Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 9 No. 287
Thursday, 26 February 2004
WEDNESDAY, 25 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 group and contact group
sessions throughout the day.
Working Group I (WG-I) discussed conference room
papers (CRPs) on information sharing and the Biosafety
Clearing-house (BCH), and on other issues for implementation, and
considered a Chair’s text on handling, transport, packaging and
identification (HTPI) of living modified organisms (LMOs) (Article
18). Working Group II (WG-II) considered CRPs on capacity building,
and on 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)
(Article 18.2(a)), compliance and the budget also met.
WORKING GROUP I
INFORMATION SHARING AND THE BCH: WG-I
approved a CRP on information sharing and the BCH with a minor
amendment, and the understanding that: bracketed text calling on the
GEF to extend eligibility criteria for the UNEP-GEF project on
building capacity for effective participation in the BCH will be
amended to reflect outcomes of the Friends of the President group on
guidance to the financial mechanism; and that text on unique
identifiers will reflect wording from the decision on unique
OTHER ISSUES: Delegates considered a CRP on
other issues for implementation.
Regarding movement of LMOs between Parties and
non-Parties, BRAZIL proposed, and delegates agreed, to recommend
that Parties notify, or ensure prior notification of, LMO exports to
non-Parties "as appropriate."
Regarding risk assessment and risk management,
BRAZIL proposed requesting the Executive Secretary to collect and
collate existing guidance material regarding LMO risk assessment and
risk management. Ireland, on behalf of the EU and Acceding Countries
(EU), opposed deleting reference to inviting Parties to submit
The US suggested, and Parties agreed, to include
other relevant stakeholders in a reference to risk assessment in the
Annex on transboundary LMO movement between Parties and non-Parties.
Delegates approved the CRP as amended.
HANDLING, TRANSPORT, PACKAGING AND
IDENTIFICATION: Documentation for LMO-FFPs (Article 18.2(a)):
Contact group co-Chair Schoonejans (France), reported on
progress of the contact group on documentation for LMO-FFPs.
Documentation for LMOs destined for contained use
or for intentional introduction into the environment (Article
18.2(b) and (c)): INDIA requested retaining a reference to the
International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in text on
documentation for LMOs for contained use, and MALAYSIA suggested
adding references to the Office International des Epizooties and
Codex Alimentarius. Delegates agreed.
The US urged that documentation requirements be
consistent with the Protocol language and, opposed by INDIA and
IRAN, suggested not to include reference to information on genetic
BRAZIL expressed concern regarding the
implementation of unique identification of LMOs for intentional
introduction. The EU supported reference to unique identification
and type of use and, with the AFRICAN GROUP, to add details on
common scientific and commercial names. The EU stressed the need to
refer to import approval of LMOs for intentional introduction.
WORKING GROUP II
CAPACITY BUILDING: Roster of experts:
The Secretariat introduced, and delegates approved, a CRP including
an amended draft decision and interim guidelines on the roster of
Capacity building: Delegates considered a CRP
including an action plan on capacity building for effective
implementation of the Protocol. The EU emphasized the need for
synergies between private sector and civil society capacity-building
activities and national programmes and priorities. Cameroon, for the
AFRICAN GROUP, requested that only developed country Parties be
invited to provide financial support to developing country Parties
for capacity-building activities.
PERU suggested that access to relevant databases
of intergovernmental organizations be facilitated by agreements with
the Secretariat. The AFRICAN GROUP and others opposed references to
industry’s role in, inter alia, creating consumer confidence
and contributing to guidance on implementation issues. On the role
of scientific institutions, INDIA underlined the importance of
developing capacity-building expertise. The GEF suggested reference
to its Initial Strategy on Biosafety. Delegates debated language on
centers of origin and genetic diversity. The EU, TURKEY and ETHIOPIA
will draft compromise text. NEW ZEALAND suggested language on
reviewing guidance to the financial mechanism with a view to
updating it. Delegates approved the CRP with the understanding that
compromise on centers of origin will be included.
LIABILITY AND REDRESS: Delegates considered a
CRP on the draft terms of reference (ToR) for the open-ended group
of experts. ETHIOPIA, COLOMBIA and PERU opposed a reference on
clarifying the concepts embodied in Article 27 of the Protocol
(Liability and redress).
Regarding the work plan of the expert group,
TURKEY suggested consideration of the outcome by COP/MOP before
2006. MALAYSIA proposed to finalize the expert group’s work by 2008.
COLOMBIA and MEXICO requested that the group shall, rather than
endeavor to, complete its work within four years. BRAZIL supported
holding only one meeting before COP/MOP-2. The AFRICAN GROUP and
VENEZUELA requested preparatory meetings for developing countries.
