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Online Real-time Conference for Africa on Socio-economic Considerations in Decision-making concerning Living Modified Organisms (English)

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Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:00 UTC
Thank you, Secretariat.

Distinguished colleagues,

Good afternoon and welcome to the English-language real-time online conference for Africa. It is an honour for me to chair this conference.

This series of regional online conferences was requested by the Parties in decision BS-V/3 adopted at their fifth meeting. The conference is intended to:
(i) facilitate the exchange of views, information and experiences on socio-economic considerations on a regional basis; and
(ii) identify possible issues for further consideration  

Our discussions today will focus on the following three areas:
- National experiences with socio-economic considerations in biosafety decision-making;
- Considerations driving inclusion of socio-economic issues in biosafety decision-making; and
- Other issues for further consideration.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:02 UTC
The outcomes of this online conference and those from the other regions will serve as inputs for the workshop on socio-economic considerations, which is tentatively scheduled for November 2011. Furthermore, the Parties also requested the Executive Secretary to synthesize the outcomes of the online conferences and workshop and submit a report to the sixth meeting of the Parties for consideration of further steps.

The real-time conferences are, therefore, an opportunity to provide information and views from your perspective, learn from the views of others and consider possible ways forward.

The importance of active participation and open sharing of information to make this conference a success cannot be stressed enough.

On this note, I declare the conference open!

We will now move to Item 2. Organizational Matters; sub-item 2.1 Adoption of the agenda.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:05 UTC
I invite you to turn to the provisional agenda contained in document UNEP/CBD/BS/REGCONF-SEC/1/1, which was prepared by the Secretariat and reflects the objectives of our meeting.

Unless you have amendments or objections to any of the items, I propose that we adopt the agenda of the meeting as contained in document UNEP/CBD/BS/REGCONF-SEC/1/1.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:06 UTC
I see no requests for the floor.

The provisional agenda as before us is adopted.

Let us now turn to agenda Item 2.2, Organization of work.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:07 UTC
Our conference is scheduled to last for approximately four hours. I propose that we have a break of 15 minutes half-way through the conference or as needed.

I trust that you have prepared your interventions on the basis of the questions contained in the annotations to the provisional agenda that was made available by the Secretariat as document UNEP/CBD/BS/REGCONF-SEC/1/1/Add.1.

I propose that we make use of these questions to assist our deliberations today on each substantive item on our agenda.

I also propose that we take up the items on the agenda sequentially and, as Chair, I will endeavour to keep the discussions moving through the different agenda items in a timely manner. I encourage you to participate in the discussions in a prompt, direct and open manner.

Is there any objection to this organization of work?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:09 UTC
I see no objection. The proposed organization of work is adopted.

I now invite you to turn to item 3 on the agenda.

ITEM 3. SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:10 UTC
The first substantive issue for us to consider is:

ITEM 3.1. NATIONAL EXPERIENCES WITH SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS IN BIOSAFETY DECISION-MAKING

This item is intended to respond to the first objective for the conference. I propose that we spend approximately one hour and a half on this item.

We will use the questions from the annotated agenda (document UNEP/CBD/BS/ REGCONF-SEC/1/1/Add.1) to structure the discussions.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:12 UTC
I will now open the floor on the first guiding question:

(a) Has your country included provisions on socio-economic considerations in its national biosafety framework, biosafety policy, legislation and/or regulations? If yes, briefly describe the relevant provisions.

The floor is open for your comments.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:15 UTC
The Egyptian National Biosafety law (still in draft) integrates socio-economic considerations into the risk assessment approved procedures and hence in decision-making. RA must be conducted "in a transparent and scientifically sound manner" and should also "identify risks which are uncertain or unknown (e.g., due to a lack of appropriate data)". RA must take place in the potential receiving environment, with other major topics including "human activities in that environment".
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:16 UTC
Thank you for the input. Are there any other interventions? Please note the floor is open for your contributions
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 10:17 UTC
Yes, Sudan biosafety law has an article for socioeconomic consideration in RA of GMO
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:18 UTC
Sudan can you elaborate. Do you have details about the specific provisions?
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 10:21 UTC
Congratulations, Abisai and greetings to all colleagues once again. This is truly a unique experience and  an opportuinity to discuss this critical and difficult issue. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for giving me the floor. Yes, Liberia has provisions in its draft Biosafety Act as regards decision- making and Liability and redress. The provisions are as follows:8 No approval shall be given unless it is considered and duly determined by the Competent Authority that the import, transit, contained use, release or placing on the market    of the genetically modified organism or the product of the genetically modified organism:
a) Shall benefit Liberia without causing significant risk to human health, biological diversity and in general the environment;
b) Shall contribute to sustainable development;
c) Shall not have adverse socio-economic impacts; and
d) Shall accord with the ethical values and concerns of communities and does not undermine community knowledge and technologies
The Liability provisions are : 8. Liability shall also extend to harm or damage caused directly or indirectly by the genetically modified organism or product thereof to economic, social or culture conditions, including negative impact on the livelihood or indigenous knowledge systems or technologies of a community or communities or damage or destruction arising from incidence of public disorder triggered by the genetically modified organism or product thereof, disruption or damage to production or agriculture systems, reduction in yields, soil contamination, damage to  biodiversity, damage to the economy of an area or community, and any other consequential damage.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:23 UTC
Thank you Liberia for the input.The floor is still open to all for contributions. This includes non-parties
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:26 UTC
Zimbabwe has specific provisions for socioeconomic issues in its policy and legal framework. These are to be taken into account in biosafety decision making.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:27 UTC
Thank you for your interventions. Let us now please turn to the next question:

