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BSWG-6
Sixth Meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety
Cartagena, Colombia
14 - 19 February 1999

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Briefing

THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: At approximately 1:00 pm, delegates received the Chair's text for a protocol on biosafety (UNEP/CBD/BSWG/6/L.2) and were seen among the halls of the Centro de Convenci�nes reviewing the text. The Friends of the Chair met at 4:00 pm, where delegates expressed dissatisfaction with the text by highlighting provisions and omissions. At 9:30 pm, delegates received a seven-page corrigendum to the Chair�s draft text. The Friends of the Chair met at 10:00 pm.
WEDNESDAY RECAP: Some delegates commented that the Chair apparently has more "friends" than he realized, because the "Friends of the Chair" meetings reportedly drew an unexpected number of delegates dissatisfied with the regional representation. Others complained that a lack of negoti-ating time did not justify "short cuts" in the process, such as allowing some texts to proceed from a contact group directly to the Friends and then to the Plenary. Many reluctantly admitted that the Friends of the Chair might be the only remaining forum for concluding a protocol, as it will finally bring the deal-makers to the table to resolve their differ-ences on inter-linked issues as a package. Delegates met in Sub-Working Groups I and II throughout the day and into the evening, as well as in contact groups and informal consultations. The Friends of the Chair met in the evening to assess progress. At a stock-taking Plenary, which ended at 12:15 am, delegates heard reports from the Co-Chairs of the Sub-Working and Contact Groups, and the Chair announced that all outstanding issues would be addressed by the Friends of the Chair.

Photos and Real Audio from 18 February

GEF workshop

UNEP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) held a briefing workshop entitled "Results of the UNEP/GEF Pilot Biosafety Enabling Activity Project". Avani Vaish (GEF, left) and Paul Chabeda (UNEP, on the right) chaired the discussions. Various speakers reported on the recent round of regional consultations on biosafety, and discussed preparations for national biosafety frameworks.

Draft version of the protocol

Secretariat staff worked well into the early hours of Thursday morning putting together documents for the delegates. Some of the staff is seen here having supper... at 3 am!

The corrected version of the Chair�s text contains 39 Articles and three annexes. Three articles on notification of transit, subsequent imports and minimum national standards were deleted. All brackets were dropped. The Chair�s text, which reflects the positions taken by delegates during the week, differs from the draft negotiating text in a number of key aspects, including the following:

Delegates pouring over the first draft in the early afternoon.

 

The final leg: hard-working ENB writers refine their analysis of the chair's text by the bay behind the Centro.

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Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1999. All rights reserved.