanced technocratic model. A number of reasons were identified such as unclear roles of decision makers. Some of the causes for protracted decision-making identified by respondents were: a) excessive precaution in decision making, and b) different mandates resulting in no unanimity among government departments. Proposals for improvement in credibility included communication as a critical component of risk governance and continued training of reviewers and decision makers.<br /><br />\t&nbsp;<br /><br />\tKey words:&nbsp;Genetically modified organisms, risk assessment, risk governance, South Africa.

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F, W. J. van R., E, J. M., & J, N. E. (2013). A critical scientific review on South African governance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). African Journal of Biotechnology, 12(32), 5010–5021. https://doi.org/10.5897/ajb12.2158

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