(b) What experience does your country have with implementing socio-economic considerations in biosafety decision-making? (For example, has your country taken socio-economic considerations into account in making a decision on a specific LMO or conducted a general technology assessment?)

The floor is now open.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 10:28 UTC
As copied and pasted down is the translation of the definitions considering socioeconomic in Sudans law: "Risk assessment", means the evaluation of direct and indirect risks, in the short, medium or long term, to human health, biodiversity or the environment, including social and economic conditions, or ethical values resulting from importation, exportation, restricted use, and release or marketing of genetically modified organism or a product of a genetically modified organism ;
"Socio-economic impact", means the direct or indirect effects of a genetically modified organism or a product of a genetically modified organism on the economy or the social conditions;
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:30 UTC
Thank you Sudan for bringing this information now for the previous question.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:30 UTC
Egypt recognizes that changes in biodiversity and ecosystems caused by LMOs are linked to pressing socioeconomic (SE) concerns including effects on rural livelihood, public health and food sovereignty. However, the breadth and depth of what is involved in socioeconomic considerations are quite overwhelming; bearing in mind that the society is a complex organism that has evolved in specific contexts where economic, political, social, cultural and ethical spheres constantly interrelate with each other in an intricate manner.

Based on the current knowledge, including the published literature and narratives, the application of biotechnology in agriculture transforms the ecosystem and can also manifest effects on numerous levels of biodiversity; these effects will not limit themselves to areas under agricultural cultivation, but will irreversibly influence even natural protection areas in a manner that cannot be anticipated beforehand. In addition to this, biotechnology can have an effect on agriculture that totally transforms its social characteristics and traditions. Its effects on ownership structures, market relationships, the use of biodiversity will all have effects on society by benefits and costs being distributed in different degrees between the various concerned groups.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 10:32 UTC
Despite the articles we have in the law, yet we did not have an experience of real case to implement these articles.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:32 UTC
For Zimbabwe our experiences have been in making decisions on import of LMOs for food, feed and processing
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 10:33 UTC
We have had no official application for introduction of LMOs into the market  yet. Consequently, we do not have any experience as regards LMOs.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:34 UTC
In Egypt, the overseeing structure (the National Committee for Consideration of GMO Applications) is empowered to co-opt specialists in specific areas of expertise to participate in discussion of specific applications and to hold public hearings on specific applications on its own initiative or upon request from the public, where socio-economic (including religious, spiritual, national security etc. elements) could be raised. Presentations during such hearings have to be evidence-based but no set criteria are required beforehand.

In Egypt, so far, no GM variety has been approved for commercialization.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:35 UTC
Thank you for your interventions. Let us now please turn to the third question under this item:

(c) What have been the main challenges and obstacles to taking socio-economic considerations into account in decision-making? How have these been addressed?

The floor is now open.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 10:38 UTC
According to ISAAA report Egypt has commercialized GM maize. Can you comment Ossama on that
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:39 UTC
For Zimbabwe the major challenge has been lack of guidance on how to carry out the socioeconomic assessments and appropriate skills to undertake the assessments. The other challenge relates to which issues to consider and how to link them to an LMO introduction
Dorothy Mulenga - Regional Agricultural & Environmentak Initiatives Network-Africa - Observer (organisation) 2011-06-16 10:40 UTC
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this Forum on Socio-economic considerations in biosafety decision making.
The Regional Agricultural and Environmental Initiative Network Africa (RAEIN-Africa) has embarked on a project to unpack and understand the implication of Article 26 on socio-economic consideration in biosafety decision making process. During consultations with partners in the region it was noted that a number of countries in the SADC region have made provisions for socio-economic considerations in their National Biosafety Frameworks. the challenge is how to carry out this Socio-econmic impact assessment

