First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartegena Protocol (ICCP1)

Montpellier, FRANCE
11-15 Dec 2000

Première Réunion du Comité Intergouvernemental pour le Protocole de Cartegena


| Monday 11 | Tuesday 12 | Wednesday 13 | Thursday 14 | Friday 15 |
| Lundi 11 | Mardi 12 | Mercredi 13 | Jeudi 14 | Vendredi 15 |

Tuesday 12 December 2000

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Ethiopia, faces his peers after achieving the Nobel Prize alternative for his action of mobilizing developing countries in the control of GMOs and the preservation of biodiversity.  Tewolde was received by the Conseil General, Department Herault, France.

Earlier, delegates met in two working groups throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) discussed proposals on the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) and then started addressing handling, transport, packaging and identification. A contact group met in the afternoon to continue discussing the BCH. Working Group II (WG-II) finalized initial discussions on capacity building, decision-making procedures and compliance.

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Reception for Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher

Peers from the Cartegena Protocol delegations, CBD Secretariat, NGOs and civil society gathered to honor Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, recipient of the Nobel Prize alternate at the Department Herault, Consul General in Montpellier.  Opening addresses were given, followed by anecdotal comments of congratulations from the floor.

Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher poses for a picture with Christianne Aveline, French delegation, and ICCP Chair, Ambassador Philémon Yang (photo left).  

Above and below left, Tewolde shares his inspiration and encourages continued collaboration among Cartegena Protocol / CBD colleagues.

Tewolde shared his happiness with his colleagues, and encouraged continued progress in the spirit of collaboration and humanitarianism.

Information Session About Labeling

(left to right) David Hathaway, Brazil; moderator Katell Le Goulven, Solagral, France; François Pythoud, Switzerland; and Isabelle Hippolyte, CIRAD, France.

Solagral, a French NGO focused on international regulations on agriculture, environment and development, hosted a morning side-event about practical, political and scientific issues surrounding labeling. Panelists included consultant David Hathaway, Brazil, microbiologist Isabelle Hippolyte, CIRAD, Solagral, France; and François Pythoud, Swiss Delegation; alongside co-chairs Pierre Castella and Katell Le Goulven, Solagral.

David Hathaway noted the who, what, when, where, and how’s of labeling GMO/LMOs.  Salient issues include the need for public knowledge of the presence or involvement of GMO/LMOs in food production on the basis of making informed political/religio-spiritual/health decisions about consumption; policy options for governments in labeling positively (e.g. “this food contains GMO/LMO products”), negatively (e.g. “this food is GMO/LMO free”), or ambiguously (e.g. “this food may contain GMO/LMO products”); and that market forces and public consciousness can expedite policy development in some cases.

Isabelle Hippolyte presented scientific parameters of testing for GMO presence or involvement in food production: an antibody-antigene process test producing a chomotographic protein separation which can easily be compared with control group results from known organisms; and gene testing through amplification of gene reproduction, which can rely on comparative quantification of genetic sequencing of unknown and genetically-related known organisms.  Hippolyte noted that science can detect, quantify and analyze the presence of GMOs in any product and European policies exist which have quantified thresholds, but science is limited by lack of research and reference materials in this field,  and difficulty in identifying or quantifying highly diluted GMO levels, or GMOs in heavily produced products.

François Pythoud, Swiss Delegation, underscored the considerable progress made in the past two years bringing identification and labeling to the forefont, however work remains to be done on how to define GMOs.  Though there are many details to be ironed out, Pythoud assured that the existence of the Protocol was indicative of countries’ will and desire to continue discussing these issues.

The Information Systems of UNIDO and OECD

Peter Kearns, OECD, in front of the OECD/UNIDO kiosk outside Salle Pasteur.

Peter Kearns, Environment Directorate - Biotechnology, OECD, presented the BIO-BIN, a joint UNIDO/OECD project and common resource for harmonization in biotechnology.

BIO-BIN is a project of cooperation between OECD's BioTrack for OECD Member countries, and UNIDO's BINAS (Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service) which focuses on UN Member States and non-OECD Member countries; both of which are repositories for information on authorities, commercial releases and field trials of GMOs and documentation related to safety in biotechnology.

The information resource can be found at .


Sam Johnston, SCBD.

SCBD Strategic Plan for 2002-2010

Sam Johnston outlined SCBD's need to develop a Strategic Plan for the next decade, highlighting process timelines to formulate, draft, discuss, revise and prepare an initial Plan by next year.

Questions raised included the length, differentiating between the Plan and the LTPW, the main focus of the Plan, the overall purpose of the Plan and its relation to existing programmes of work, and the relationship it will have with the Protocol.

LMO Labeling in the Architecture of International Standards

The panel (left to right) St�phane Gu�neau, Solagral; Marijane Lisboa, Greenpeace International; Patrice Dauchet, Ministry of Finance and Industry, France; co-moderators Yannick Jadot and Katell Le Goulven, Solagral; Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, Head of Delegation, Ethiopia; Doaa Abdel Motaal, Trade and Environment Division, WTO; and Jo�o Magalh�es, Agriculture Division, WTO.

Tewolde Gebre Egzhiaber, Ethiopia, noted that the Protocol provides a basis for effective labeling of LMOs, including commodities, but it is not sufficient on its own. He noted the need for active government involvement to develop labeling standards at the national for contained use and transit as well as in the future under the Protocol for LMO commodities. He also noted that developing countries support labeling of all LMOs, because they have less capacity to deal with emergencies and their environment�s are more conducive to the survival of foreign organisms.

Doaa Abdel Motaal, Trade and Environment Division, WTO; and Jo�o Magalh�es, Agriculture Division, WTO.

Patrice Dauchet, French Ministry of Finance and Industry, reviewed the history of labeling in the EU and ongoing activities under the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Marijane Lisboa, Greenpeace International, highlighted activities at the WTO Ministerial in Seattle related to biotechnology and growing public concern over labeling and environmental and food safety. Jo�o Magalh�es and Doaa Abdel Motaal, World Trade Organization (WTO), discussed WTO disputes (Thailand vs. Egypt on tuna fish in GM soya oil) and the WTO�s Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) regarding questions of labeling and biotechnology. They also focused on issues of non-discrimination, like products and production and process methods. St�phane Gu�neau, SOLAGRAL, noted the importance of traceability and harmonizing standards, as well as the lack of a conflict resolution mechanism under the Protocol.

St�phane Gu�neau, Solagral; Marijane Isboa, Greenpeace; Patrice Dauchet, Ministry of Finance and Industry, France
During the discussion, participants mentioned inconsistencies in consideration by some Parties of LMOs as being unique for purposes of patenting but equivalent in terms of production and process methods. Other concerns raised included dumping of LMOs or questionable food items on countries without adequate risk assessment capacity and whether Protocol obligations for identification extend to consumer packaging for LMO-FFPs or are just intended for shipment containers for regulatory and import authorities.

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