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Summary of the Discussion [#5498]


Dear Members of the Forum,

I would like to thank everyone for the time and dedication they put into reviewing the documents. I appreciate that this was a challenging task considering the depth and quantity of material that needed to be reviewed.  In spite of the challenges, I am pleased that several participants contributed with constructive feedback and concrete text proposals that will help us move forward with the task that was mandated to us by the COP-MOP to align the Guidance with the Training Manual.

Many participants found that the restructuring of the Manual made by the Secretariat in July facilitated navigating between the two documents and the understanding of the concepts presented. Some participants noted that the use of terms in the Guidance and the Training Manual are generally coherent, and that the two documents are well complementary in playing their respective roles. However several participants noted that reviewing of the Manual is needed to avoid prescriptive language and improve the alignment with the Guidance and Cartagena Protocol. Some participants also stressed the importance of ensuring that the translations of the documents accurately reflect the concepts presented in the Manual.

Some participants found that the topics and concepts in the Manual were presented in a precise and comprehensive manner. Other participants noted that users, especially novice assessors, would benefit from more clarification of specific concepts, such as “change”, “outcrossing”, “introgression” and “resistance development”. The concepts of “gene flow” and “uncertainty” also drew a number of comments, some of which noting that these concepts, per se, do not necessarily imply a risk.

Furthermore, it was noted that the examples are an important part of the Manual, and that the Manual as a whole would be strengthened considerably if more relevant “real life” examples from risk assessments were used throughout. Some amendments of existing examples were asked on that basis, as well as complementary examples to illustrate certain concepts.

Some participants asked for a better distinction to be made, in the Manual, between different levels of intentional introduction of LMOs (such as field trials and placing on the market) and the level of detail required in the respective risk assessments.  However, it must be noted that the Protocol itself does not make such a distinction (and that the Guidance thus similarly does not detail precise corresponding technical differences in risk assessment).
Finally, a number of very concrete text proposals were made. Some of these suggestions aimed to further align the language of the Manual with that of the Guidance whereas others were of a more substantive nature. With the help of the Secretariat and in accordance with our mandate to develop a package that aligns the Manual and the Guidance, I will carefully take each of the suggestions into account for further consideration in future rounds of discussion.

The Secretariat informed me that the next rounds of online discussion will soon be announced. I look forward to the future forum on this topic so we can continue to build upon the rich discussions we have been having.

Best regards,
posted on 2013-10-06 12:22 UTC by Dina Abdelhakim, SCBD