RAEIN-Africa is a Southern African Network (NGO) based in Namibia that working the areas of Agriculture, Environment as well as Science and Technology. The Network uses the innovation systems approach to bring together science and technology, policy and society to ensure sustainable livelihoods development. For more information visit our website: www.raein-africa.org
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:42 UTC
Main challenges to taking socio-economic considerations into account in decision making can include:
1. the lack of proper internationally agreed methodologies to assess Socio-economic impacts;
2. lack of accurate knowledge on level of presence and persistence of LMOs in the environment and food webs,
3. Current gaps of knowledge and uncertainties on the safety of LMOs and potential impact on conservation and sustainable of biological diversity as well as on public health.
4. Underestimation of the importance of the socioeconomic considerations in light of international trade agreements and R&D.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:43 UTC
Those challenges can be mainly addressed by capacity building activities aiming to improve national competence on:
- Defining socio-economic considerations in the context of GMO use and application
- Socio-economic research based on the premises of ecological economics and methodological pluralism
- Methodologies for transparent and active public participation on socio-economic impact assessment.
- Analysis of cases of biosafety or environmental decision-making that include socio-economic considerations.
- Socio-economic evaluation of local alternatives to GMOs
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 10:44 UTC
Point of order! We can not follow with these long test and many issues opened at the same time. Pls lets move step by step and close issue by issue. Thanks
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 10:45 UTC
Since  we have   not recieved  applications for LMOs introduction nor are there any homegrown variety of any kind,  there has been nothing   to warrant decision-making. But we share those concerns that have been  indicade by others.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:50 UTC
Sudan your point of order is noted. Are there anymore inputs or questions before we move on to the next question?
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 10:51 UTC
Mr. Chair, I also feel that we need to analyse some of the issues being raised for in-depth discussions. Otherwise, this might be just a forum to present problems.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:52 UTC
Thank you Liberia for the comments. Can you open up the issues for indepth analysis
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 10:54 UTC
Sudan. Thank you for your interesting question.  Please refer to the BCH where it is clear that a request for such import and an approval decision on this particular GM has not been taken by Egypt for either cultivation(Article 7) or for use as food, feed or processing (Article 11) by a legal entity authorized by law to follow implementation of the CPB in Egypt.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:56 UTC
Remember we are focusing on the challenges encountered in taking into account socioeconomic considerations and how those challeges were addressed
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:57 UTC
Are there any more inputs in line with Liberia's request? otherwise we move to the next item
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 10:58 UTC
I will consider that in our next discussion point, Mr. Chair.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 10:58 UTC
Thank you. I invite you to move to the final question under this agenda item:

(d) Does your country have experience with socio-economic considerations in other sectors besides biosafety? (For example, have socio-economic considerations been included in decision-making processes for other products such as pharmaceuticals or in planning and decision-making for development projects using methodologies such as social impact assessments or strategic environmental assessment?)

This question is intended to identify relevant experience and information on socio-economic considerations in other fields besides biosafety.

The floor is open for your interventions.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 11:01 UTC
Yes. Our Environment Protection and Management Law requires that before the commencement of any project or activity that may have significant environmental impact, the proponent   conducts EIA and obtains a permit from the EPA. The EIA involves assessment of both environmental and social impacts. Some socio-economic issues that we have identified and addressed include loss of income and livelihood, land tenure, human health, etc.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:03 UTC
For Zimbabwe, socioeconomic impacts are taken into account in most development projects. Our environmental impact assessment also has socioeconomic components . however, no standardised instruments exist
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:04 UTC
Liberia, what types of projects would merit socio-economic impact assessments? Are you in a position to shed some light?
Marnus Gouse - University of Pretoria - Observer (organisation) 2011-06-16 11:06 UTC
Dear Chair,
Apologies for taking a step backwards.
I am not responding as a South Africa representative but as a South Africa based observer. In order to add to the discussion I can indicate that South Africa (SA) does require a socio-economic impact study when considering GM commodity imports and general release (additional to the risk assessments). This requirement has only been added in recent years to bring the SA regulatory approach in line with the Protocol.
The provision states “Specify what, if any, positive or negative socio-economic impacts the GM plant will have on communities in the proposed region of release”.

