Second Meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Liability and Redress under the Biosafety Protocol

20-24 February 2006 | Montreal, Canada


ENB Summary






Daily web coverage: 20 February - 21 February - 22 February - 23 February - 24 February

Highlights for Monday, 20 February 2006

The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on liability and redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety opened in Montreal, Canada, on Monday, 20 February 2006. In the morning and afternoon sessions, delegates convened in the Plenary to consider the review of information and analysis of issues and elaboration of options for elements of rules and procedures referred to in Biosafety Protocol Article 27, including effectiveness criteria; functional scope and geographical scope; and the definition of damage.

Above photo L-R: The dais in consultation during the morning plenary with Dan Ogolla (CBD) Co-Chair Ren Lefeber (The Netherlands), Co-Chair Jimena Nieto (Colombia), Worku Damena (CBD) and Rapporteur Maria Mbengashe (South Africa)


On Monday morning, Co-Chair Jimena Nieto (Colombia) opened the 2nd meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on liability and redress in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, hoping that the meeting would be able to report good progress to MOP3.

Olivier Jalbert, speaking on behalf of Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, highlighted that the Working Group is addressing novel aspects of liability and redress and its deliberations can make an important contribution to international law.

Anne Daniel (Canada) reported on the meeting of the group of legal and technical experts on liability and redress in the context of article 14.2 of CBD, held in October 2005, in Montreal, Canada.


Delegates considered effectiveness criteria for any rules and procedures referred to in Protocol Article 27.

New Zealand, stressed the need for agreement on effectiveness criteria to be put forward at MOP3.

Above photo: Sarah Wynn-Williams (New Zealand)
The US said useful criteria for analyzing effectiveness might include: clear understanding of the type and scope of activities covered; clear definition of the scope of damage covered; easy national implementation of rules and procedures; incentives that ensure cautious and carefully managed transboundary movements; and liability assigned to individuals causing harm.

Above photo: JP Passino (US)
Austria, on behalf of the European Union (EU), said developing a liability regime should be a two-stage process, noting that a non-binding instrument could be developed, which, after review, could be followed by a legally binding instrument.

Above photo: Thomas Loidl (Austria on behalf of the EU)

Switzerland, noted a liability regime is effective when enforced but not needed, and said the proposed two-stage process must be resolved at the outset.

Above photo: Jrg Bally (Switzerland)

Senegal said the liability regime should be legally binding.

Above photo: Papa Msa Dieng (Senegal)

Brazil said that effectiveness criteria should include preventive measures.

Above photo: Marcela Nicodemos (Brazil)

Australia said that criteria must be supported by a significant number of Parties. 

Above photo: Julie Dowdle (Australia)

Global Industry Coalition emphasized that damage must be clearly defined.

Above photo: Doris Ponzoni (Global Industry Coalition)

Greenpeace International said elements for effectiveness criteria should include broad definition of scope, a back-up fund, clear rules on burden of proof and standing, and rules and procedure on compensation beyond national jurisdiction.

Above photo: Duncan Currie (Greenpeace International)


Participants addressed the functional scope of damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms based on the co-chairs’ synthesis of proposed texts and views on approaches, options and issues identified pertaining to liability and redress in the context of Protocol Article 27.

Burkina Faso with others supported the broader option to include damage resulting from transport, transit, handling and/or use of LMOs that finds its origin in transboundary movements, as well as unintentional transboundary movements of LMOs.

Above photo: Zourata Lompo Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso)

Canada highlighted that the functional scope should be consistent with Article 27 and only cover damage resulting from transport of LMOs, including transit. 

Above photo: Desmond Mahon (Canada)


Participants also considered optional components for geographical scope focusing on three options identified in the co-chairs’ synthesis: damage caused in areas within the limits of national jurisdiction or control of Parties; damage caused in areas within the limits of national jurisdiction or control of non-Parties; and damage caused in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction or control of States.

Palau proposed retaining the option on damage caused in areas within the limits of national jurisdiction or control of non-Parties, emphasizing that also non-Parties must handle LMO shipments with care.

Above photo: Jeffrey Beattie (Palau)

Norway cautioned that this might discourage non-Parties from ratifying the Protocol.

Above photo: Beate Bergluno Ekeberg (Norway)

Co-Chair Ren Lefeber (the Netherlands ) asked States supporting option of "control of non-Parties" to consider how this option could be implemented, in particular who could present claims on behalf of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

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Daily web coverage: 20 February - 21 February - 22 February - 23 February - 24 February

Related links

CBD Secretariat
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety Web page
WGLR-2 documents
FAO CGRFA Website 
UNIDO Biosafety Information Network Advisory Network (BINAS)
Greenpeace International
Third World Network - Biosafety Information Network

Links to ENB/YMB coverage

ENB coverage of WGLR-1
ENB coverage of COP-7
ENB coverage of ABS-4
ENB coverage of WG-4 on Article 8(j) and related provisions of the CBD
ENB coverage of the Second Meeting of the CGRFA acting as the Interim Commitee for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
IISD Linkages Biodiversity and Wildlife Recent Meetings


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