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The Contested Framing of Biosafety Regulation as a Tool for Enhancing Public Awareness: Insights from the Kenyan regulatory process and bioAWARE strategy

Kingiri, A

International Journal of Technology and Development Studies   2 (1) 64-86

January 2011

Innovations in modern biotechnology have governance issues that demand appropriate regulation. Regulation is therefore a tool for managing some of the controversies but there are various interpretations on how this may be achieved. In this paper, I seek to provide an overview of how the recently approved Kenyan public awareness strategy for biotechnology (BioAWARE strategy) might best approach its future developmental objectives through developing an understanding of what biotechnology regulation means to different implementing stakeholders. As such, it seeks to highlight that programmes such as BioAWARE need to avoid simplifying the consultation process to one by which scientists present science to the public without recognition of its social significance. I recommend that instead the governance actors involved should see such social values as integral to the development of, and implementation of regulations, rather than an afterthought. The intention is not to de‐rail the science progress, but highlight that it cannot be assumed that either more science will inevitably lead to conformity, or that social values are inevitably anti‐science.