There are currently no guideline on what exactly need to be included and submitted socio-economic studies have been quite comprehensive and broader than the biodiversity focus.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:08 UTC
Thank you UP for the intervention.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 11:08 UTC
All projects with potential adverse impacts including forestry, large scale agricultural plantations, mining, fishery, etc.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:09 UTC
Thank you liberia for the intervention. If there are no more inputs we will move to the next item on our agenda
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:10 UTC
I thank all of you for the lively discussion on national experiences. I propose that we now move to the next item on the agenda:

3.2 CONSIDERATIONS DRIVING INCLUSION OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC ISSUES IN BIOSAFETY DECISION-MAKING

This agenda item is also intended to respond to the first objective for the conference. I propose that we spend approximately one hour on this item.

As outlined in the annotated agenda, paragraph 1 of Article 26 of the Biosafety Protocol allows Parties to take socio-economic considerations into account in their decision-making on living modified organisms but it does not require Parties to do so. Countries that decide to include socio-economic considerations in their decision-making will do so for specific reasons or in order to achieve certain goals or objectives.

I suggest that we again use the questions from the annotated agenda to structure the discussions.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:11 UTC
I will now open the floor on the first guiding question:

(a) What goals does your country wish to achieve by taking socio-economic considerations into account in decision-making on LMOs?

The floor is now open.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 11:12 UTC
- Ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, especially with regard to the value of biological diversity to indigenous and local communities.
- Reduce, mitigate and , as much as possible, prevent all LMOs potential adverse effects including potential adverse effects on rural livelihood, public health and food sovereignty taking into account the specific context of national consumer habits, patterns and practices.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:15 UTC
For Zimbabwe, the goals are to do with sustainable development. How can development come with minimal negative impacts on households, communities, the ennvironment and the national economy. The areas are market access, food security, sustainable livelihoods, freedom of choice, equity and sustainable agriculture.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 11:17 UTC
Examples of our socioeconomic consideration are: 1. Impact on maintaince of farmers varieties and local landraces due to domination of GM varieties. 2. Farmers ability to cover the cost of GM seeds every year. 3. Effect on labor income with technologies where less labor is needed (e.g. herbicide tolerance.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:18 UTC
Dear delegates. This is a very important question and I hope you will be able to provide some insights into the major goals that underpin requirements are socioeconomic considerations.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 11:22 UTC
Liberia seeks to achieve the following goals thrrough socio-economic consideration in its biosafety requirements: Protection of human health from possible adverse effect of LMOs
• Ensuring sustainable livelihoods of local and vulnerable communities from potential adverse
• Traditional knowledge, cultural values and norms which have significantly contributed to biodiversity, are maintained.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:25 UTC
Is there anybody who wants to add in something before we move on to the next sub-item?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:26 UTC
Thank you. Let us please move to the second question:

(b) What socio-economic factors would need to be assessed to achieve the goals identified?

The floor is open.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 11:27 UTC
What needs to be assessed, depending on the case, includes a combination of one or more of the following considerations:
1. Social considerations:

a. Impacts on farmers’ rights: (potential consequences of GMOs on the traditional practice of farmers in saving, reusing, sharing, exchanging, and selling farm-saved seeds to save seeds. The inherent right of farmers to seed saving and exchange is legally protected by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Governments are entrusted to protect farmers’ rights through national legislation, a task which has not been easy for many countries that have also committed to protect IPRs of seed companies under international trade agreements, such as the Agreement on Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the WTO.
b. Impacts on women and gender role
c. Consumer concerns: (Price matters for most consumers, especially in developing countries, however it is not the only factor that determines consumer responses to new products introduced in the market. Consumer acceptance is highly influenced by cultural and ethical values, and perceptions on health and environmental safety of the product.)

