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The Fifth Meeting of the Open-ended
Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety

Montreal, 17-24 August 1998
BSWG Chair Viet Koester (Denmark), CBD Executive Secretary Calestous Juma, and UNEP Biodiversity Unit Chief  Hamdallah Zedan (representing the Executive director of UNEP) offer opening remarks to the BSWG- 5 today bswg501s.jpg (6130 bytes)
bswg502s.jpg (6130 bytes) Colombian delegates Adriana Sote and Ivan Artunduaga, following Colombia's offer to host BIOS-6
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Building, location of the fifth session of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety from 17 August to 28 August 1998 bswg503s.jpg (6130 bytes)

RealAudio recordings from the opening Plenary of BSWG-5
17 August 1998

Veit Koester welcomes delegates (simultaneous interpretation of comments in English)

Calestous Juma, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity counsels the participants on how to proceed in the negotiations of the Biosafety Protocol, announced that Colombia has offered to host the Sixth Session of the BSWG. He also communicated to the Working Group that he has not decided to renew his contract for personal reasons, particularly family considerations.

Koester noted his saddness his reaction to Dr. Juma's announcement and suggests that Dr. Juma would convey his thoughts on 28 August and when the body can express its appreciation to Dr. Juma.

Hamdallah Zedan, representative of the Executive Director of UNEP, expresses his best wishes for the negotiations. He announced the GEF UNEP joint biosafety program. He announced an industry-sponsored study tour of field studies of biotechnology products for delegates following this meeting.

The representative of Colombia presented the official invitation to host the Sixth meeting of the Working Group and the Extraordinary Conference of the Parties and will begin coordination with the Secretariat for this meeting.

Desmond Mahon of the CBD Secretariat introduced the documentation for the meeting.

Chair Veit Koester (Denmark) gave opening remarks including structure (interrelationships between sub-working groups and interaction between co-chairs, the mandate of the sub-working groups), comments on the revised compilation text, the balance between negotiating expediency and transparency including restrictive measures dealing with NGO participation, saying "you will do what you are asked to do." Koester also addressed the issue of "products thereof" (defined as the products from living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology) and the issue of scope.