National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2009-02-24 14:04 UTC (andrew.bowers@cbd.int)
Date of last update
2010-02-02 09:30 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2010-02-02 09:30 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
Capacity building of regulatory agencies for handling and monitoring genetically modified crops, products and processed food (Croatia)
Website address
Contact person
Dr. Andrea Sonnino
Senior Agricultural Research Officer
Research and Technology Development Service
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome
Phone:+39 65 705 5499
Fax:+39 65 705 3801
Url:FAO - Research and Technology Development (SDRR) - Biotechnology and biosafety
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Croatia
  • Europe - All countries
Type of initiative
Start Date
Ending date
Donor(s) information
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) - Biotechnology
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Italy, 00153
Phone:+39 (0) 6 57051
Fax:+39 (0) 6 570 53152
Url:Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) - Biotechnology
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Type of Organization: UN Agency
Budget information
Activity details
Description of the initiative
In the agriculture sector, the Government of Croatia has decided to keep the country free of Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) and has a national law regulating the issue of import and production of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, crops and products which was adopted by the Croatian Parliament in 2005. This law contains provision for introduction and experimentation with GM breeding material as well as production and distribution of seed of GM varieties of plants. The import of food and other products containing components issued from GM plant varieties are not going to be allowed.  A threshold level of 0.9 percent GMO will be exercised for distribution, in conformity with the EU legislation mainly for food products derived from GM varieties of soybean, maize, rape seed and cotton. The law provides for provisions under which the GM varieties and products could be used in the country, thus enabling the coexistence of different patterns of agricultural production: traditional, organic or eco-farming, and production of GM crops. 

In this regard, Croatia is keen to establish an effective framework for biosafety, including monitoring of GM products, in order to enable the proper enforcement of the relevant laws and regulatory acts.

However, the government agencies are not yet fully equipped and the regulatory personnel do not have adequate capacity to evaluate, monitor and assist in decision making regarding the products of biotechnology. Insufficient infrastructure in the institutions and regulatory agencies does not allow the inspection agencies to fully evaluate and monitor the presence of GM material.

There is a growing need to establish adequate institutional structures, including equipment of laboratories and training of national staff to enable full implementation of the national legislations    
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
The overall objective of the TCP is to assist the Government of Croatia in building overall human and infrastructural capacity within the principal regulatory bodies ISS, AIO, CIPH, CFA, and SIPN to efficiently and effectively carry out risk assessments and monitoring of various GM products of biotechnology and/or living modified organisms as foreseen in the Cartagena Protocol. This capacity building will enable the regulatory agencies to ensure coexistence and be of greater technical and advisory assistance to the SIPN and build effective collaboration among themselves in biosafety-related emerging matters.

The immediate objectives will be to:

• enhance technical resource and capacity within the national regulatory agencies to carry out and oversee technical and support functions in biosafety and upgrade the capability of national regulatory agencies to deal with the practical and technical aspects of biosafety;

• conduct a study on coexistence of cultivation of GM crops, organically grown crops and conventional agriculture, taking into account Croatia's legislations and agriculture and economic objectives;

• strengthen infrastructure and laboratory facilities of regulatory agencies to provide greater capacity to detect and handle GM products and provide assistance in either establishing or facilitating co-sharing arrangements of containment facilities;

• facilitate and enhance acquisition of and information exchange on GM crops, products, biosafety and coexistence as pertinent to Croatia and the region, including promoting partnerships and cooperation for effective collaboration and linkages among national agencies, research laboratories, donors, and other stakeholders at the national and regional level.

The overall output will be an established technical capacity of regulatory agencies of Croatia (through technical training assistance to ISS, AIO, CIPH, CFA, and SIPN) to develop inspection and monitoring capacity for GM products. One of the major goals will be to integrate hands-on work experience of technical personnel as well as advance and strengthen the partnerships of the regulatory agencies with available expertise in biotechnology within the country and in the region. Detailed outputs of the project will be the following:

• thirty persons trained in all aspects related to biosafety. The trainees will be from SIPN, staff of the MAFWM and other ministries, plant quarantine officials and research officers of ISS, AIO, CIPH, CFA, and SIPN and other national stakeholders;

• five regulatory inspectors from ISS, AIO, CIPH, CFA, and SIPN trained in advanced techniques and use of equipment for GM detection and quantification, through a study tour to one of the following institutions abroad: the National Institute for Agriculture and Quality Control, Budapest, Hungary, or the Agency for Health and Food Safety, Federal Office for Food Safety, Vienna, Austria or the Agricultural Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia (to be decided later);

• fifteen regulatory officers and technicians from ISS, AIO, CIPH, CFA and SIPN trained in basic principles and practical techniques of molecular biology, which are central to the GM seed detection through leading technical agencies such as the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). The technical information from the training and on biosafety aspects will be disseminated to all stakeholders;

• a publication of a 'Study on Coexistence in Crop Cultivation in Croatia' taking into account the current practice in cultivation of GM crops and organically grown crops with conventional agriculture, existing national legislations, agricultural and economic objectives. The study will develop a framework for coexistence of agricultural production to be presented to the national government;

• limited amount of laboratory equipment provided and collaborative user agreements developed with institutions in the region that already possess state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment. A key element would be the purchase of an advanced PCR machine to be housed at the ISS;

• partnerships and possibilities for expanding capacity building in technical aspects and in other areas with stakeholders identified.
General thematic area(s)
  • Institutional capacity
  • Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration at subregional, regional and international levels
  • LMO use and transboundary movement