2. Economic considerations:
a. Trade: (the ability of developing countries to compete in the international market if they decide to venture into commercial production of GM crops. Although GM crops promise to address specific problems related to particular pests and diseases, the quality of the product largely depends on the conditions in which they are produced and the management practices under which they are grown.)
b. Markets: (the price of agricultural commodities is highly sensitive to and dictated by supply and demand, GMOs that promise yield improvements may affect market behavior. Particularly vulnerable are developing countries whose economies are highly dependent on the production and export of specific agricultural products.)
c. Income security: (Economic cost- benefit analysis taking into account the specific farming practices and conditions of farmers).
d. Rural labor: (The situation in industrial agriculture predominant in developed countries, where the cost and availability of labor is a major production cost, is vastly different from the situation in household-based farming that characterizes agriculture in many developing countries where labor is readily available, abundant and often cheap. For instance, the introduction of herbicide-resistant GM crops that eliminates the need for weeding or tilling of the soil during land preparation will potentially have grave long-term impacts on rural labor.)
e. Income and wealth distribution: (Companies that develop GMO products intend to recoup their investments on research and development, through the intellectual property rights (IPR) system and marketing schemes. In situations where the GM variety is more expensive than the non-GM, companies may adopt a targeted marketing scheme that primarily offers its GM to rich and middle-income farmers who can afford the higher cost of seeds. If the companies’ claims with regards to their products are real, those who will benefit from this promise are obviously those farmers who can afford the cost of seeds and who already have relatively high income to start with. This situation will expectedly aggravate the problem of income inequality and wealth distribution in the rural areas.
f. Control over tools and relation to production in the particular context where the technology is introduced, questions like will the dissemination of GM seeds provide opportunities for poor farmers to have some control over the tools of production, or will it further entrench control of particular segments of the community over farm inputs, processing and marketing?
g. Food security: (With the cultivation of GM crops in the developing world, household food security may face the threat of conversion of land areas traditionally planted with food crops for the production of commodity crops for industrial use and export.)
h. Food aid: (Many poor countries are confronted by emergency situations that inhibit farmers from producing their own food, particularly in areas affected by war, widespread conflicts, natural calamities, drought, and famine. In those situation countries should be able to formulate its position in procuring food aid from sources that could assure GMO-free food supply, whenever possible and available.)
i. Co-existence and GMO contamination: (The risk of transfer of pollen is particularly high for cross-pollinating crops, such as corn and canola. Producers of non-GM crops risk having their crops contaminated by nearby GM crops whose pollen can travel long distances by wind or with the aid of insects. This situation is expected to be much more complicated in most developing countries where landholdings are much smaller and distances between farms are much shorter. In addition to this GMO contamination of conventional crops, and of wild and weedy relatives, poses serious threats to biodiversity and the genetic base for long-term food security.)
j. Organic agriculture: (organic agricultural products have increasingly become important to the economy of many developing countries in recent years. Organic certification standards generally do not allow GMO contents. Should contamination of organic crops occur, farmers would lose the organic certification status for those crops and the premium prices they command.)
k. Intellectual properties rights: (Concerns about the implications of IPRs for GMOs extend beyond the economic sphere. This includes impacts of IPRs on public access to knowledge and technological innovations.)
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:35 UTC
Thank Egypt for sharing your experiences. Can I please kindly ask you to reduce the amount of text you post at a time to allow for easy assimilation?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:37 UTC
For Zimbabwe the focus is on seed security, sustainable livelihoods, market access, consumer choice, co-existence with other forms of agriculture, impact on labour, gender and diverse food base
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 11:38 UTC
Consideration needs to be given to the following: • Adverse health impact of LMOs on human
• Socio-economic impact on communities and people
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:40 UTC
Thank you Liberia for your input. Is there anyone who wants to add more to Egypt's exhaustive list?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:41 UTC
I see no one. Egypt did you want to take the floor for the second time?
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 11:42 UTC
no thanks chair. just to say note taken
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:42 UTC
Thank you once again. Let us please turn to the final question under this agenda item:

(c) What capacity-building does your country require to meet the goals identified?

The floor is open for your comments.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 11:43 UTC
- Training modules, guidelines and tool kit on:
• Possible elements of socioeconomic considerations (in the context of Article 26 of the Protocol) and criteria that could assist in determining which socio-economic considerations they wish to include in their decision-making frameworks
• ways to properly integrate socioeconomic considerations including human health in the process of risk assessment
• ways in which socio-economic issues could be considered in the decision making process on LMOs with a view to enable the development of training for socio-economic considerations
• Possible elements of socioeconomic considerations that need to be monitored after the introduction of GMOs
-  Capacity-building to carry out assessments of the socioeconomic effects of the use of GMOs
- Capacity-building to promote public awareness, education and participation concerning socioeconomic considerations in the context of GMO applications and decision making
- Capacity-building to establish regional and international cooperation for sharing experience with regards to socioeconomic considerations including best practices and lessons learnt.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:47 UTC
For Zimbabwe: Guidance material on socioeconomic impact assessment of LMOs, guidance of how to integrate socioeconomic impact assessments into biosafety decision making and training on how to actually undertake socio-economic impact assessment of LMOs
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 11:48 UTC
In Line with what Egypt has said, some of the capacity needs may include the following: Tools to conduct socio-economic surveys
Technical and scientific capacity to assess health impact of LMOs
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:50 UTC
Dear delegates, the floor is open for interventions. I will welcome inputs from all including observers. I know there are some observers with experience or projects in this area
Dorothy Mulenga - Regional Agricultural & Environmentak Initiatives Network-Africa - Observer (organisation) 2011-06-16 11:53 UTC
RAEIN-Africa is in a process of developing a guideline for Socio-economic impact assessment . A number of issues for consideration mentioned above were identified by our socio-economic research team during the case studies in the SADC region RAEIN -africa acknowledges the is need for capacity building in carrying out SEI assessment
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 11:54 UTC
I thank you all for your participation and the interesting interventions that we’ve had so far.

