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What has been done on socio-economic considerations

In accordance with the medium term programme of work adopted by the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) (decision BS-I/12), paragraph 2 of Article 26 was considered by the COP-MOP at its second meeting. COP-MOP 2 requested, among other things, Parties and other Governments to provide their views and case studies concerning socio-economic impacts of LMOs (decision BS-II/12) for consideration at the fourth meeting of the Parties. It also invited Parties and other Governments to share information and experiences on socio-economic impacts of LMOs through the Biosafety Clearing-House.

At its fourth meeting, the COP-MOP considered views and case studies concerning socio-economic impacts of LMOs on the basis of submissions from Parties, other Governments and relevant international organizations. COP-MOP 4, in its decision BS-IV/16, invited the next coordination meeting on capacity-building activities to further consider possibilities for cooperation in identifying needs for capacity-building for research and information exchange on socio-economic impacts of LMOs. The recommendations from the coordination meeting are to be submitted for the consideration of the Parties at their fifth meeting. In addition, Parties agreed to review socio-economic issues at their sixth meeting based on information that may be provided through the second national reports.

In 2009, the Division of GEF Coordination of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) collaborated with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to conduct an online survey on the application of and experience in the use of socio-economic considerations in decision-making on living modified organisms.

At its fifth meeting, the COP-MOP considered the recommendations from the coordination meeting and the survey report by UNEP on the application of and experience in the use of socio-economic considerations in decision-making on living modified organisms. In section IV of decision BS-V/3 on capacity-building (Cooperation on identification of capacity-building needs for research and information exchange on socio-economic considerations), the COP-MOP requested the Secretariat to: (i) convene regional online conferences to facilitate exchange of views, information and experiences concerning socio-economic considerations; (ii) organise a regionally-balanced workshop to analyse the capacity-building activities, needs and priorities, identify options for cooperation in addressing the needs and analyse other relevant information on this issue; and (iii) prepare a report for COP-MOP 6. An Online Portal on Socio-Economic Considerations was created to facilitate the implementation of these requests.

At its sixth meeting, the COP-MOP considered further steps regarding socio-economic considerations. In decision BS-VI/13, the COP-MOP decided to establish an ad hoc technical expert group to develop conceptual clarity in the context of paragraph 1 of Article 26. To assist in the work of the expert group, the Secretariat was requested to compile, take stock of and review information on socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of LMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, especially with regard to the value of biodiversity to indigenous and local communities, and to convene online discussion groups and regional online real-time conferences to facilitate and synthesize the exchange of views, information and experiences on socio-economic considerations.

The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-economic Considerations (AHTEG) was convened in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 17 to 21 February 2014. It submitted its report to COP-MOP 7.

At its seventh meeting, the COP-MOP took note of the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-economic Considerations (AHTEG). In decision BS-VII/13, Parties extended the AHTEG and determined that it should work, in a stepwise approach, on: (i) the further development of conceptual clarity on socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of living modified organisms on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and (ii) developing an outline for guidance with a view to making progress towards achieving operational objective 1.7 of the Strategic Plan and its outcomes.

In further developing conceptual clarity on socio-economic considerations, the AHTEG was requested to take into account and improve upon the “Elements of a Framework for Conceptual Clarity on Socio-Economic Considerations” contained in the annex to the report of the first meeting of the AHTEG on Socio-economic Considerations. To assist in the work of the expert group, Parties were requested, and Governments, relevant organizations and indigenous and local communities were invited, to submit views and comments on the “Elements of a Framework for Conceptual Clarity on Socio-Economic Considerations” contained in the annex to the report of the first meeting of the AHTEG. The Secretariat was requested to compile these views and comments, as well as information on i) policies, laws, regulations and guidelines providing for definitions of socio-economic considerations; and (ii) practical applications of socio-economic considerations in decision-making on living modified organisms, including cases where positive and negative socio-economic impacts have been considered. The Secretariat was also requested to convene online discussion groups to facilitate the exchange of views, information and experiences on socio-economic considerations in the context of paragraph 1 of Article 26 of the Protocol, including concerning: international obligations that may be relevant to socio-economic considerations; socio-economic considerations and the value of biological diversity to indigenous and local communities; environment-related aspects of socio-economic considerations, as well as the relationship, if any, with risk assessment and human health-related issues, and to synthesize the exchange of views, information and experiences resulting from these discussions. Finally, the Secretariat was also requested to commission, subject to the availability of funds, a study on international agreements that may have relevance to socio-economic considerations as provided for in Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and to make the report available on the Biosafety Clearing-House.

The documents prepared in response to the request are available here. The online discussions were held from 30 March to 7 May 2015. A full transcript is available here.

Due to the lack of sufficient funding to organize a face-to-face meeting of the AHTEG an on-line discussion was held from 9 May to 17 June 2016 to enable the AHTEG to undertake certain aspects of its mandate, focusing in particular on the further development of conceptual clarity. Through the online discussion, the AHTEG agreed on a revised Framework for Conceptual Clarity.

The outcomes and conclusions of the online discussion, including the revised Framework for Conceptual Clarity, were submitted to the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol in the annex to document UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/MOP/8/13.

At its eighth meeting, COP-MOP took note of the revised Framework for Conceptual Clarity and decided to extend the mandate of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-Economic Considerations, replacing any experts, as needed, including indigenous peoples and local communities as observers, to allow it to meet face-to-face, subject to the availability of funds, to work on the guidelines envisaged under the outcomes for operational objective 1.7 of the Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. In the same decision the COP-MOP urged Parties to provide the necessary funds for a face-to-face meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-Economic Considerations, ensuring the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, supported by such online discussions as may be necessary to achieve its mandate. COP-MOP requested the AHTEG to submit a report for consideration by the COP-MOP at its ninth meeting.

Further information is available through the Online Portal on Socio-Economic Considerations.

   
   
  Socio-Economic Portal

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