This paper examines and explains the events, processes and institutions that have influenced the form biotechnology policy has taken in Zimbabwe. It focuses on three areas. Firstly, it looks at the national policy framework, identifying key development and economic policies and in particular considering the implications of policy on food security and development. The policy frameworks for environmental management, especially risk assessment and access to genetic resources, are considered, together with the legal framework in which policy initiatives take place.
Secondly, the paper identifies the predominant perspectives that frame debates on biotechnology. These include the issue of food security, biosafety, access to genetic resources, Zimbabwe’s economic strategies and its dependence on export markets. Broadly these debates reflect positions and approaches that have emerged around the world. Additionally, perspectives on institutions, accountability and representation are considered as they have influenced the current institutional systems for regulation.
Thirdly, the paper identifies the positions that key actors have taken and the actor-networks that have emerged. It considers how these have influenced the policy process, particularly in the areas of access to genetic resources and intellectual property rights, the elaboration of research priorities and biosafety governance.
The paper identifies sixteen specific factors which influence and shape the context for biotechnology and the associated policies in Zimbabwe.
Background Paper, Biotechnology and the Policy Process in Developing Countries project.