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6-Regulation: Cartagena Protocol enters into force on Sep 11, 2003



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Treaty on international trade in GMOs to become law
        Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will enter into force in September
SOURCE: United Nations Environment Programme, Kenya, Press Release
DATE:   Jun 13, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Treaty on international trade in GMOs to become law
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety will enter into force in September

Nairobi, 13 June 2003 - Palau has become the 50th country to ratify the
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, starting a 90-day countdown to the
agreement's entry into force. Adopted in January 2000 by the member
governments of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Protocol sets
out the first comprehensive regulatory system for ensuring the safe
transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with
a specific focus on movements of these organisms across national borders.

"The Cartagena Protocol recognizes that biotechnology has an immense
potential for improving human welfare, but that it could also pose
potential risks to biodiversity and human health," said Klaus Toepfer,
Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, under
whose auspices the Biodiversity Convention was adopted in 1992.

"This new regime promises to make the international trade in GMOs more
transparent while introducing important safety measures that will meet
the needs of consumers, industry and the environment for many decades to
come," he said.

The Protocol deals primarily with GMOs that are to be intentionally
introduced into the environment (such as seeds, trees or fish) and with
genetically modified farm commodities (such as corn and grain used for
food, animal feed or processing).

"With the science of biotechnology advancing at such a rapid pace, it is
vital that developing countries and countries with economies in
transition have the human resources and institutions they need for
promoting biosafety," said Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secretary of the
Convention.

"By building these resources and strengthening international
collaboration on biosafety, the Protocol will boost public confidence in
our ability to manage GMOs safely. I therefore urge all governments to
ratify and join the Protocol as soon as possible," he said.

The Cartagena Protocol features one set of procedures for GMOs that are
to be intentionally introduced into the environment, and one for GMOs
that are to be used directly as food or feed or for processing. Both are
designed to ensure that recipient countries are provided with the
information they need for making informed decisions about whether or not
to accept GMO imports.

Governments will exchange information through a Biosafety Clearing-House
and are to base their decisions on scientifically sound risk assessments.
In cases where scientific certainty is lacking due to insufficient
scientific information about a GMO's potential adverse effects, a
government may take a decision based on a desire to avoid or minimize
such potential adverse effects.

When a country that is a member of the Protocol decides to allow the
import of a GMO, all exporters will need to ensure that each shipment is
accompanied by appropriate documentation. Governments will have to adopt
measures for managing any risks identified by risk assessments and conti
nue to monitor and control any risks that may emerge in the future. This
applies to traded as well as domestically produced GMOs.

Recognizing the potential trade implications of the agreement, the
drafters of the Cartagena Protocol made every effort to ensure that its
provisions and those of the World Trade Organization are mutually
supportive. The Protocol states that its provisions are intended neither
to override nor to be subordinate to existing international agreements.

"Avoiding potential conflicts between trade laws and the biosafety regime
will require good will and careful management," said Mr. Toepfer.
"Improving the coordination among the various international regimes can
greatly strengthen biosafety while avoiding potential conflicts and
reconciling the legitimate interests of trade, biosafety and other sectors."

Proponents of GMOs argue that biotechnology will boost food security for
the world's growing population by raising sustainable food production. It
will benefit the environment by reducing the need for more farmland,
irrigation and pesticides. It will also provide better medical treatments
and vaccines, new industrial products and improved fibres and fuels.

For others, however, this rapidly advancing science raises a tangle of
ethical, environmental, social and health issues. Because modern
biotechnology is still so new, they say, much is unknown about how its
products may behave and evolve, and how they may interact with other species.

To help developing countries assess the potential risks and rewards of
genetically engineered crops, UNEP, with funding from the Global
Environment Facility (GEF), is overseeing the largest capacity building
project ever conceived in the field of biosafety. The $38.4 million
scheme is helping up to 100 countries develop the scientific and legal
skills needed for evaluating the health and environmental issues
surrounding imports of so-called Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), as
they are known under the Protocol.

"The Cartagena Protocol institutionalises the precautionary approach and
establishes a rigorous advanced informed agreement procedure as well,"
said Mr. Toepfer. "The success of this procedure and of the entire
Protocol depends on developing countries having the skills and systems in
place for evaluating GMO imports and handling them safely. This is why
this multimillion- dollar capacity- building project is so important."

The first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol will take place in the
first quarter of 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Note to journalists: Additional information is available at
www.biodiv.org/biosafety .

For more information, please contact Eric Falt at +254-2-62-3292, +254-
733-682656 (cell) or eric.falt@unep.org Nick Nuttall at +254-2-62-3084,
+254-733-632755 (cell) or nick.nuttall@unep.org Michael Williams at +41-
22-917-8242/8196/8244, +41-79-409-1528 (cell) or michael.williams@unep.ch.