I now suggest that we break for 15 minutes.

We shall continue our discussion on the next and final substantive issue on the agenda (Item 3.3) as soon as we return from the break.

I kindly ask you to be back at your computers in exactly 15 minutes as we will recommence on time.

The meeting is adjourned until 1210 (GMT).
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:12 UTC
Distinguished delegates,

Welcome back to our conference. I trust you are refreshed and ready to continue. I invite you to turn to the third and final substantive item in our agenda:

ITEM 3.3. OTHER ISSUES FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.

As I indicated at the beginning of the conference, one of the objectives for the conference is to identify possible issues for further consideration. These issues will help to inform the organization of the workshop on socio-economic considerations scheduled to take place later this year. The issues will also be included in the synthesis of the online conference that will be submitted to the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties on the Biosafety Protocol (COP-MOP 6) for its consideration.

We may again use the questions from the annotated agenda as the starting point for our discussions under this item.

I propose that we spend most of our remaining time on this agenda item.
Marnus Gouse - University of Pretoria - Observer (organisation) 2011-06-16 12:13 UTC
Distinguished Chair,
If I may, and I am not sure that this is in line with my role as observer, pose a question or two for clarity. If this is not in line with my role, please disregard this submission.
1) Based on the submissions, would it be safe to say that countries’ socio-economic concerns do not only regard the potential socio-economic impacts as a result of a change in biodiversity but that it is also about ensuring that the introduction and adoption of the technology results in sustainable benefits? Such a study should thus assess the total supply chain and identify potential impacts but also factors that might limit the benefit of the technology?
2) Different to the scientific risk assessments (environmental and food and feed safety) this socio-economic assessment should indentify both potential positive and negative impacts?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:16 UTC
I guess you would like the assessment to focus on both positive and negative impacts. What do other delegates think of UP's proposal?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:18 UTC
Let me take this opportunity to welcome Malawi as delegates think over UP's submission
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:20 UTC
I will now open the floor for your comments on the first guiding question:

(a) How should operational objective 1.7 of the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for the Period 2011-2020 be implemented? The operational objective is “to, on the basis of research and information exchange, provide relevant guidance on socio-economic considerations that may be taken into account in reaching decisions on the import of living modified organisms”.

The floor is open.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 12:22 UTC
Certainly assessment nees to consider both negative and positive impact.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:24 UTC
Is there a problem? Egypt did you ask for the floor? Malawi do you want the floor?
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:24 UTC
Although cost- benefit analysis may be useful in the decision making process on LMOs . we believe this will limit the scope of socioeconomic considerations. Protection goals and assessment endpoints need to be considered from the beginning in framing the risk hypothesis and are normally formulated as risks.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:25 UTC
Thank you Egypt for your contribution. Malawi, do you want to take the floor?
Caroline Theka - Malawi - Party 2011-06-16 12:30 UTC
Thank you Abisai, good afternoon everyone
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:31 UTC
Potential benefits may also be considered in the decision making, bearing in mind that they are "potential" and need to be proven in an adequate way. and they are normally considered compared to cost because in some situation you may have a cost (e.g. monitoring cost) that exceed the potential benefit
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:31 UTC
Thank you all for your response to the UP input. Are there still some people who would like to contribute to the UP intervention? If not then let us go back to item 3.3(a)
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:35 UTC
we think that there might be a need to establish an Ad Hoc Expert Group on Socio-Economic Considerations, in accordance with the consolidated modus operandi of the SBSTTA of the Convention on Biological Diversity (decision VIII/10 of the Conference of the Parties, annex III)
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 12:37 UTC
The  Strategic objective may also  be implemented through preparation of guidelines and the conduct of regional  workshops on socio-economic issues.
Caroline Theka - Malawi - Party 2011-06-16 12:38 UTC
I second Egypt's proposition.  That way all possible considerations will be taken care of
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 12:38 UTC
I support the idea of th Ad hoc expert group on socioeconimic consideration to come up with guide lines on this issue.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 12:42 UTC
The setting up of Ad hoc expert group is okay. It must be regionally balanced.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:42 UTC
We believe that the following 4 points form the core issues that need to be addressed by the Ad Hoc technical group:
• Possible elements of socioeconomic considerations (in the context of Article 26 of the Protocol) and criteria that could assist in determining which socio-economic considerations they wish to include in their decision-making frameworks
• Possible elements of socioeconomic considerations that need to be monitored after the introduction of GMOs
• ways to properly integrate socioeconomic considerations including human health in the process of risk assessment
• ways in which socio-economic issues could be considered in the decision making process on LMOs with a view to enable the development of training for socio-economic considerations
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:43 UTC
Anymore contributions on item 3.3. (a)? Otherwise we move to the next question
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:44 UTC
Thank you very much. Let us please move to the second question under Item 3.3.:

(b) What are some key issues for your region that should be discussed during the workshop on socio-economic considerations?

