Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 9 No. 286
Wednesday, 25 February 2004
TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2004
Delegates to the first meeting of the Conference
of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on
Biosafety (COP/MOP-1) convened in working groups throughout the day.
Working Group I (WG-I) discussed handling, transport, packaging and
identification of living modified organisms (LMOs) (Article 18), and
other issues for implementation. Working Group II (WG-II) considered
compliance, and liability and redress. A brief Plenary was held in
the afternoon to review progress, and hear statements. Contact
groups on documentation of LMOs for food, feed and processing (LMO-FFPs),
compliance and the budget also met.
WORKING GROUP I
HANDLING, TRANSPORT, PACKAGING AND
IDENTIFICATION: The Secretariat introduced relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/7
Documentation for LMO-FFPs (Article 18.2(a)):
Uganda, for the AFRICAN GROUP, INDIA, BANGLADESH, TURKEY, VANUATU,
VENEZUELA, CHINA and PERU expressed support for stand alone
documentation to accompany transboundary movements of LMO-FFPs,
while BRAZIL, MEXICO, JAPAN, CUBA, URUGUAY, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA,
CANADA, CHILE, and the INTERNATIONAL GRAIN TRADE COALITION (IGTC)
favored a commercial invoice. NORWAY presented its template for
stand alone documentation. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC) stressed the
need to use unique identifiers in accordance with internationally
agreed standards, and prioritized specific identification of
INDIA, BRAZIL, MEXICO, CUBA and BURKINA FASO
supported using the last exporter and first importer, or any other
appropriate authority, as contact points for information. IRAN,
ARGENTINA, URUGUAY and the IGTC opposed using any other appropriate
authority as contact points.
Many delegates supported establishing an
open-ended working group. ARGENTINA said the working group should
have balanced participation between importers and exporters from
developed and developing countries, and TURKEY stated it should
develop a template for stand alone documentation.
ETHIOPIA and BURKINA FASO said exporters of
LMO-FFPs should be required, instead of encouraged, to declare that
a shipment contains LMO-FFPs. LIBERIA noted that countries can apply
stricter measures than provided for by the Protocol. The US
cautioned against documentation requirements disrupting trade.
Delegates established a contact group, co-chaired
by Veena Chhotray (India) and Eric Schoonejans (France).
Documentation for LMOs destined for contained use
or for intentional introduction into the environment (Article
18.2(b) and (c)): The AFRICAN GROUP, INDIA, NORWAY, IRAN, OMAN
and Ireland, for the EU and Acceding Countries (EU), supported stand
alone documentation. CANADA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND
supported using existing documentation. ARGENTINA favored commercial
invoices, and BRAZIL and MEXICO proposed using commercial invoices
or other documentation.
SWITZERLAND suggested sharing views on a template
for integrating information requirements into existing
documentation. UGANDA supported using the Norwegian draft template
as a basis for stand alone documentation. The EC called for specific
identification of LMOs for contained use, using scientific and
commercial names, and identifying them as new or modified traits.
CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL urged Parties to use
stand alone documentation. The OECD outlined its seed certification
Unique identification systems: MEXICO
supported using the OECD identification system. BRAZIL and the
AFRICAN GROUP called for allowing use of other systems, with the
AFRICAN GROUP, MALAYSIA and URUGUAY, suggesting that the working
group analyze existing systems and advise the COP/MOP on their
suitability. The EU and NORWAY proposed developing a register under
the Biosafety Clearing-house (BCH) on the basis of the OECD system.
CANADA suggested addressing unique identifiers in the context of the
BCH. AUSTRALIA recommended assessing experience in implementing the
Protocol to determine requirements of a unique identification
The INTERNATIONAL SEED FEDERATION and the GLOBAL
INDUSTRY COALITION suggested developing a register of unique
identification codes for biotechnology products approved for
OTHER ISSUES: The Secretariat introduced a
document on other issues for effective implementation of the
Protocol (UNEP/ CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/13).
The EU, BULGARIA, ROMANIA and NORWAY proposed
addressing risk assessment and risk management.
Opposed by the EU, MEXICO, the UKRAINE and
CANADA, TANZANIA supported establishing a permanent subsidiary body
to deal with scientific and technical issues relating to the
Regarding transboundary movements of LMOs between
Parties and non-Parties, the EU and the AFRICAN GROUP said the draft
decision should encourage non-Parties to ratify the Protocol, and
include language ensuring that risk assessment is carried out.
WORKING GROUP II
COMPLIANCE: The Secretariat introduced
relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/8 and INF/4). The EU and
others emphasized that the procedures must be non-judicial and of a
Opposed by the EU and the US, Cameroon, for the
AFRICAN GROUP, and others, supported a reference to the Rio
Principle on common but differentiated responsibilities.
IRAN, ECUADOR, COLOMBIA, INDIA and TONGA
suggested deleting text stating that compliance committee members
shall serve in their individual capacity. The EU, JAPAN, MALAYSIA,
PERU and CHINA opposed. The US and CANADA proposed that members
serve objectively and in the Protocol’s best interests.
JAPAN, the AFRICAN GROUP, the EU and others
requested, and COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, SWITZERLAND and TONGA opposed,
deleting a reference to balanced representation of importing and
exporting countries in the committee. BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, MEXICO,
VENEZUELA and CANADA proposed that the committee consist of four
members from each regional group.
