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The Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

Approval of the NK-L Supplementary Protocol

World community adopts a new UN treaty on living modified organisms

Nagoya, 16 October 2010. At 6.15 p.m. Friday here in Japan, a new international treaty, the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, was adopted at one of the largest intergovernmental meetings ever held on the safe use of modern biotechnology.

The adoption of the new treaty came at the end of the five-day meeting of the governing body of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (known as the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol or COP-MOP 5) and concluded six years of negotiations.

The new supplementary Protocol provides international rules and procedure on liability and redress for damage to biodiversity resulting from living modified organisms (LMO). Setting the stage for its adoption, small group of government negotiators had resolved contentious issues and agreed on the text of the supplementary Protocol just six hours before the opening of the COP-MOP 5 meeting on Monday.

Mr. René Lefeber of the Netherlands, one of the Co-Chairs of the Group of the Friends who facilitated the negotiations of the text of the new treaty said: “It has been many years since the last global environmental agreement was agreed. The adoption of new supplementary Protocol during the International Year Biodiversity will give new impetus to multilateral environmental negotiations. This agreement will also make important contribution to the on-going work under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect life on earth.”

The new treaty shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 7 March 2011 to 6 March 2012 and will enter into force 90 days after being ratified by at least 40 Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The historic meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, held in the city of Nagoya, in Aichi prefecture, Japan, took seventeen other decisions. These included the adoption of a ten-year Strategic Plan for the implementation of the Protocol, a programme of work on public awareness, education and participation concerning LMOs, and further guidance on risk assessment and risk management.

At the closing ceremony of COP-MOP 5, Ms. Masayo Tanabu, Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, speaking on behalf of the Government of Japan, stated: “The new supplementary Protocol is a turning point for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. There have been many challenges successfully overcome. Let us rekindle the spirit of cooperation to confront the biodiversity challenges as well.”

Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity praised Japan as an outstanding host and paid tribute to delegates for the outcomes of the meeting. He said: “I congratulate all of you on this remarkable achievement. We have dreamt of this event for more than six years. This is indeed a historic event not only for the biodiversity family but also for the world community at large.”