Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 242
Thursday, 25 April 2002
WEDNESDAY, 24 APRIL 2002
Delegates to the third meeting of the
Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
(ICCP) met in two Working Groups during the day. Working Group I (WG-I)
discussed a Conference Room Paper (CRP) on monitoring and reporting,
as well as how to progress on other issues necessary for the
Protocol’s implementation. Working Group II (WG-II) discussed
capacity building, including the roster of experts, and a Chair’s
text on liability and redress. A late afternoon Plenary reviewed
progress in the Working Groups. Contact groups on Article 18.2
regarding documentation requirements and on compliance met
throughout the day and evening.
WORKING GROUP I
MONITORING AND REPORTING: WG-I Chair François
Pythoud (Switzerland) introduced UNEP/CBD/ICCP/3/WG.I/ CRP.1. With
some calls for clarifying the timeframe for comments on the
reporting format, delegates changed the deadline from six to five
months before the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP). The CRP was
OTHER IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES: Chair Pythoud
noted three main areas of discussion: mechanisms; the medium-term
programme of work; and identification of key issues. He said he
would draft a recommendation on the first two, and convened a
"Friends of the Chair" group to address key issues, particularly
shipments to non-Parties at the Protocol’s entry into force and
categorization of LMOs under the Protocol’s scope. ARGENTINA
prioritized work on capacity building and the Biosafety
Clearing-House (BCH) and, with CHINA, called for use of existing
WORKING GROUP II
CAPACITY BUILDING: The Secretariat introduced
UNEP/ CBD/ICCP/3/6. Spain, on behalf of the EU, Namibia, on behalf
of the AFRICAN GROUP, and others stressed demand-driven national,
regional and subregional programmes, and further identification of
roles of and synergies between capacity-building entities and with
the CBD Secretariat. Delegates supported full access to the BCH and
participation in the roster of experts for developing countries,
countries with economies in transition and small island developing
States. Delegates also highlighted: increased funding;
technological, technical, legislative and institutional capacity
building; public awareness; further work on the list of key
activities for implementation; harmonization with other national
legislation; and training of experts. TUNISIA stressed cooperation
programmes on science and technology. CANADA emphasized further work
on gap analysis.
ARGENTINA recommended focusing on
capacity-building activities for handling, transport, packaging and
identification of LMOs. BRAZIL, BURKINA FASO, MEXICO, PERU and
TURKEY further highlighted capacity building for risk assessment for
LMOs’ identification and evaluation. ETHIOPIA stressed monitoring,
information exchange and the need for building partnerships.
GREENPEACE supported technical capacity for risk analysis in
connection with each country’s environment. MALDIVES underscored
regional and bilateral cooperation and improved access to funding
information. NORWAY highlighted demand-driven assistance for
ratification on a bilateral basis.
TOGO, with PERU, highlighted capacity-building
needs of small farmers and rural communities. BRAZIL prioritized
establishing compliance mechanisms. CAMEROON and NORWAY questioned
the need for the proposed new focal point for biosafety capacity
building. The US supported an informal coordination mechanism for
identifying countries’ needs and donors’ priorities. TURKEY called
for GEF support to centers of diversity. TANZANIA urged developing
countries to identify their capacity-building requirements for
funding. The INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR GENETIC ENGINEERING AND
BIOTECHNOLOGY highlighted its research and training programmes for
biosafety and LMO identification.
WG-II Chair P.K. Ghosh (India) will prepare a
ROSTER OF EXPERTS: The Secretariat introduced
UNEP/ CBD/ICCP/3/6/Add.1. Chair Ghosh invited comments on interim
guidelines for the pilot phase of the voluntary fund for the roster.
AUSTRALIA supported using a specific budget line within the existing
BE Trust Fund as opposed to creating a new trust fund. JAPAN
highlighted transparency in accounting, availability of financial
and evaluation reports through the BCH, and, with CANADA and KENYA,
consistency with UN rules on trust funds.
On eligibility criteria and the limitation on two
grants per year, Estonia, on behalf of the CENTRAL AND EASTERN
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, preferred using an annual limit per Party.
AUSTRALIA, with CANADA, called for assurance that Parties retain
responsibility for meeting the Protocol’s obligations and that no
liability accrues to an expert or to those providing an expert’s
name. The INSTITUTE FOR AGRICULTURE AND TRADE POLICY called for
improved information about experts and for a regularly updated
declaration of conflicts of interest. ERITREA suggested a timeframe
for expert nomination. Delegates discussed but did not agree to a
proposal by the GLOBAL INDUSTRY COALITION to address consistent
terminology regarding NGOs and the private sector.
A draft recommendation will be prepared.
LIABILITY AND REDRESS: Delegates discussed a
Chair’s draft recommendation. CAMEROON, IRAN and TOGO suggested
general language on the importance of liability and redress.
COLOMBIA regretted lack of a decision on the expert group’s TORs,
and, with MEXICO, called for specific language on organization of
workshops. Several other delegates also expressed support for
organizing workshops on liability and redress. AUSTRALIA and CANADA
supported deleting reference to analyzing information, saying it
exceeded the process-oriented mandate. CAMEROON proposed
highlighting countries’ different capacities to provide information
by adding the phrase "which are in a position to do so."