While BRAZIL opposed, the AFRICAN GROUP,
SWITZERLAND and others supported submissions from any Party with
respect to non-compliance by another Party. CUBA and TONGA called
for submissions from Parties directly involved in non-compliance
cases, while IRAN, the EU and others requested reference to
corroborating information. INDIA and CUBA called for allowing the
committee to reject ill-founded submissions.
The AFRICAN GROUP and others welcomed submissions
from the COP/MOP and information from NGOs and the Secretariat.
CUBA, MALAYSIA and CHINA opposed receiving information from NGOs,
and IRAN from the Secretariat. SWITZERLAND opposed restrictions on
Many opposed punitive measures. SOUTH AFRICA,
SWITZERLAND and NORWAY suggested finalizing compliance measures at a
later stage. IRAN, INDIA, JAPAN and the AFRICAN GROUP supported
issuing a caution, and publishing cases of non-compliance. The
AFRICAN GROUP, the EU and SAMOA, opposed by JAPAN, MALAYSIA and
VENEZUELA, supported suspending non-compliant Parties’ rights and
privileges. The US supported, and the EU, SAMOA and BANGLADESH
opposed, reference to consistency with international law. CHINA
requested considering restoration of a non-compliant Party’s rights.
Delegates established a contact group co-chaired
by Jürg Bally (Switzerland) and Rawson Yonadi (Tanzania).
LIABILITY AND REDRESS: The Secretariat
introduced relevant documents (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/9, 9/Add.1 and
INF/5-7). René Lefeber (the Netherlands) outlined the outcomes of a
workshop on liability and redress (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/ INF/8).
Many delegates supported creating an ad hoc
open-ended group of legal and technical experts. The AFRICAN GROUP
opposed a request by ARGENTINA, NEW ZEALAND, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION
and others for non-Party participation in the expert group.
NORWAY, BRAZIL, MEXICO and others supported,
while SWITZERLAND, the EU, the AFRICAN GROUP and others opposed that
the expert group analyze existing liability and redress regimes for
non-LMOs. The AFRICAN GROUP, opposed by JAMAICA and CANADA, said the
expert group should not examine options for the mode of adoption and
format of action on liability and redress.
JAPAN, NORWAY and MEXICO supported, and the EU
and CHINA opposed including a list of relevant specific elements.
CANADA and CHINA said the list should not be exhaustive, and FAO
noted it should include the phytosanitary context of the definition,
valuation and threshold of damage to biodiversity.
The AFRICAN GROUP, the EU, JAPAN and others
suggested that the expert group report to the COP/MOP. CHINA, CANADA
and others proposed that the group make recommendations on
appropriate international rules and procedures, if so requested by
The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for a set of interim
measures until the regime is established. ETHIOPIA opposed language
requesting the expert group to clarify the meaning of Article 27 of
the Protocol (Liability and redress).
ARGENTINA and the US suggested that the expert
group develop model laws and contracts to facilitate channeling of
WG-I Chair François Pythoud (Switzerland) and WG-II
Chair Amb. Philémon Yang (Cameroon) reported on progress made by
their WGs. John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), Chair of the budget
contact group, reported on the contact group’s progress.
Delegates established a Friends of the President
group on guidance to the financial mechanism, and a Friends of the
President group on priority setting.
The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY reported on its
high-level dialogue on trade, biotechnology and sustainable
DOCUMENTATION FOR LMO-FFPs: Delegates agreed
to establish an open-ended expert working group on identification
requirements for LMO-FFPs, with one region noting the need to
consider budgetary constraints. Delegates also discussed text on
identifying a contact point for providing information on LMO-FFPs,
and text on the type of documentation accompanying transboundary
movement of LMO-FFPs.
COMPLIANCE: Delegates retained reference
regarding issuing a caution to the non-compliant Party, and deleted
a reference to balance between importing and exporting countries in
the compliance committee. An informal group will elaborate text on
suspension of rights and privileges, and the co-Chairs will table
language on submissions from the COP/MOP relating to compliance.
Regarding submissions from Parties with respect to other Parties, a
co-Chairsï¿½ text will be drafted, calling for corroborating
information and rejection of ill-founded submissions.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The corridors were buzzing with concern over the
arrangement between NAFTA countries on documentation for LMO-FFPs
movements. One participant regretted that the NAFTA arrangement is
being presented as a potential approach to implementation, even
though it barely meets Protocol requirements on the issue. Another
delegate remarked that the arrangement distracts from the meetingï¿½s
agenda, and speculated that the agreement may well be the first case
before the compliance committee once established.
Uncertainty remained as to the role of non-Party
observers. A Party delegate noted with surprise that establishing a
Friends of the President Group on guidance to the GEF prevents
participation of non-Parties, which are also financial contributors
to the GEF.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 3:00 pm in the Dewan
Merdeka Hall to consider a conference room paper (CRP) on
information sharing and the BCH. Look for Chairï¿½s texts on:
documentation for LMOs for contained use and intentional release;
unique identification systems; and other issues for implementation.
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 11:00 am in Room TR4 to
consider CRPs on capacity building and on the roster of experts.
Look for a CRP on liability and redress.
CONTACT GROUPS: The contact group on Article 18.2 (a) will
meet from 10:00 am-1:00 pm in Tun Hussein Onn Hall A. The contact
group on the budget will meet at 3:00 pm in the VIP room. The
contact group on compliance is also expected to meet.
PLENARY: Plenary will convene at 5:30 pm in the Dewan Merdeka
Hall to review progress. Look for a CRP on the medium-term work
BCH TRAINING: Training sessions for the BCH will be held in
Tun Hussein Onn Hall B at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm.