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Resources

Official documents

  • Notification 2011-016 - Socio-economic considerations (Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety): Inter-sessional activities emanating from COP-MOP decision BS-V/3, paragraphs 21 to 26. en es fr
  • Notification 2011-091 - Regional Online Real-time Conferences on Socio-economic Considerations (Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety). en es fr
  • Nomination form to participate in the online discussion groups & regional online real-time conferences en es fr
  • Summary Report on the Survey on the Application of and Experience in the Use of Socio-Economic Considerations in Decision-Making on Living Modified Organisms - information document UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/5/INF/10 prepared for the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Protocol en

Official documents for the workshop:
  • Provisional Agenda: en
  • Annotations to the Provisional Agenda: en
  • Synthesis of information on experiences with socio-economic considerations in decision-making in areas other than biosafety (UNEP/CBD/BS/WS-SEC/1/2): en
  • Synthesis of information on national experiences with socio-economic considerations in decision-making on living modified organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/WS-SEC/1/3): en
  • Synthesis of information on capacity-building and socio-economic considerations (UNEP/CBD/BS/WS-SEC/1/4): en
  • Synthesis of views on next steps regarding socio-economic considerations (UNEP/CBD/BS/WS-SEC/1/5): en
  • Socio-Economic Considerations: Summary of Submissions Received from Parties, Other Governments and Relevant Organisations (UNEP/CBD/BS/REGCONF-SEC/1/INF/1): en
  • Summary Report on the Survey on the Application of and Experience in the Use of Socio-Economic Considerations in Decision-Making on Living Modified Organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/5/INF/10): en

Official documents for the real-time conferences:
  • Provisional Agenda: en | es | fr
  • Annotations to the Provisional Agenda: en | es | fr
  • Socio-Economic Considerations: Summary of Submissions Received from Parties, Other Governments and Relevant Organisations: en

The official documents are the same for all the Real-time Conferences.

You are also invited to consult the Socio-Economic Considerations page of the Protocol's website for relevant background information.

Other relevant material from the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • CBD Technical Series No. 26, Biodiversity in Impact Assessment: Background Document to Decision VIII/28 of the Convention on Biological Diversity: Voluntary Guidelines on Biodiversity-Inclusive Impact Assessment En | Es | Fr
  • Database of case studies on biodiversity and impact assessment
  • Akwé: Kon guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessment regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities Ar | En | Es | Fr | Ru | Zh

Submissions

Information submitted to the Secretariat in accordance with notification 2011-016 will be made available in this section in due course. Due to the extensive number of submissions received, making them available will take some time.

Participants may also make additional information available through the document exchange function below. Please do not add documents that have already been submitted to the Secretariat.

Thank you for your patience.

