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First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartegena Protocol (ICCP1)

Montpellier, FRANCE
11-15 Dec 2000

Première Réunion du Comité Intergouvernemental pour le Protocole de Cartegena

 

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Friday 15 December 2000

Final Plenary session at ICCP1 - Montpellier, France.

The first Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) was held in Montpellier, France, from 11-15 December 2000. Approximately 575 participants from 83 countries and 131 intergovernmental, non-governmental and industry organizations participated. Delegates met in two working groups to discuss six issues: information-sharing and the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH); capacity building; the roster of experts; decision-making procedures; handling, transport, packaging and identification; and compliance.

Delegates expressed their satisfaction with progress made during the meeting in identifying steps necessary to prepare for the Protocol's entry into force. Many hailed the congenial "Montpellier Spirit" of the meeting as a positive force in building confidence and political momentum for the process. The meeting also highlighted the significant hurdles to be overcome, especially in the areas of developing countries' capacity to implement the Protocol and means to make the BCH operational and accessible to all. ICCP-1 concluded with recommendations for inter-sessional activities prior to ICCP-2 (which will be held in Montreal from 1-5 October 2001), along with Chair's summaries of the discussions for each substantive item to be further considered by ICCP-2.

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Closing Plenary

(left to right)  Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, Philémon Yang, ICCP Chair; and Cyrie Sendashonga, CBD Secretary.

In opening the final Plenary on Friday, 15 December, ICCP1 Chair Philémon Yang thanked delegates for the work done, and introduced the agenda items on: future work of the ICCP; date and venue for ICCP-2; other matters; and adoption of the report. The Plenary adopted the agenda for ICCP-2, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/8. Issues to be discussed include: liability and redress; monitoring and reporting; Secretariat; guidance to the financial mechanism; rules of procedure for the MOP; consideration of other issues for implementation; elaboration of a draft provisional agenda for the MOP; and items for continued consideration from ICCP-1.


Working Groups

The two working groups met over the course of four days from 11-14 December 2000. WG-I formed a contact group to assist in deliberations on a pilot phase for the BCH. WG-II formed a contact group on capacity building and the roster of experts, and an informal working group on decision-making procedures and compliance. A brief Plenary was held on Wednesday, 13 December, to review the working groups' progress. For each substantive item, the working groups developed a Chair's summary of the discussions to be attached to the final report of the meeting, for further consideration by ICCP-2, as well as recommendations for intersessional activities to be held prior to ICCP-2. The final Plenary met on the morning of Friday 15 December, to adopt the working group's reports and to consider additional administrative matters.

Francois Pythod, Chair Working Group I, Switzerland, presents the draft of Working Group I's report.

Working Group I
Francois Pythoud, Switzerland, Chair Working Group I (left, seated centre), introduced WG I's report (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/L.3 and Add.1) dealing with two items, 4.1 (information sharing) and 4.4 (handling, transportation, packaging and identification). The working group recommended that the pilot phase of the BCH should be implemented as soon as possible, and that it should be implemented with recommendations on administrative issues, oversight and management, technical monitoring and review, languges, resources necessary and project plan. Item 4.4 on handling, transportation and packaging activities require submission, identification standards, rules of Article 18 and the ICCP-2. Chair Pythoud then introduced the Chair's report containing summaries of the discussions (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/L.3/Add.2).

Mohammad Reza Salamat, Iran, Chair Working Group II, delivers the report of Working Group II with minor ammendments.

Working Group II
Mohammad Reza Salamat, Iran, Chair Working Group II (right) presented WGII's report (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/L.4 and Add.1) dealing with items 4.2 (Capacity Building), 4.3 (Decision-making Procedures), and 4.5 (Compliance).4.2 (Capacity Building). The reports were submitted by the Chair with minor typographical corrections, but nevertheless was achieved with consensus adoption of the report. Chair Salamat then introduced the report (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/L.4/Add.2) containing the Chair's summaries of the discussions.


Remarks from the Plenary

Representatives of the European Community (left) and France (right) articulate their support for the ICCP plans.

The European Community (seated left) highlighted the meeting's "Montpellier Spirit" and expressed hope that future discussions would continue in such a congenial and constructive manner.

France (seated right), proud host to ICCP-1, thanked all delegates for good work and congenial spirit at Montpellier.

 

Global Industry Coalition represented the views of industry at the close of ICCP1.

The Global Industry Coalition (right) highlighted capacity building as a key priority for the private sector and its experience regarding the BCH structure. He also called for including the private sector in the roster of experts.

Phil Bereano, Council for Responsible Genetics, represented the views of over 100 NGOs at the close of ICCP1.

Phil Bereano, a representative of NGOs, (above) encouraged a broader scope than the use of the internet in implementing information sharing; urged the ICCP to work speedily; emphasized the need for programmes to enable civil society's use of the BCH; noted that the roster of experts should embody political, geographic and sectoral diversity and include members of civil society; stressed the role of sanctions in complying with the Protocol; and called for a moratorium on LMOs, unless effective systems of traceability and liability are developed.


Closing Plenary

CBD Executive Secretary Zedan also evoked the "Montpellier Spirit" of good will and emphasized the need for resources to comply with the meeting's recommendations in a timely manner. He expressed gratitude for the offers from Canada, France and the US to support inter-sessional work. Chair Yang stated that delegates were leaving Montpellier after planting the seeds for the Protocol's effective implementation and noted that the issues discussed had moved the process from the stage of contained use to field trial. He highlighted the meeting's political message of commitment to the Protocol and thanked the Working Group Chairs, Bureau, Secretariat and others for a successful meeting. He officially closed ICCP-1 at 12:15 pm.

Closing of ICCP-1.

The Plenary also agreed that ICCP-2 would meet from 1-5 October 2001, at the seat of the CBD Secretariat in Montreal, Canada. Looking ahead, ICCP-2 promises to be hectic, with the start of discussions on liability, and monitoring and review, as well as continued consideration of ICCP-1's agenda items. Much will hinge on the productivity of inter-sessional work, and its success in recognizing and incorporating the concerns of developed and developing countries in operationalizing the Protocol. While tensions between the trade and environmental arenas have lurked in the shadows of numerous international meetings, ICCP-1 was able to temporarily set those tensions aside given its focus on ostensibly technical and operational matters. One delegate noted that the distance in time and space from the contentious negotiations in Montreal and the opportunity for reflection have generated a general perception among countries that the two agreements can be complementary. As delegates closed ICCP-1, they lauded the congenial atmosphere of the negotiations. However, the pace of country ratifications and the Protocol's entry into force will ultimately determine the strength and enduring nature of the "Montpellier Spirit."


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