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Countdown begins for entry into force of Biosafety Protocol
        Republic of Palau becomes the 50th country to ratify
SOURCE: CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, Canada, Press Release
        http://www.biodiv.org/doc/press/pr-2003-06-13-bs-02-en.pdf
DATE:   June 13, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Countdown begins for entry into force of Biosafety Protocol
Republic of Palau becomes the 50th country to ratify

Montreal, June 13 2003 -Accession today by Palau triggers the countdown
to the entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the first
legally binding international agreement governing the movement of living
modified organisms across national borders. It will take effect on 11
September 2003, ninety days from today.

The Protocol, adopted by the member governments of the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) on 29 January 2000 after more than five years
of negotiation, aims at ensuring adequate safety in the transboundary
movement and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from
modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the biological
diversity and human health.

Welcoming the imminent entry into force of the Protocol, CBD Executive
Secretary Hamdallah Zedan said that it is a vital tool for sustainable
development and the safeguarding of biodiversity. "This treaty will
enable countries to derive maximum benefit from biotechnology while
ensuring adequate safety measures for the environment, also taking into
account human health", he said. The Cartagena Protocol will ensure that
the development and use of biotechnology are subject to adequate and
transparent safety measures, known collectively as biosafety

At the date of entry into force, certain provisions will take effect
immediately:
- Countries shipping LMOs for intentional introduction into the
environment will have to give prior notification of the first shipment to
an importing country that is a party to the Protocol under what is
referred to as the "Advance Informed Agreement" procedure. Sufficient
information will have to be provided to enable importing countries make
informed decisions.
- Member countries of the Protocol will also be required to use the
Biosafety Clearing- House (BCH) to fulfill a number of specific
obligations. The BCH is a largely Internet- based facility established
under the Protocol to ease communications and exchange of information
between the Parties.
- All shipments containing LMOs for intentional introduction into the
environment will be clearly identified as such in the accompanying
documentation which must specify the identity and characteristics of the
specific LMOs contained in each shipment.

Following the agreement's entry into force, the decision-making body of
all the member countries of the Protocol, - the Conference of the Parties
serving as the meeting of the Parties -, will convene to address topics
related to the operation and implementation of the Protocol. The first
meeting is scheduled for the first quarter of 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"The first meeting of Parties will be a historic event that will provide
a foundation for the future of the Protocol", said Mr. Zedan. "I urge all
countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Protocol as soon as
possible in order to participate as full partners in the decision making
at the first meeting of Parties which will shape the future of the Protocol".

Additional information for Journalists

(1) The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was negotiated under the
Convention on Biological Diversity with the objective to promote "the
safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs)
resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also
into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on
transboundary movements".

(2) 103 countries signed the Protocol by the closing date for signature
on 4 June 2001. Today's ratification by Palau was the fiftieth instrument
of ratification, accession, approval or acceptance required for Protocol
to enter into force, which will happen after ninety days. For the purpose
of entry into force of the Protocol, any instrument deposited by a
regional economic integration organization, such as the European
Community, does not count as additional to those deposited by member
States of such organization.

(3) At entry into force, a number of provisions of the Protocol will take
effect immediately including the following:

a. Countries shipping LMOs for intentional introduction into the
environment will have to give prior notification to the importing country
that is a Party to the Protocol under the Advance Informed Agreement
procedure and provide sufficient information to enable them to make
informed decisions. Those shipments will have to be identified in
accompanying documentation as LMOs with specification of the identity and
characteristics and with a declaration that "the movement is in
conformity with the requirements of the Protocol".

b. Likewise, shipments of bulk LMO commodities intended for direct use
for food, feed or processing will, in the interim, have to be identified
in accompanying documentation as "may contain" LMOs and as "not intended
for intentional introduction into the environment".

c. Countries will be required to use the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH)
to fulfill a number of obligations. The BCH is established under the
Protocol to facilitate the exchange between countries of scientific,
technical, environmental and le gal information on, and experiences with,
LMOs. Specific information that must be made available through the BCH
includes: national biosafety laws; risk assessment summaries; and final
decisions by importing countries with supporting reasons. The pilot phase
of the BCH, which is largely Internet-based, has been developed by the
Secretariat of the Convention and is available at http://bch.biodiv.org/
Pilot/Home.aspx.

d. Any Party that approves for domestic use and marketing LMOs intended
for direct use as food, feed or processing that may be exported will be
required to communicate this decision and details about the LMO to the
world community via the Biosafety Clearing-House.

(4) Additional information about the Protocol is available at the
following Web sites:
http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety
and the Biosafety Clearing-House:
http://bch.biodiv.org/Pilot/Home.aspx.

Frequently asked questions are also available at: http://www.biodiv.org/
biosafety/faqs.asp


Note to journalists: For further information, please contact:
Diana Nicholson: Tel: +1 -514-287-7031, diana.nicholson@biodiv.org or
Erie Tamale: Tel: +1 -514-287-7050, erie.tamale@biodiv.org




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GENET
European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig
Germany

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