The official tasks of the SBB are defined in the Cooperation Agreement on Biosafety of 25 April 1997.
Since the period 1993-1996, the three Regions have signed agreements with Sciensano tasking the SBB with carrying out an expertise mission in order to advise the regional authorities on the implementation of the two GMO Directives (currently Directives 2009/41/EC and 2001/18/EC), particularly regarding the compliance of notifications with the technical annexes of these Directives.
According to these agreements, the SBB advises the regional authorities in relation to the use of pathogens and GMOs under contained conditions (laboratories, greenhouses, animal facilities, large-scale units, hospital rooms).
The SBB is also in charge of the secretariat of the Belgian Biosafety Advisory Council. It provides ongoing administrative and scientific support to the Council in the frame of its scientific activities related to the risk assessment of applications concerning the environmental release of GMOs for field trials, clinical trials involving GMOs, and the commercial use of GMOs for agro-food or medical purpose.
The SBB also ensures under strict quality standards the archiving of biosafety dossiers, as well as the preservation and protection of confidential data.
Finally, the SBB ensures compliance with obligations imposed by European GMO regulations with regard to the exchange and transmission of information and reporting.
Broadly speaking, the SBB offers a permanent, responsive and reliable source of scientific support to the Federal and Regional Competent Authorities for all biosafety-related matters.