Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 9 No. 288
Friday, 27 February 2004
THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2004
On Thursday, delegates to the first meeting of
the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) serving as the meeting of the Parties to the
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP-1) convened in working
group sessions. Working Group I (WG-I) continued discussing a
conference room paper (CRP) on handling, transport, packaging and
identification (HTPI) of living modified organisms (LMOs) (Article
18). Working Group II (WG-II) considered a CRP on liability and
redress, and a Chair’s text on compliance. A brief Plenary was held
in the afternoon to review progress and consider draft decisions on
procedures and mechanisms to facilitate decision making by Parties
of import, and on the medium-term programme of work. The contact
group on compliance met briefly to hear a progress report on the
Friends of the co-Chair group. The contact group on the budget also
WORKING GROUP I
HANDLING, TRANSPORT, PACKAGING AND
IDENTIFICATION: WG-I Chair François Pythoud (Switzerland)
introduced a CRP on HTPI. Delegates agreed to add a section on
capacity building, requesting the Executive Secretary to convene,
prior to the meeting of the technical expert group, subject to
availability of resources, a workshop on capacity building and
exchange of experience on safe HTPI. WG-I Chair Pythoud clarified
that the open-ended technical expert group would be funded from the
Unique identification systems: Uganda, for
the AFRICAN GROUP, proposed, and delegates agreed, to include a
reference to the development of a harmonized system of unique
identifiers, and to invite Parties and other governments to take
measures "as appropriate" to apply the OECD Unique Identifiers
CANADA proposed referring to unique
identification for transgenic plants approved for commercialization.
AUSTRALIA suggested, and delegates opposed, noting that a unique
identification system for genetically modified microorganisms and
animals is yet to be developed.
Documentation for LMO-FFPs (Article 18.2(a)):
Contact group co-Chair Eric Schoonejans (France) reported on
progress of the contact group on documentation for LMOs for use as
food, feed or processing (LMO-FFPs), noting that agreement could not
be reached on the type of documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs. WG-I
Chair Pythoud decided to convene a Friends of the Chair group to
address this issue.
IRAN welcomed the participation of non-Parties
and civil society in the technical expert group on identification
requirements for LMO-FFPs, but requested that the group only
consider Parties’ views. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC), supported by
BRAZIL, suggested that the expert group prioritize work on type,
content, and the extent and modality of using unique identifiers.
BRAZIL said the group’s review of available sampling and detection
techniques should be done with a view to their harmonization.
Regarding contact points for information on
documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs, ETHIOPIA, NORWAY and NAMIBIA
said the contact group had decided that information be provided on
the exporter, the importer "and" any appropriate authority, while
BRAZIL, the AFRICAN GROUP and the contact group co-Chairs stressed
that agreement had been reached to provide information on the
exporter, the importer "or" any appropriate authority. The AFRICAN
GROUP stressed that the Biosafety Protocol calls for providing
information on one contact point only. Parties agreed to retain
reference to the exporter, the importer "or" any appropriate
In an evening session, WG-I Chair Pythoud
introduced a revised CRP, drafted by the Friends of the Chair group.
MEXICO, opposed by the AFRICAN GROUP and NORWAY, suggested to
"encourage," rather than "request," Parties and other governments to
require that documentation for LMO-FFPs include the common,
scientific and, where available, commercial names, and the
transformation event code of the LMO or, where available, its unique
identifier code. The AFRICAN GROUP suggested, and Parties agreed, to
"urge" Parties and other governments to do so.
MEXICO, ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN, and
URUGUAY said the text goes beyond the Protocol’s scope. GHANA
highlighted the interim nature of the documentation measures.
The INTERNATIONAL GRAIN TRADE COALITION called
for discussion on adventitious presence of LMOs, and recommended
postponing the introduction of documentation requirements until
agreement has been reached within the appropriate standards-making
body. The FAO noted that relevant Codex Alimentarius
guidelines should be taken into account.
Documentation for LMOs destined for contained use
or for intentional introduction into the environment (Article
18.2(b) and (c)): Regarding documentation accompanying LMOs for
contained use or for intentional introduction into the environment
of the Party of import, WG-I Chair Pythoud proposed that Parties be
requested, and other governments urged, to take measures to require
the use of a commercial invoice or other documents, required or
utilized under existing documentation systems, by means such as the
relevant templates annexed to the decision.
WG-I Chair Pythoud also proposed to request
Parties, and invite other governments, to keep under review the use
of a stand alone document to fulfill the identification
requirements. Delegates agreed to a proposal by SOUTH AFRICA to
specify that Parties submit their views for consideration by the
COP/MOP, and to a suggestion by IRAN that this be done at COP/MOP-2.
Contained use: Delegates agreed not to
include reference to the name and address of the exporter in
information accompanying LMOs.
On text noting that further information "could"
include, if appropriate, common, scientific and commercial names,
unique identification and risk class, the EC, NORWAY, INDIA,
MALAYSIA and the AFRICAN GROUP proposed deleting "if appropriate"
and specifying that such information "should" be made available.