Document Exchange
Participants registered in the discussion groups are invited to upload relevant documents here
(Please sign in to the BCH and click on + add to upload)
Submitted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Senate Joint Memorial 38. 48th Legislature - State of New Mexico - First Session, 2007.
Submitted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. The commercial introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has revealed a broad range of views among scientists and other stakeholders on perspectives of genetic engineering (GE) and if and how GMOs should be regulated. Within this controversy, the precautionary principle has become a contentious issue with high support from skeptical groups but resisted by GMO advocates. How to handle lack of scientific understanding and scientific disagreement are core issues within these debates. This article examines some of the key issues affecting precaution as a legal standard and as an approach to the use of science in decision-making processes. It is pointed out that there is a need for reflection over the level of scientific evidence required for applying the precautionary principle as well as who should have the burden of proof when there are uncertainties. Further, an awareness of the broader scientific uncertainties found in GMO risk assessment implies that a precautionary approach must be elaborated: both for acknowledging uncertainties and for identification of scientific responses. Since precaution is an important issue within the sustainable development framework, it is suggested that sustainability can provide a normative standard that can help to reveal the influence and negotiate the importance of the various forms of uncertainty. Wise management of uncertainties and inclusion of normative aspects in risk assessment and management may help to ensure sustainable and socially robust GMO innovations at present and in the future.
Submitted by the European Union and by Third World Network This report aims to identify and explore the issues relevant to socio-economic impacts of GMOs and provide recommendations for policy development and further research. Research was structured along the following main questions: (i) what are socioeconomic effects of GMOs and what are the relevant issues and controversies? (ii) Whether and how can socioeconomic effects be differentiated or clustered e.g. according to the specific GMO, the intended application or the type of release? (iii) How could socioeconomic effects be assessed in the course of GMO market authorisations? Furthermore (iv), the study should explore the awareness and views of Austrian stakeholders on this topic. The study draws on a review of published literature and policy documents as well as phone interviews with stakeholders in Austria.
Submission from the Government of Bolivia. It contains a summary of socio-economic concerns related to living modified organisms and identifies gaps of knowledge and capacity-building needs.
Submitted by the African Centre for Biosafety. This article summarises the results of five years of research undertaken by Biowatch South Africa on the socio-economic impact of Bt cotton on small-scale farmers in South Africa. It forms part of a comprehensive research paper on the topic.
Submission from the Government of Niger. It contains a description of the socio-economic characteristics of Niger as well as its scientific, technical and legislative capacity-building needs.
Submission from the Global Industry Coalition. Any guidance from the Liaison Group on Capacity Building in Biosafety (Liaison Group) addressing socio-economic considerations in decision-making on living modified organisms (LMOs) should appropriately remain within the scope of the language of Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Protocol), which requires that these considerations: must be taken into account in a manner consistent with Parties’ international obligations; and must be limited to those arising from the potential impact of LMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Additionally, work on this issue should respect the mandate assigned by the Parties and focus on continued research and information-exchange within this context, with the goal of informing the discussion at MOP-6 on capacity building needs in this area.
Submission from the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Although there is a strong controversy regarding the introduction and commercialisation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe, GM maize has been sown in Spain since 1998. Stakeholders' positions on the role that GMOs play in trends of the state of agriculture and environment in Catalonia are analysed. The application of the Driving forces -Pressures - State - Impact - Responses (DPSIR) framework in this case study highlights its potential for organising and structuring information. However, the model can be ambiguous when used as an analytical tool in value-laden complex situations. Thus, GM agriculture is sometimes seen as a pressure on the agro-environment and sometimes as a modernising response to an economic and environmental crisis. A redefinition of the DPSIR categories is proposed, aiming to reflect on these situations by better acknowledging different legitimate perspectives and narratives. This is done, on the one hand, by allowing alternative descriptions of causal chains and, on the other hand, by taking into consideration social and political aspects besides the relationship between economics and environmental spheres.
Submission from the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. The introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe has been characterized by controversy. In 2002, the European Union introduced the concept of ''coexistence'' as a compromise solution that, through the establishment of science-based technical measures, should allow the market to operate freely while reducing policy conflicts on GMOs. However, the concept remains highly contested and the technical measures difficult to apply. This paper presents qualitative research on the conceptualization and implementation of the coexistence framework in two regions of Spain (Catalonia and Aragon), where 42% and 55% of maize was GM in 2006, respectively. In this context, the concept of coexistence and its proposed implementation both fail to resolve previous conflicts and actually work to generate new ones through the individualization of choice and impacts. Considerations of the social conditions in which the technology and the management measures are implemented were not taken into account. This resulted in the promotion of biotechnological agriculture over other alternatives.
