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UN meet discusses signing of Nagoya Supplementary Protocol

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 09:21

Hyderabad: The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity held deliberations on key issues including ratifying the `Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress` and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety among others.

"Efforts are being made to adopt a framework to help countries in capacity-building in different components of biosafety. There was a discussion on the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, its current status of ratification and signing," said Charles Gbedemah, an official of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in his briefing to reporters yesterday.

The issues ranging from capacity-building, compliance to the protocol on bio-safety, the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol came up for discussion at the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CoP-MoP 6) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) that began Monday at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) here.

"The Supplementary Protocol which was adopted at Nagoya, Japan in 2010, received 51 signatures and two ratifications by March 6, 2012 when it was proposed for signature. The Supplementary Protocol will enter into force 90 days after 40 Parties have ratified it," Gbedemah said.

The COP-MOP6 will continue discussions and adopt further decisions to contribute to ensuring the safe transfer, handling and the use of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs).

A senior officer of the Ministry of Environment and Forests yesterday said that India was in the process of ratifying the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress under Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD).

The objective of this supplementary protocol is to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account risks to human health, by providing international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to LMOs, he said.

CBD Executive Secretary Braulio F.De Souza Dias had said that he expects the required countries to ratify it in two years so that the protocol can come into force.

The delegates are expected to discuss issues relating to capacity-building, the biosafety clearing-house, the financial mechanism and resources for the protocol`s implementation, risk assessment and management, socio-economic considerations concerning LMOs, compliance with the protocol`s provisions, as well as review of its effectiveness during its session.

The Nagoya Protocol includes a comprehensive plan to protect biodiversity by setting targets for 2020.

The progress in implementing the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress is slow, Gbedemah said.

The slow progress in ratification is due to the time taken by countries to frame their legislations on liability and reddress, he added.

Pending the ratification of the SP to the Convention to the Biodiversity (CBD), civil society activists favoured India developing its own legal framework to deal with issues of liability and redress.

Speaking at the ongoing UN Convention on bio-safety, they said the SP, agreed to by governments, acknowledges that LMOs can cause damage.

"The Supplementary Protocol specifically deals with liability and redress for damage. It lays down rules by which an operator of LMOs will be held accountable if there is damage to biodiversity. To make the SP applicable in their own countries, Governments need to put in place national laws."

Claiming that some private firms may try to avoid the liability under the SP, the activists said it is important for India to develop a legal framework on liability and redress.

LMOs are those organisms that have been genetically modified through the application of biotechnology.

Shalini Bhutani, a legal researcher, said a Parliamentary Standing Committee report also favoured a special legislation to implement the SP, which deals with issues of liability and redress.

The representatives of Coalition for a GM Free India and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture highlighted the alleged ill-effects of GM technology.


First Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 09:20

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