Program for Biosafety Systems


PBS is implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington DC. The program operates in a number of regions in Africa and Asia. East Africa is one of the beneficiaries where the focal countries are Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The purpose of the program is to facilitate select countries strengthen capacity to operate their biosafety systems efficiently and in accordance with national or regional policies and legal frameworks. The thrust of PBS is to foster Biosafety decisions making based on scientific facts and sustainable development strategies so as to support responsible development and safe use of agricultural biotechnology.

PBS is demand-driven and extends its support through four components: biosafety policy development and analysis of alternative models; Environmental Risk Assessment and Risk Management Research; Assistance with Regulatory Packages and Communication, Outreach and Capacity Building. IFPRI coordinates a dynamic consortium of international expertise from different institutions to take charge of these components.

PBS works with regional and national partners. Regionally the program collaborates with ASARECA, COMESA, BIOEARN and ISAAA. Within the individual countries the program links with a range of government and private organizations including councils of science and technology, agricultural research systems, crop inspection departments, ministry of health, national bureau of standards, universities and other bodies that may have a biosafety related responsibility. The program is guided by Country/Regional Advisory Groups that include mostly members of national biotechnology/ biosafety advisory committees.

The programme is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST)


Scientific advances and the resulting technological innovations are known to be the main drivers for economic growth and transformation. Uganda’s effort at achieving a higher economic growth rate is increasingly embracing Science and Technology to achieve a knowledge-based technology-led economy. To this end the government established the UNCST in 1990 as a semi-autonomous agency with the responsibility of developing and implementing strategies for integrating S&T into the national development process, providing advice to the government of Uganda on policy matters necessary for advancing S&T and, coordinating and guiding research and development (R&D) in Uganda.

UNCST's Vision

The vision of the UNCST is to be the center of excellence for the management and integration of science and technology in to the national development processes

UNCST's Mission

UNCST's mission is to provide effective and innovative leadership in the development, promotion and application of Science and Technology (S&T) and its integration in sustainable national development.

The Council is responsible for implementing the UNCST statute through its organs. The Executive Committee supports the Council in following up the Council’s resolutions through regular interfacing with the Council, Specialised Committees and the Secretariat.

The Specialized Committees, which include, agricultural sciences, industrial sciences, engineering and technology, natural sciences, physical sciences, health sciences, information sciences, social sciences and humanities, advise the Council on S&T policy matters in their respective sectors. In addition, there are other standing committees such as the HIV/AIDS Research Committee and the National Biosafety Committee NBC that are set up by the Council to undertake specialized work.

The NBC is the topmost technical body in the country responsible for the regulation of biotechnology. NBC has a responsibility to ensure transparency and public participation in executing their work. The NBC secretariat based at the Council is linking with the Program for Biosafety System in providing this Biovision website as one of the means to reach out on issues of biotechnology and biosafety.