Submission from the European Union and its 27 Member States. The Commission staff working paper accompanies the report prepared by the Commission summarizing and analyzing the answers of European Union Members States to a questionnaire on the socio-economic implications of GMO cultivation (the report may be found under BCH record 101795.) The Commission staff working paper contains the questionnaire prepared by the Commission on the socio-economic implications of the placing on the market of GMOs for cultivations; non-exhaustive summaries of individual contributions of the 25 Member States that completed the questionnaire; and a bibliography of the available peer-reviewed literature on the socio-economic dimensions of the cultivation of GMOs.
Submission from the Government of Mexico. This is a background paper to the report "Informe de la Visita de Personal de la Secretaria Ejecutiva de la Comision Intersecretarial de Bioseguridad de los Organismos Geneticamente Modificados A Pueblos de la Tribu Yaqui del Estado de Sonora" posted below.
Submitted by Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan. Genetically-modified herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) canola was introduced in Western Canada in 1995. In 2007, a producer survey elicited answers to 80 questions regarding their experiences, including production practices, tillage and herbicide use, control of volunteer canola, and weed-control practices. The survey revealed that the new technology generated between $1.063 billion CAD and $1.192 billion annual net direct and indirect benefits for producers from 2005-2007; this is partly attributed to lower input costs and partly attributed to better weed control. One major concern in the early years following introduction was the potential for HT traits to outcross with weedy relatives or for GMHT canola to become a pervasive and uncontrollable volunteer in non-canola crops, either of which would offset some producer gains. The survey largely discounts that concern. More than 94% of respondents reported that weed control was the same or had improved, less than one-quarter expressed any concern about herbicide resistance in weed populations, 62% reported no difference in controlling for volunteer GM canola than for regular canola, and only 8% indicated that they viewed volunteer GM canola to be one of the top five weeds they need to control.
Submission from the European Union and Hungary. The study focuses on the international state and legislative environment of the agricultural biotechnology industry, an evaluation of agricultural biotechnology in the food supply chain and other economic analyses and lessons.
Submission from the European Union and its 27 Member States. This document contains views and information on socio-economic considerations from a number of the Member States of the European Union.
Submission from the European Union and the Czech Republic. This publication summarizes Czech experience with cultivation of genetically modified maize since 2005. In the publication, you can find, among other things, direct experience of Czech Bt maize growers, findings from a farmers' survey and varietal testing of Bt maize, economic evaluation of Bt maize cultivation, monitoring results of the biological effectiveness of Bt maize etc.
Submitted by Prof. Ian J. Mauro, Mount Allison University. Background, aim, and scope: The controversy over the world's first genetically modified (GM) wheat, Roundup Ready wheat (RRW), challenged the efficacy of 'science-based' risk assessment, largely because it excluded the public, particularly farmers, from meaningful input. Risk analysis, in contrast, is broader in orientation as it incorporates scientific data as well as socioeconomic, ethical, and legal concerns, and considers expert and lay input in decision-making. Local knowledge (LK) of farmers is experience-based and represents a rich and reliable source of information regarding the impacts associated with agricultural technology, thereby complementing the scientific data normally used in risk assessment. The overall goal of this study was to explore the role of farmer LK in the a priori risk analysis of RRW.
Submitted by Prof. Ian J. Mauro, Mount Allison University. The overall objective of this study is to explore the role for farmers’ knowledge, and their decade-long experience with herbicide-tolerant canola, in the risk analysis of GM crops.
Submitted by Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan. The evolution of multilateral regulatory regimes is a slow process that is based on consensus-building among a large number of participants. International organizations function best in relatively stable international environments where the inherently slow pace of decision-making does not create disconnects. They are least effective during periods of rapid change. By definition, a transformative technological change such as biotechnology precipitates disequilibrium. Technological change leads to the need for institutional adaptation and/or the establishment of new institutions. This article provides a review of international regulatory initiatives implemented or under negotiation to develop the architecture for regulating the production, trade, and marketing of biologically derived crops, bioproducts, and foods. The results of these global governance efforts are compared and contrasted to assess how transformative technology barriers have been identified and addressed within these institutions. Options for further effort are examined.
Submitted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Through the European controversy over agricultural biotechnology, genetically modified (GM) crops have been evaluated for an increasingly wide range of potential effects. As the experimental phase has been extended into commercial practices, the terms for product approval have become more negotiable and contentious. To analyse the regulatory conflicts, this paper links three theoretical perspectives: issue-framing, agri-environmental discourses, and technological development as a real-world experiment.
