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

 

| Monday 11 | Tuesday 12 | Wednesday 13 | Thursday 14 | Friday 15 |
| Lundi 11 | Mardi 12 | Mercredi 13 | Jeudi 14 | Vendredi 15 |


Monday 11 December 2000

The first Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) began its deliberations, as delegates heard opening statements, considered organizational and inter-sessional work and addressed information sharing and capacity building in Plenary. During the afternoon, two working groups convened to further consider information-sharing and capacity building.

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Opening Plenary

Opening speeches were heard by (in order of presentation) ICCP Chair, Ambassador Philémon Yang; the Mayor of Montpellier, Georges Freche; the Minister of Environment of France, Dominique Voynet; UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer ; and CBD Executive Secretary, Hamdallah Zedan.

The panel (seated left to right) UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer ; Minister of Environment of France, Dominique Voynet; ICCP Chair, Ambassador Philémon Yang; CBD Executive Secretary, Hamdallah Zedan; and the Mayor of Montpellier, Georges Freche, delivered opening remarks to the morning Plenary in the Berlioz room.

ICCP Chair Amb. Philémon Yang (Cameroon) thanked the French government for hosting the meeting. He recalled that the Cartagena Protocol was adopted in Montreal in January 2000 after nearly five years of negotiation, and recognized the efforts of Veit Koester (Denmark) and Juan Mayr Maldonado (Colombia), in its completion. He noted the Protocol has been signed by 80 countries and ratified by Bulgaria and Trinidad and Tobago, and called for a continuation of mutual trust in ensuring its implementation. He then officially opened the meeting.

Georges Freche, Mayor of Montpellier, welcomed participants and noted Montpellier’s long history at the crossroads of agronomy and medicine, which are key areas of biotechnology. He stressed the need to have faith in a science not deprived of conscience. He expressed his hope that a Montpellier Statement could be crafted to contribute to this process.

 Check back for RealAudio files of the speeches.


Dominique Voynet, Minister of Environment, France.

Dominique Voynet, Minister of Environment, France, delivers her address to the Plenary

The French Minister of Environment, Dominique Voynet, said that new biotechnologies bring hopes for the production of therapeutic substances, and fears of the risk to health and the environment. She contested the legitimacy of manipulating life-forms when not in the public interest, and noted public concern over agricultural dependence on a few biotechnology companies. She highlighted the importance of the Cartagena Protocol for developing common rules on trade of LMOs, the application of the precautionary principle and the possibility for developing countries to make decisions based on scientific expertise. She emphasized the significance for the EU of identifying and labeling LMOs, and noted that France would not accept any LMO authorization before traceability systems are fully implemented. She also noted the urgency of establishing a liability regime.


Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director and Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary

UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer (left) and CBD Executive Secretary, Hamdallah Zedan (right) deliver opening remarks, as televised on Plenary room projection screens.

Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Töpfer, described adoption of the Cartagena Protocol as a milestone event. He emphasized the importance of the Protocol’s provisions on the precautionary approach and capacity building, and welcomed the GEF Council’s approval of $26M to help establish biosafety systems in over 100 countries. He also highlighted the need for greater private sector involvement and accountability, and urged countries to enhance public access to biosafety information.

CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan thanked governments making financial contributions and expressed hope that the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) should be launched no later than the Protocol’s entry into force.
UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer and CBD Executive Secretary, Hamdallah Zedan (right) pause en route to afternoon meetings following lunchtime press conferences and side events.

Third World Network:

Guest speaker, ICCP Chair, Ambassador Philémon Yang, (left) assured NGOs and civil society of their place in the negotiations. Lim Li Lin (center) and Gurdial Singh Nijar (right), Third World Network, presented issues related to Protocol compliance.
Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, chaired the side event.

 

 

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