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 |

Wednesday 13 December 2000

Delegates to the first Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) met in working and informal groups throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) and its contact group considered the pilot phase of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) during morning, afternoon and evening sessions. WG-I also discussed handling, transport, packaging and identification in an afternoon session. Working Group II (WG-II) met briefly in the morning to review a summary on capacity building. A contact group then discussed the roster of experts in association with capacity building, and an informal working group met in the afternoon to discuss compliance. An afternoon Plenary reviewed progress in the Working Groups.

As the ICCP-1 meeting reached mid-week, many delegates noted their general satisfaction with the rate of progress. Most appreciated the meeting’s relaxed and congenial mood, compared to the fractious nature of previous biosafety meetings. Some, however, expressed concern about proliferating suggestions for intersessional meetings and forwarding issues for further consideration to ICCP-2, which already has a substantial agenda.

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  ENB Daily Report (English)
(BNT (Francais)

Soligral Round Table : Liability and Conflict Settlement

Christoph Bail noted the complexity of the issue, in relation with the determination of causality assessment, type of damage, type of responsibility, conflict of laws in case of transboundary damage. He highlighted the European Commission�s White Paper on Environmental Liability, and outlined options for a liability regime in the EU, including adherence to the Council of Europe Lugano Convention on Civil Liability from Damage resulting from Activities Dangerous to the Environment (not yet in force) or address of transboundary damages only. He said a fund could be formed, financed by biotechnology companies, to address possible hazards.

(left to right) co-moderator Sarah Mongruel, Solagral; Christoph Bail, European Commission; Phil Bereano, Council for Responsible Genetics; Ambassador Phil�mon Yang, ICCP Chair.

Phil Bereano used the Starlink case as an illustration of the problem of government negligence and malfeasance, emphasizing that it was not industry or government, but consumers, who discovered that genetically modified corn was present in taco shells recently found in US supermarkets. Noting the identical patterns of non-regulation, indiscriminate distribution and non-identification of GMOs, he advocated redress and compensation, encouraging importers to insist that the perpetrators of harm be given the burden of costs of testing, segregating and recalling products such as the Starlink corn, which have not been approved for human consumption.

(left to right) Phil Bereano, Council for Responsible Genetics; Ambassador Phil�mon Yang; co-moderator Yannick Jadot, Solagral; Willy de Greef, Syrgentia, and Gurdial Singh Nijar, Third World Network.

Ambassador Phil�mon Yang said the questions on the issue are precise, while the answers are difficult to find. He highlighted the common law and civil law national liability regimes, and posed the issues of the concept and kind of damage, identification of the responsible person, type of responsibility, possibilities for redress and insurance. On developing countries he noted the legislative gap and urged for consideration of the issues.

Willy de Greef, Syrgentia, urged the ICCP to encourage increased interaction between the technical expert community on biosafety and the political community on biosafety in creating framework conditions to construct a liability regime and define what constitutes damage and harm in the impacts of GMOs.

GEF / UNEP Biosafety Project

(clockwise from top left) Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary; Ahmed Djoghlaf, UNEP GEF Coordination Office, Kenya; Avani Vaish, GEF; and Julian Kinderlerer, UNEP.

Hamdallah Zedan noted that there is a lack of capacity to implement environmental agreements in developing countries. As such, he noted two components of the GEF/UNEP biosafety project which were important: the organization of regional and sub-regional workshops as a way to exchange information and identify common needs; and national activities whereupon countries can identify capacity building needs and formulate national frameworks.

Julian Kinderlerer, UNEP, gave a general overview of the GEF/UNEP Pilot Biosafety Enabling Activity Project, citing that the overall objective was to assist countries to prepare biosafety frameworks prior to the entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol. Recognizing the crucial need to ensure that basic systems needed to implement the Protocol were in place, the GEF/UNEP project was established to encompass needs identification, capacity building, participatory processes and information dissemination at national levels; and information sharing, international cooperation and harmonization of activities at regional and sub-regional levels. Kinderlerer emphasized the project�s country-driven approach which requires substantial stakeholder and public involvement.

Responding to discussion around the suggestion for synthesizing UNEP/GEF learning about challenges faced, or the possibility of hosting meetings to share experiences, Ahmed Djoghlaf, UNEP GEF Co-ordination Office, emphasized that the countries themselves have gained the most experience through this project. Djoghlaf also noted that while many countries may be very competent at their national levels, they often lack resources to be effective elsewhere, so it will be up to the countries to define the nature of the framework.

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