Submitted by the Government of Norway. The overall mandate of the study was to assess how and to what extent marketing applications for GMOs fulfil the criteria of sustainable development and societal utility in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act. The authors identified four objectives: a) elaborate how the Norwegian authorities can use the procedures implemented in the EU system; b) discuss how the concepts of sustainable development and societal utility can be applied in a broader sense; c) evaluate the information provided in two given GMO marketing applications, with a focus on the adequacy of the supplemented information; and d) develop recommendations concerning the assessment of sustainable development and societal utility.
Submitted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. In this correspondence piece, the authors briefly present their assessment of applications to market genetically modified organisms in Norway and how they fulfill the criteria of sustainable development and social utility that are required by the Norwegian Gene Technology Act. The assessment was requested by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature and the full report is available here: http://bch.cbd.int/database/record-v4.shtml?documentid=102626.
Submission from the Government of Mexico identifying its capacity-building needs regarding socio-economic considerations. Document in Spanish.
The Government of Mexico submitted the attached document containing a list of publications on socio-economic considerations.
Submission from the Government of Mexico. The Biosafety Law on Genetically Modified Organisms (La Ley de Bioseguridad de los Organismos Genéticamente Modificados - LBOGM), specifically article 108, paragraph 3, determines that the Inter-Secretarial Commission on Biosafety of Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM), must carry out studies and take into account socio-economic considerations resulting from the effects of GMOs that are to be released into the environment in the national territory. In doing so, it must establish mechanisms for consultation and participation of indigenous peoples and communities that inhabit the areas where the GMOs will be released, taking into account the value of biological diversity. To that effect, the Executive Secretariat of the CIBIOGEM (SEj), in coordination with the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI), took some actions to verify whether the provisions in paragraph 3 of article 108 were being followed. In this regard, the present document aims to share the experience of the Government of Mexico in its task of complying with the legal mandate regarding mechanisms for consultation and participation of indigenous peoples and communities.
Submission from Terra de Direitos. Document in Portuguese. Legal action by Advisory and Services Projects in Agriculture Alternative (AS-PTA), the National Association of Small Farmers (ANPA), the Brazilian Institute of Consumer Protection (IDEC) and Earth Rights (Terra de Direitos) from 2009. The action aims to ensure farmers’ rights to not have their conventional and organic maize crops contaminated by transgenic corn. The action requests an injunction to suspend the marketing of genetically modified seeds, the cultivation of transgenic varieties of corn and any new commercial releases of genetically modified varieties of corn until Brazil introduces appropriate co-existence rules.
Submission from Terra de Direitos. Document in Portuguese. Legal action by the National Association of Small Farmers (ANPA), Advisory Services for Projects in Alternative Agriculture (ASPTA), the Brazilian Insitute for Consumer Protection (IDEC) and Earth Rights (Terra de Direitos). Preventive Public Civil Action from 2010 concerning damage from genetic contamination. The action requests the annulment of CTNBio’s normative resolution and suspension of the marketing of genetically modified seeds, the cultivation of transgenic varieties of corn and any new commercial releases of genetically modified maize varieties until Brazil introduces appropriate co-existence rules.
Submission from Terra de Direitos. Document in Portuguese. Document submitted by the Central Association of Family Farming from west Parana (CAOP) to CTNBio and Ministries of the National Council for Biosafety (CNBS) The document concerns the introduction of genetically modified soy to Brazil. It discusses how it is impossible for the production of GM and non-GM soy to co-exist. It also argues against the commercial release of GM maize in Brazil.
Submission from the European Union and the Czech Republic. Sets out the obligations on farmers in the Czech Republic who grow or intend to grow GM maize.
Submission from the European Union and the Czech Republic. Sets out the obligations on farmers in the Czech Republic who grow or intend to grow GM potatoes.
Submitted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility. Bill no. 361 (draft 2) to amend chapter 14 of the Hawai'i County Code 1983 (2005 edition, as amended).
Submission from the European Union and the Czech Republic. The document summarizes the principles of co-existence among conventional farming, organic farming and farming using GM crops that are applied in the Czech Republic. It includes an overview of the prevalence of different farming systems in the country and summarizes experience with cultivation of Bt maize in the Czech Republic.
Submitted by Kristen C. Nelson, University of Minnesota. Problem Formulation and Options Assessment (PFOA) provides a framework for identifying the crucial societal needs that could be satisfied by introducing a GM crop into an agricultural system, and comparing the GM crop to other possible alternatives for meeting that critical societal need. To this end, a PFOA relies upon being transparent, inclusive of all appropriate stakeholders, and rationally informed by the best available science. To make this process tool accessible to interested users, we have developed the PFOA Handbook.
Prof. Philip Bereano of the University of Washington submitted a list of publications regarding socio-cultural considerations.