The EU proposed re-inserting a request to the
expert group to examine options for the mode of adoption and format
for any possible outcome regarding Article 27, in order not to
prejudge the legal status of the regime. ETHIOPIA opposed, stressing
that the regime will be binding. The US suggested, and Parties
agreed, to include a gap analysis of existing regimes and
information from all relevant stakeholders.
On elements of rules and procedures, MEXICO,
COLOMBIA and PERU proposed reference to mechanisms of financial
guarantee, rather than insurance. BRAZIL suggested including the
valuation of human health. PERU requested, and Parties agreed, to
delete a reference to the application of national rules and
procedures, to prevent misinterpretation of the regime’s relation to
The FAO proposed, and Parties supported, to
reference risk assessment addressed under the IPPC. FRIENDS OF THE
EARTH INTERNATIONAL urged action on transboundary contamination from
genetically modified crops.
Delegates established a Friends of the Chair
group to prepare a revised CRP, and resolve outstanding issues
regarding the mode of adoption of any possible outcome.
WG-I Chair François Pythoud (Switzerland) and WG-II
Chair Amb. Philémon Yang (Cameroon) reported on progress made by
Ernesto Cespedes (Mexico) reported on progress in
the Friends of the President group on priority setting, noting that
the group prioritized documentation for LMO-FFPs, capacity building
with particular emphasis on the BCH, compliance, and liability and
redress. Linda Brown (UK) reported on progress in the Friends of the
President group on guidance to the financial mechanism.
A representative of several LATIN AMERICAN NGOs
urged Parties not to let non-Parties influence negotiations, and
cautioned against the negative impact on the Protocol’s
implementation of the NAFTA Trilateral Arrangement on LMO-FFPs.
CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL called for taking into account socioeconomic
issues when setting priorities.
DOCUMENTATION FOR LMO-FFPs (Article 18.2(a)):
In the morning, delegates discussed whether to convene an
ad hoc technical expert group prior to the open-ended technical
expert group on identification requirements for LMO-FFPs. They did
not retain this option. They decided that participation in the
expert group should be based on inclusiveness, transparency and
technical expertise, with experts designated by Parties, other
governments and relevant international organizations.
Regarding contact points for information on
documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs, delegates agreed to include
reference to the last exporter, the first importer, and any other
Delegates also discussed, but did not reach
agreement on, adopting interim measures for the use of documentation
for LMO-FFPs, pending a decision on the use of a stand alone
document by the COP/MOP.
In the evening, delegates discussed the minimum
interim requirements necessary to implement the documentation
obligation. Objected by few, many Parties called for including the
LMO’s name and unique identifier in the documentation.
COMPLIANCE: In an afternoon session,
delegates considered a co-Chairs’ text on draft compliance
procedures and mechanisms. They agreed to delete a reference to
submissions from the COP/MOP through the Secretariat. While several
delegates supported including a reference to the principle of common
but differentiated responsibilities, others supported a co-Chairs’
proposal to pay particular attention to the special needs of
developing country Parties and implementation difficulties they
encounter. Many delegates called for committee members to serve
objectively and in the best interest of the Protocol, while a
developed country group asked that they also serve in their
In an evening session, delegates initiated
discussion on measures to address non-compliance, and debated
whether to base discussions on a proposal produced by informal
consultation or one by a developed country group. A regionally
balanced Friends of the co-Chairs group was established to discuss
IN THE CORRIDORS
Taking stock midway through COP/MOP-1, many
expressed concern over slow progress in the compliance contact
group. As expected, Party-to-Party triggering and measures to
address non-compliance are proving to be the major stumbling blocks.
Late in the evening, with deadlines looming on the horizon, tempers
flared over two competing proposals prompting some delegates to
criticize a disregard for rules of procedure, and others to denounce
over-participation by non-Parties in drafting groups.
Since under the rules of procedure, compliance
measures would be subject to COP/MOP consensus, some are wondering
whether the wish of some Parties to ensure development of a
facilitative procedure might impact the regimeï¿½s efficacy and
deprive it of its bite. Yet, many noted that meaningful
implementation is dependent on simultaneous progress on compliance
and liability, and were optimistic that the rather smooth progress
on liability and redress would help to overcome thorny
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 10:00
am in the Dewan Merdeka Hall to continue considering a Chairï¿½s text
on HTPI (Article 18).
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am
in Room TR4 to discuss a revised CRP on liability and redress, and
hear a report from the Friends of the co-Chairs group on compliance.
CONTACT GROUPS: The budget contact group will
meet at 11:00 am in the VIP Room. Contact groups on Article 18.2 (a)
and compliance are expected to meet. Check the monitors for time and
PLENARY: Plenary will convene at 5:30 pm in the
Dewan Merdeka Hall to review progress.
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.