The floor is open for your views.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 12:45 UTC
I add: Capacity to analyse and interpret socioeconomic data related to RA
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:46 UTC
Thank you Sudan. Let us move to 3.3.b
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:48 UTC
I believe that the same 4 points in my prevous intervention represent the key issues for a regional workshop, together with the analysis and lesson learnt form existing experiences
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 12:50 UTC
1. Existing capcity to under take socioeconomic consideration, gaps, needs and challenges as an over view to national status. 2. Possibility of regionl harmonization or complementation to help countries ineed for support to undertake socioeconomic RA. Roster of expert in this area might be useful
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:51 UTC
I think some of the key issues are capacity building for the socioeconomic impact assessment of LMOs, development of guidance for socioeconomic impact of LMOs and cooperation in socioeconomic research
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 12:52 UTC
Development of tools to collect and analyse socio-economic data Sharing of national experiences on socio-economic issues relative to LMOs
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:56 UTC
Liberia thank you very much for your contribution. Earlier on we tried to ask for experiences but the response was poor. Could it be because of time limitations. Do you think there is enough experience to share
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 12:57 UTC
I think that experts on Socioeconomics already form a part of the BCH roster on expert . There might be also a need for a specific search engine on the BCH to easly find information relevant to socioeconomics. perhaps Giovanni or Stephan can comment on this issue.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:58 UTC
Thank you Egypt for your useful comments. Secretariat do you want to comment or shed some light?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 12:59 UTC
While the Secretariat prepares to respond, I will heve Liberia
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 12:59 UTC
I think other countries not in this forum may have a wealth of experiences to gain from. Besides, the experiences need to be in depth.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:00 UTC
I thought we can have contribution from countries with experience in GM approval or those who are  considering trails in GMs and are very soon. One report has listed a number of countries but it seems that much of these reports are not involving biosafety authoraties in these countries
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:02 UTC
I see a strong interest in sharing experiences any more comments before the secretariat?
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:02 UTC
Thank you for the question. The Biosafety Information Resource Centre (BIRC) in the BCH allows you to search by thematic area, which includes an area on socio-economic and trade issues. Within this category, there are a number of sub-categories that allow you to refine your search. The link is here: http://bch.cbd.int/database/resources/ As of today, there are 141 records classified under socio-economics in the BIRC.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:04 UTC
Thank you Secretariat for the reference. Are there any more comments on this issue?
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:05 UTC
Thank you for sharing your views.

I invite you to consider a further question:
What are some key issues for your region that should be discussed at COP-MOP 6 in the context of socio-economic considerations?

The floor is open.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:09 UTC
assistance to conduct regional capacity building and training WS on Socioeconomic consideration and development of guidelines to assist African countries (and others)  in this issue.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 13:10 UTC
I would like to support Sudan on this issue of capacity building
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 13:12 UTC
I agree with Sudan also.
Caroline Theka - Malawi - Party 2011-06-16 13:14 UTC
So do I, capacity building is key
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:14 UTC
Anymore request for the floor?
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 13:15 UTC
We also hope that the Issue of establishing an Ad Hoc technical group on Socio-economics be discussed at COP-MOP6
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:17 UTC
Thank you for the points you have raised.

I invite you now to raise any other issues for further consideration that have not already been identified.