Submission from the Regional Agricultural & Environmental Initiatives Network-Africa (RAEIN-Africa). RAEIN-Africa, a Southern Africa-based NGO, is currently implementing a programme aimed at creating an enabling environment for innovative interventions that enhance poverty reduction and sustainable development in the region. The programme is funded by Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS). Through this programme, RAEIN-Africa has been supporting a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the capacity for assessing socio-economic impacts of GMOs. This was in response to a desire by partner countries to include socio-economic considerations in biosafety decision-making as elaborated in National Biosafety Frameworks against the general lack of guidelines of how this can be done. The document outlines a number of the capacity-building initiatives that have been undertaken.
RAP-AL Uruguay submitted a list of web links to articles published by their organization between 2006 and 2011 on the socio-economic impacts of GMOs.
Submitted by Stuart Smyth, University of Saskatchewan. International trade rules based on science are not functioning efficiently. Twentieth century efforts enabled politics to be removed from the frameworks that govern international trade. Some degree of success was witnessed as numerous institutions (i.e. SPS/WTO, IPPC, OECD, Codex) were founded or their roles expanded. These institutions were established on the premise that science-based frameworks were essential to the efficient functioning of international commerce. The first decade of the 21st century would seem to suggest that these institutions are floundering and that the role of science as the basis of international trade rules is on the decline. The success of international institutions in dealing with transformative technologies such as biotechnology has thus far been rather dismal. This article focuses on the fundamental causes for the disruption of international trade. International trade rules are built on a model that responds to producers' requests for trade protection and does not provide for requests for protection from other sectors. As such, other sectors seek to harness science-based decision rules to protectionist causes. The inability of science to provide definitive answers facilitates this action.
Submission from the European Union and its 27 Member States. The report examines the outcome of a consultation by the European Commission of the Member States on the socio-economic implications of GMO cultivation. It also looks at socio-economic dimensions of GMO cultivation in third countries and summarizes EU-funded research projects to date that have addressed socio-economic perspectives of GMO cultivation. The report concludes by identifying next steps to be taken in this area.
A collection of case studies, tools, knowledge, experiences, and research outputs by Jose Falck-Zepeda, colleagues at IFPRI and the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), and developing/developed country partners; on the socio-economic assessments of genetically modified organisms in developing and developed countries. Designed to inform policy/decision makers, specialists and interested stakeholders as they prepare for the 2012 COP-MOP6 in India and for national and regional regulatory processes in development. This blog looks at technology assessments and technology assessment processes within a biosafety regulatory process of GMOs and other emerging technologies, as they related to broader poverty alleviation, wealth creation, food security, and economic growth issues in developing countries.. Any opinions herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of IFPRI, its partners, or collaborators.
This paper summarizes experiences with socio-economic assessments done by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and partners in developing countries. Furthermore, this paper discusses issues, methods, assessments, and practical regulatory design issues that countries who are thinking of implementing the inclusion of socio-economic considerations are likely to address in the near future. Paper concludes with a summary and references to papers cited in the text.
Submission from the Government of Norway. The purpose of the Norwegian Gene Technology Act is "to ensure that the production and use of genetically modified organisms takes place in an ethically and socially justifiable way, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development and without detrimental effects on health and the environment." (Section 1, Purpose of the Act). In section 10 of the Act (Approval) it is stated that "...Deliberate release of genetically modified organisms may only be approved when there is no risk of detrimental effects on health or the environment. In deciding whether or not to grant the application, significant emphasis shall also be placed on whether the deliberate release represents a benefit to the community and a contribution to sustainable development...." The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board has an important role in assessing whether a proposed deliberate release ("deliberate release" includes all activities using LMOs that does not take place in facilities approved for contained use) takes place in an ethically and socially justifiable way, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development, and if the deliberate release represents a benefit to the community. Sustainability, benefit to the community and ethics in the assessment of genetically modified organisms" is a discussion paper by the Board on how to implement the concepts of sections 1 and 10 of the in the Gene Technology Act in assessment of LMOs.
Submitted by Third World Network. This article aims to explain the divergence between societal debate and biosafety legislation and presents approaches to bring both together. The article reviews the development of biosafety regulations in the USA and the EU, focussing on diverging concepts applied for assessing the risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is recommended to adapt current models of SEA to assess the systemic risks of GMOs. It is also suggested to revise the EU GMO legislation to promote the inclusion of Strategic Environmental Assessment elements.