Greenpeace, Third World Network and Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN) stressed the need for a legally-binding international regulatory mechanism. The Third World Network proposed an addition supported by all three of the NGOs who had intervened: "They stressed the urgent need for a protocol because of the serious risks posed by the transboundary nature of the export of LMOs and examples were given that northern companies had already started carrying out hazardous genetic engineering experiments in the South. They also asked that the destabilizing socio- economic aspects of biosafety form part of such a protocol."
There was heated debate on the report of the discussion with regard to Article 19 (3) of the Convention, which requires the COP to consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol. Protracted exchanges occurred on an amendment proposed by Germany, on behalf of the EU, that a "significant number" of delegations supported immediate work for a protocol, while "many others" stated that a process be initiated in order to come to an informed position regarding this issue. At one point, Mauritius called for a show of hands to lay the issue to rest. Australia recommended removing "many" and leaving "others."
Finally, a small group comprising of Germany, India, Mexico, Venezuela, the US, Australia, Kenya, Canada and Ethiopia was asked to find an adequate formulation. The small group managed to reach agreement on the following: "A significant number of delegations expressed support for the immediate work on a protocol while others expressed support that the COP should establish a step-by-step process to consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol." Nevertheless, the Working Group could not accept this. India, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed another addition: "The G-77 and China were of the unanimous view to immediately work on a protocol on biosafety, while some others expressed support that the COP should establish a step-by-step process to consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol." This led to more disagreement as some stated that it was not appropriate that text agreed on by consensus in the drafting group be reopened and that the views of the G-77 and China were being expressed subsequent to the group's discussion on the issue. Others stated that there was larger group to which the drafting group was accountable and indicated support for the G-77 and China. There was some confusion regarding the position of the East European Group, as they initially indicated support for a protocol, but later expressed support for a step-by-step approach. It was finally agreed to amend the drafting group's text to read: "In reaction to the proposal, the G-77 and China...."
The final report of Working Group I (UNEP/CBD/IC/2/ L.2/Add.3) notes that process for developing technical guidelines be set in motion and that biosafety component of the draft FAO International Code of Conduct constitute an input into the COP. But it was not clear what kind of working group should be recommended to COP in order to draft a protocol. The options include: an expert group with regional representation, an ad-hoc working group, an open-ended working group, or, alternatively, some combination of the above.
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