The following background highlights the process of enabling a biosafety framework in Kenya. In November 1996 the Convention on Biological Diversity herein referred to as CBD decided that the Global Environment Facility herein referred to as GEF as a funding mechanism shall provide financial resources for developing countries for capacity building in Biosafety.
In November 1997 the 10th GEF Council approved the first pilot biosafety project in Kenya where 18 countries were also involved. This project was to assist Kenya prepare or develop a National Biosafety Framework and facilitate exchange of experiences at regional levels.
In 1998, the National Council for Science and Technology produced the first regulations and guidelines for safe applications in biotechnology, which provided a base for the establishment of the National Biosafety Committee and Institutional Biosafety committees which are competent authorities for handling biotechnology product requests on behalf of the National Council for Science and Technology.
In 1999, under the framework of the UNEP/GEF Biosafety Enabling Activity, a National Biosafety Framework was developed based on an assessment of the status of biotechnology and biosafety in the country. On 29 January 2000 the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted and entered into force on 11 September 2003. Kenya signed the Protocol in May 2000 and as of May 2011, 160 countries and the European Union had ratified or acceded to the Protocol.
Kenya has implemented the National Biosafety Framework in line with the Cartagena Protocol by establishing a sustainable and effective biosafety management system, strengthening capacity building and national infrastructure as needed for LMOs import/export, handling, transport and release in the country.
The National Biosafety Framework has been effectively established by the Biosafety Act, 2009 and the implementation of the national biosafety regulations and guidelines for safe applications in biotechnology. The biosafety clearing house (BCH) mechanism has also been set up in accordance with the requirements of the Cartagena Protocol and other international obligations to which Kenya is a signatory. In addition, Kenya Biotechnology Policy was approved on 28th September 2006.