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Theme 3: Possible gaps - objective of the Protocol, types of LMOs, segregation and traceability, thresholds

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Discussion threads - Theme 3: Possible gaps - objective of the Protocol, types of LMOs, segregation and traceability, thresholds

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General comment [#1029]
Dear Kathryn
I would like to make a general comment and ask a question, excuse me if it is  not related to this section.
One of the protocol limitation is that, it just cover living modified organism, whereas most of the Genetically modified food and feed may do not contain Living modified Organism but they have produced from them such as some oil that are produced from transgenic soya. So these kinds of GM products are transported to developing countries (parties to the protocol) without any restrictions or notifications and perhaps developing standards related to parasgraph 3 of Article 18 is also just for identification, handling, package and transport practices of LMOs rather than GMOs. How does this problem can be solved?
Thank you
posted on 2009-05-23 06:41 UTC by Ms. Nasrin Sadat Esmailzadeh, Ministry of Science, Research and Technology
RE: General comment- products-scope [#1134]
Dear Ms. Esmailzadeh,

I am from the Biosafety Team of the Secretariat. This is to provide you with some information in response to your question related to the scope of the Biosafety Protocol.

Indeed, the Protocol does not cover products derived from living modified organisms such as the cooking oil you mentioned produced from genetically modified soya, or flour from genetically modified maize or paper from genetically modified trees. This exclusion was a result of a deliberate decision by the negotiators of the Protocol.

Generally, products are outside of the scope of the Protocol in the sense the decision taking procedures such as the advance informed agreement or other requirements such as identification/ documentation under Article 18 of the Protocol, do not apply to them.  However, relevant information regarding products is required to be made available to the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) along with summaries of risk assessment or environmental reviews of living modified organisms. Such information, required under paragraph 3(c) of Article 20 of the Protocol, is supposed to be made available where appropriate. The paragraph also describes ‘products thereof’ as “processed materials that are of living modified organism origin, containing detectable novel combinations of replicable genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology”. That means the information that should be made available, where appropriate, to the BCH, is only regarding products which fit this description.

You asked how this problem could be solved. I do not foresee the Protocol to be a possible venue to raise or reopen this issue. The domestic sphere is always available for each country to take action that it believes to be more protective of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. It is up to national governments to set regulatory requirements such as for the labelling of products derived from genetically modified organisms. The Protocol reminds us, however, that a Party who decides to take domestic measures must make sure that such measures are consistent with that Party’s other obligations under international law.

I hope this helps. Thank you for your participation in the discussions of the Forum.
(edited on 2009-06-03 17:39 UTC by Mr. Worku Yifru)
posted on 2009-06-03 14:54 UTC by Mr. Worku Yifru, UNEP/SCBD