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Resumed Session on the First Extraordinary Meeting of the Convention of the Parties (ExCOP) to Finalize and Adopt a Protocol on Biosafety

Montreal, CANADA; 24 - 28 January 2000


Mayr encourages support for the protocol at the Ministerial reception.

Thursday 27 January : 

At present, there is little indication that consensus will be achieved in order to adopt a protocol by the end of the week.  Ministerial participation has not resolved issues surrounding Article 31 (Relationships with Other International Agreements), Article 22 (Non-discrimination) and Article 8.7 (precautionary principle).  However, in the roundtable "Vienna setting" this afternoon, delegates joined and raised their hands in a gesture of solidarity.

On Wednesday 26 January, over 40 national environmental ministers met at a private reception hosted by Juan Mayr, ExCOP President, at the St. James Club.  Mayr's Ministerial Address encouraged their political support in helping delegations resolve outstanding issues and in making decisions.  While underscoring the value of consensus agreement at a press conference held that afternoon with Klaus T�pfer, UNEP Executive Director, Mayr noted that the Ministerial presence was indicative of political will to support this protocol.

 Juan Mayr's press conference on Ministerial support.

Plenary reconvened after the Ministerial Dinner last night at 11:20 p.m.

Hon. David Anderson, [left] Canadian Environment Minister, attended the dinner and delivered a speech stating that, 

"...we are here to adopt a protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity and, in doing so, to protect biodiversity from the possible adverse impacts of transboundary movement of living modified organisms.  We are here to see these negotiations through to a successful conclusion in the next 48 hours.  We need an agreement that is practical and works to protect biodiversity.  The agreement will not work if it can not be effectively implemented - either due to the complexity of the rules or due to the lack of capacity of Parties to implement those rules.  All of us are well aware of the significance of what we are creating through this biosafety protocol. This is the most important attempt by the global community to genuinely reconcile environmental and trade interests.  The world is watching us and history will certainly judge us.  I agree that we cannot afford to start off this new millennium without a biosafety protocol and run the risk of undermining the integrity of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  Mr. Mayr, you have done a masterful job in bringing us all to this point.  I commend you for your leadership and I am sure others join me in offering our personal support to you in the hours and days ahead."


David B. Sandalow [above] Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment, and Science and Head of the US Delegation.

Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and Science, David B. Sandalow, has acknowledged that the United States stressed biotechnology's benefits as well as its risks.  The US believes the protocol to be "an effective international regime" for regulating biotechnology around the world, and hence managing the risks and benefits of biotechnology.

Consul General de Colombia, Sr. Avella [left] shakes hands with Canadian Minister of the Environment, Hon. David Anderson [right], as the Minister from Portugal looks on.

Convention on Biodiversity Homepage [CBD]
CBD Secretariat page for the Resumed ExCOP
Clearing House Mechanism [CHM]
EXCOP Documents : UNEP's pre-session documents
ENB Briefing Note from Sept. 99 Informal Consultations
ENB Coverage of Cartagena (BSWG-6)
ENB Coverage of BSWG-5, BSWG-4, BSWG-3, BSWG-2, BSWG-1

Convention on Biodiversity Homepage [CBD]
CBD Secretariat page for the Resumed ExCOP

This page was last updated 01/18/2002 16:47:18 -0600
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