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SGW on Monitoring of LMOs Released into the Environment

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Work plan for the development of the 3rd draft on monitoring [#2878]
Dear SWG members,

First of all, I want to thank those of you in the SWG that have contributed to previous rounds of discussion. This is an important yet challenging document, strengthened by broad participation stemming from our diverse expertise and perspectives in biosafety. For those of you that have not found the time to participate, I strongly encourage your contributions in this next round.

On the basis of the latest round of discussions, and the on-going consolidation of submitted comments since the closing of the open-ended online forum on November 17th, a number of important critiques have emerged.

First, there has been considerable discussion about the appropriate conceptualization of GS in our document. While there were even some requests for outright removal of the concept, I noted that inclusion of GS as a concept in the document was supported overwhelmingly by comments coming from Parties. Yet to respond to the concerns coming from other Parties less in favor of the way GS is currently framed in the guidance, Hans Bergmans has kindly offered to help re-conceptualize and refine the GS conceptualization in our document.

Second, there was a sense that the inter-linkages between CSM and GS were a bit too nuanced to be useful to the inexperienced user, and that better delineation of these two concepts would be more useful to the target user. To this end, Hans also has a very good handle on these subjects from his extensive background, and has been invited to contribute text for the next draft.

Third, there was support from commentators from Party countries, and particularly ones that have extensive knowledge and scientific publications/reports on the topic of GMO monitoring, that felt the document structure on the was on the right track, but needed refinement for clarity. To this end, efforts to take out redundancies and make clearer the difficult concepts in the monitoring plans will be undertaken on the basis of these comments. This will be done also with consideration of the proposals that came in for shortening presented by some observers in the open-ended online forum.

Lastly, again there were requests from Party commentators, echoed from previous rounds, that the document scope should include a description of monitoring that may arise from a RAs from early rounds of GMO development (e.g. experimental releases and field trials). Thus inclusion of this concept in a clear and concise manner within the body of this document will be attempted. I am awaiting confirmation for assistance with this from SWG member Michael De Shield, who voiced this concern earlier.

Forward work plan

In keeping with the deadlines specified in the Action Plan agreed on in Mexico City, the 3rd draft of our monitoring document should be finalized within the SWG by January 16th. To this end, I would like to keep the following timelines for the development of the third draft:

Present - December 20: Consolidation of comments/integration of invited contributions from selected SWG members
December 21 - 28: Circulation and reading of the proposed 3rd draft within the SWG

December 28 – January 11: Comment/Discussion period by SWG (2 weeks)

January 11 - 15: Consolidation of comments from the SWG

January 15: Draft 3 finalized and sent to Secretariat

January 16: Circulation of 3rd Draft to Open-ended online group

The idea is to have a working draft finished for reading over the holidays (since I am certain this will be welcomed holiday reading material!). Doing so provides for a large window (2 weeks) of discussion and modification at the beginning of the new year to reach a finalized draft 3 by January 16th.

I hope that this timeline is acceptable to all members of the SWG.

Finally, there is opportunity to comment or questions on any of the above within the forum here.

Thank you for your continued support and contribution to this important task.

Kind regards,

David Quist
posted on 2011-12-12 10:33 UTC by David Quist
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