SWITZERLAND, JAPAN, BRAZIL and CANADA opposed. JAPAN and BRAZIL,
opposed by MALAYSIA, suggested deleting reference to "risk class."
The SUNSHINE PROJECT stressed the need to include information about
the risk class when transferring LMOs, in order to identify
potential diseases. Delegates agreed to language noting that, where
appropriate, further information should include commercial names,
new or modified traits, risk class, specification of use, as well as
unique identification where available.
Intentional introduction: Regarding
documentation, delegates agreed that, where applicable, further
information should include, if available, the commercial name of
LMOs, risk class and import approval for the first transboundary
movement of LMOs.
Delegates approved the CRP with these amendments.
WG-I Chair Pythoud introduced, and delegates
adopted with minor amendments, the draft report of WG-I (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/WG.1/L.1).
WORKING GROUP II
LIABILITY AND REDRESS: Delegates considered a
revised CRP on terms of reference for the open-ended ad hoc
group of legal and technical experts. René Lefeber (the Netherlands)
reported on the outcome of the Friends of the Chair group,
highlighting the deletion of language requesting clarification of
Article 27 (Liability and redress), and addition of a reference on
policy guidance from COP/MOP regarding the mid-term review of the
expert group’s work.
The US suggested reintroducing references to
conducting an analysis of national and international rules and
procedures on liability and redress, and a gap analysis as a basis
for the experts group’s work. Delegates decided not to re-open
discussions, and approved the revised CRP with a minor amendment.
COMPLIANCE: In an evening session, WG-II
Chair Amb. Philémon Yang (Cameroon) introduced a Chair’s text on
draft procedures and mechanisms on compliance prepared by a Friends
of the Chair group. Delegates agreed to establish a fifteen-member
compliance committee to work under COP/MOP guidance. Parties
approved the text without amendment. The Secretariat explained that
committee members would be nominated by regional groups, and elected
by COP/MOP-1 closing Plenary.
WG-II Chair Yang then introduced the report of
the working group (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/WG.2/L.1). AUSTRALIA and
NEW ZEALAND, supported by the PHILIPPINES and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA,
requested a reference noting that they had not been able to make a
statement regarding compliance, due to lack of time. Delegates
approved the report with this addition.
CONTACT GROUP ON COMPLIANCE
The contact group on compliance met briefly in
the afternoon to hear an update on progress made by the Friends of
the co-Chairs group. Co-Chair Jürg Bally (Switzerland) reported on
agreement to remove reference to the compliance committee’s
consideration of information from NGOs and the Secretariat. He also
presented new text specifying that the procedures and mechanisms be
reviewed by COP/MOP-3 and thereafter. He said disagreement still
remained regarding: reference to common but differentiated
responsibilities; committee members serving in their personal
capacity; Party-to-Party trigger; and measures to address
WG-I Chair Pythoud and WG-II Chair Yang reported
on progress made by their WGs. John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda)
reported that the budget contact group had completed its work and
had approved a draft decision on the budget.
DECISION PROCEDURE: COP/MOP-1 President Dato’
Seri Law introduced a draft decision on procedures and mechanism for
facilitating decision making by Parties of import (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/1/L.1),
noting addition of language on financial assistance or other means
to facilitate importing Parties’ decision making. Delegates adopted
the decision with this amendment.
MEDIUM-TERM PROGRAMME OF WORK: Delegates
adopted, without amendment, a revised draft decision on the
medium-term work programme until COP/MOP-5 (UNEP/CBD/
BS/COP-MOP/1/L.5), incorporating proposed amendments to: consider
socioeconomic issues and public awareness and participation at
COP/MOP-2; and postpone discussion on monitoring and reporting to
An NGO representative underlined that COP/MOP
decisions should reflect the consensus of Parties and those willing
IN THE CORRIDORS
Looking back at the weekï¿½s negotiations, one
delegate attributed the relatively quiet atmosphere to a "letï¿½s wait
and see" attitude taken by Parties and non-Parties alike, while some
noted that "stubborn" brackets on HTPI and compliance are indicative
of a difficult road ahead.
The subdued atmosphere was eventually overcome by
successes achieved in both working groups late on Thursday night,
leaving delegates quietly confident about the Protocolï¿½s future.
Many were pleasantly surprised by agreements reached on information
to be included in documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs, as well as on
establishing a compliance committee, noting that these represent a
giant leap forward towards the Protocolï¿½s implementation. One
delegate cited this development as a testimony to Partiesï¿½
commitment to putting in place solid foundations for the Protocolï¿½s
effectiveness. Only a few determined non-Parties were somewhat
sobered by these developments.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COP/MOP-1 PLENARY: COP/MOP-1 closing Plenary
will convene at 10:00 am in Room TR4 to adopt the meetingï¿½s report
and decisions, and decide on a date and venue for COP/MOP-2.
COP-7 PLENARY: CBD COP-7 closing Plenary will
resume, immediately after the closure of COP/MOP-1, to consider
recommendations on the budget and guidance to the financial
mechanism, and adopt COP-7ï¿½s report.
ENB REPORT: The Earth Negotiations
Bulletin report containing a summary and analysis of this
meeting will be available online on Monday, 1 March, at