On the questionnaire, JAPAN and MALDIVES noted
that most questions are complex and technical, and AUSTRALIA, CANADA
and the US favored limiting it to the most general ones. CANADA said
the questionnaire prejudged the expert group’s work, recommending
that it generate more detailed questions. Delegates highlighted the
questionnaire’s voluntary nature. MEXICO suggested its expansion to
include questions from the background document, while ETHIOPIA, with
GUATEMALA and TURKEY, added issues of jurisdiction, arbitration,
purpose of State liability and responsibility, and, with the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION, criteria for assessing damage. CAMEROON also stressed
linkages to compliance. ARGENTINA addressed activities or situations
perceived as most likely to cause damage. Highlighting lack of
progress on organizing workshops since ICCP-2, COLOMBIA requested
record of the tendency to postpone debate on liability and redress.
Chair Ghosh proposed text highlighting the
questionnaire’s voluntary nature, and delegates adopted the
recommendation. During Plenary, Chair Ghosh noted that the issue may
The Plenary met in a brief afternoon session to
hear progress reports from WG-I Chair Pythoud and WG-II Chair Ghosh.
An indigenous representative, noting the seriousness of maize
contamination in Mexico and food safety issues in general, expressed
concern with lack of ICCP-3’s progress. The NGO CAUCUS called for an
immediate ban on LMO-FFPs until a full safety study is completed,
and for speedy ratification of the Protocol. ICCP Chair Amb.
Philémon Yang (Cameroon) called upon delegates to identify areas of
common ground to progress ICCP-3’s outcomes beyond ICCP-2.
ARTICLE 18.2: The contact group on Article
18.2 on documentation for LMOs met throughout the day and evening.
On Article 18.2(b) regarding documentation for LMOs destined for
contained use, delegates debated specific identification
requirements. Stressing the need to bring the Protocol forward, some
advocated information to include the LMO’s name, with documentation
stating "LMOs for contained use." Others said that such language
would go beyond the Protocol's text and preferred that
identification be limited to "LMO." Delegates debated a number of
formulations, while also raising questions about the interpretation
of "identification." After much discussion, the group reverted to
the expert group’s original text, bracketing paragraphs where there
was no agreement.
On Article 18.2(c) regarding documentation for
LMOs for intentional introduction, the group debated language on
whether information provided should refer to "if available," "make
available" or the original text of "where available and applicable."
Delegates also addressed links to the BCH and lack of clarity
regarding specific information requirements. After much discussion,
the group reverted to the expert group’s original text, bracketing
paragraphs where there was no agreement.
On Article 18.2(a) regarding documentation for
LMOs for food, feed or processing, delegates started by considering
two texts proposed from the previous evening, addressing information
to be included in accompanying documentation. Delegates reiterated
positions on whether information requirements extended beyond the
Protocol’s provisions and the need for such information, including
use of unique identification. A third proposal attempted to
integrate the two in a step-wise approach, calling for the
submission of views regarding the need for additional information,
but received only partial support. Co-Chair Eric Schoonejans
(France) then circulated a non-paper on which delegations provided
views. After much discussion, Co-Chair Schoonejans said he would
present a Chair’s summary to WG-I based on the non-paper and
COMPLIANCE: Delegates considered a non-paper.
On information and consultation, delegates agreed that the
compliance committee would consider information from the BCH, the
COP, the MOP, subsidiary bodies of the Convention and relevant
international organizations. References to information from NGOs and
the Secretariat remain bracketed. On measures to promote and address
non-compliance, delegates agreed to incorporate text into the
chapeau stating that the Committee take into account the Party’s
capacity to comply and the cause, type, degree and frequency of
non-compliance. Chair Veit Koester (Denmark) established a drafting
group to address suspension of rights and, under procedures,
Party-to-Party trigger. The group proposed retaining reference to
issuance of a caution and publication of non-compliance. Many
delegates opposed reference to suspension of rights and privileges,
arguing the need to identify specific rights and privileges and/or
stressing the non-punitive nature of the compliance mechanism. The
group suggested reference to "additional stronger measures,
excluding trade related measures," and retaining reference to both
the Protocol and international law. The group also retained
reference to Party-to-Party trigger, adding text on rejection of
de minimis/ill-founded submissions. The contact group will
reconvene to consider polished text from the drafting group.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Most delegates expressed frustration as
discussion in the contact group on Article 18 returned back to its
starting point with the recommendations from the expert groups. Some
noted that delays could only benefit those resisting stricter
documentation requirements, while others noted significant questions
about the exact process and procedures for those shipping LMOs.
Elsewhere, delegates pointed to the ray of light
coming from the compliance contact group as a positive contribution
to the meeting.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will meet at 10:00 am
in the Prins Willem Alexander Hall to review CRPs on information
sharing and other implementation issues.
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will meet at 10:00 am
in the Van Gogh Hall to discuss CRPs on liability and redress, and
CONTACT GROUP: The contact group on
compliance will meet at 1:00 pm in the Mondriaan Hall to consider
text from the drafting group.