The floor is now open.
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 13:22 UTC
The attendance at this forum was not too encouraging. I wish that we would do better next time.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 13:22 UTC
there might be also a need for funding projects that focus on capacity building with regards to socioeconomics considerations on national and regional level
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:25 UTC
There were 15 participants who pre-registered for this conference and seven who have actually connected and joined the discussions. We agree that a higher level of attendance would have been preferable but we are pleased with the discussions that have taken place.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:27 UTC
I am not sure if it is possible to open the issue for futher comments and contribution from other parties in Africa to get their experience and views on how to consider socioeconomic and allow the secretaiat to incorporate these contributions in the out come of this conference to produce African vision on the issue.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:33 UTC
I agree with the secretariat the number is not bad but perhaps we wanted more to show up . Anyway,  I don't know if it is possible to open the  outcome of the conference for the other parties in the African region for further comments within a short limited time before we have a final report.
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 13:36 UTC
I have to admit that I am pleased of the discussion that have been taken place
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:36 UTC
Me too
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:37 UTC
The discussion groups on socio-economics that were held from March to May were an opportunity to gather input on socio-economic considerations from a range of perspectives over a longer period of time. The real-time conferences are following the rules of procedure of face-to-face meetings so unfortunately, it would not be possible for others to provide inputs after the fact.
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:39 UTC
Thanks for the clarification
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:43 UTC
Unfortunately, we seem to be losing the connection with the Chair. It also appears as though we have identified issues for further consideration. The Secretariat worked with the Chair in preparing for this conference so we are aware of how he wished to proceed.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:43 UTC
Thank you very much for all your comments and your active participation. I am confident that the deliberations under this regional conference have provided an important opportunity for us to exchange information on socio-economic considerations at the regional level.

The conference has also provided valuable input to the workshop on socio-economic considerations and the deliberations on this matter that will take place at COP-
Ossama Abdel-kawy - Egypt - Party 2011-06-16 13:44 UTC
I would like to thank the chair and the secretariat for their commitment and effort and I would to thank the conference participants for their useful interventions that offered food for thought.
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:45 UTC
I am back sorry our connection is on and off now
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim - Sudan - Party 2011-06-16 13:46 UTC
Iwould like also to add my voice to the others in thanking the chair and the secretariat for this very successful conference
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:47 UTC
This concludes our consideration of the substantive items under agenda item 3.

We will now move to:

ITEM 4. OTHER MATTERS

I will open the floor for approximately 5 minutes or more if needed for any suggestions, comments, etc. that you may wish to make that are relevant to the mandate of this conference.

The floor is now open.
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:50 UTC
It appears there are no other matters. On behalf of the Chair, we may now move to the final item on our agenda for today:

ITEM 5. CLOSURE OF THE CONFERENCE

As we approach the end of our conference, I would like to invite the Secretariat to make some final remarks.

Secretariat, you have the floor.
Kathryn Garforth - UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety - Secretariat 2011-06-16 13:51 UTC
We would like to thank all of you for taking part in today’s real-time conference. A special thanks goes to Mr. Abisai Mafa for his work in chairing the conference.
The Secretariat’s experience with real-time conferences over the past few years has demonstrated that they are a good means of sharing information and building common ground prior to face-to-face meetings. We are confident that the outcomes from today’s conference and those that are to follow in other regions will similarly set the stage for the workshop on socio-economic considerations that is to be held later this year.
The full transcript of this conference will be available on this web page a few minutes after the closure of the conference. We encourage you to read the outcomes from the other real-time conferences that will take place in the coming days and weeks.
Thank you all and enjoy the rest of your day!
Johansen T. Voker - Liberia - Party 2011-06-16 13:52 UTC
I also congratulate the Secretariat for the wonderful arranagemnet to bring us close together, albeit miles apart, to discuss this important issue. Thanks, Abisai for excellent job. Fellow participants thanks for your useful contributions . I learned a lot form this exercise.
Caroline Theka - Malawi - Party 2011-06-16 13:53 UTC
thank you very much for this opportunity and experience. I believe this will go a long way in improving biosafety issues and systems in Africa and world over
Abisai Mafa - Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe - Chairperson 2011-06-16 13:58 UTC
Thank you, Secretariat both for your remarks and for your assistance in organizing this conference.

I would like also to thank all the participants and guests who have taken part in making today’s conference a success. I think we can all look forward to following the next steps on this challenging issue under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

With that, I declare the English-language African Real-time Online Conference on Socio-Economic Considerations, closed.

Thank you!

List of Participants

Chair Person #
Abisai Mafa
Biosafety Board of Zimbabwe
63
Party #
Ossama Abdel-kawy
Egypt
21
Johansen T. Voker
Liberia
18
Caroline Theka
Malawi
4
Abdelbagi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim
Sudan
16
Observers #
Dorothy Mulenga
Regional Agricultural & Environmentak Initiatives Network-Africa
2
Marnus Gouse
University of Pretoria
2
Guests #
Emilio Rodriguez Cerezo
European Commission-Joint Research Centre-Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
-
Gregory Jaffe
Center for Science in the Public Interest
-
Rodrigo Diaz
Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino
-
Secretariat #
Charles Gbedemah
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
-
Erie Tamale
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
-
Giovanni Ferraiolo
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
-
Kathryn Garforth
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
6
Stéphane Bilodeau
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
-
Ulrika Nilsson
UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
-

   
   
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