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Workshop on Detection and Identification of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) 2013

Background Information

In decision BS-V/16, the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol (COP-MOP) adopted a Strategic Plan for the implementation of the Protocol during the 2011-2020 period. The Strategic Plan identifies a number of outcomes that need to be achieved as a consequence of a set of operational objectives. Under operational objectives 1.6, 1.8 and 2.3 regarding handling, transport, packaging and identification, the Parties set the following outcomes:

  • Easy to use and reliable technical tools for the detection of unauthorized living modified organisms (LMOs) are developed and made available (under Operational Objective 1.6);
  • Guidance developed to assist Parties to detect and take measures to respond to unintentional releases of living modified organisms (under Operational Objective 1.8); and
  • Personnel are trained and equipped for sampling, detection and identification of LMOs (under Operational Objective 2.3).

The Strategic plan further identifies specific indicators associated with each of these outcomes to serve as monitoring and evaluation tools for measuring achievements. The following are the indicators that are related to the outcomes above:

  • Number of Parties with access to tools that are capable of detecting unauthorized LMOs;
  • Percentage of Parties using the guidance to detect occurrence of unintentional releases of living modified organisms and being able to take appropriate response measures;
  • Percentage of Parties that have established or have reliable access to detection laboratories
  • National and regional laboratories certified with the capacity to detect LMOs; and
  • Number of certified laboratories in operation.

In implementing the requests by the Parties in decision BS-V/9, the Secretariat is organising a workshop on the 25th -27th November 2013 to be held at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in Ispra, Italy to bring together experts representing LMO detection laboratories to further elaborate on the results of the online discussions that took place in early 2013.

The following outputs are expected from the workshop:

  1. A detailed implementation strategy for the detection and identification of LMOs consisting of a plan of action to assist Parties in making progress toward each of the outcomes in the Strategic Plan; and
  2. A set of recommendations identifying possible key players and specific activities to assist in the implementation of the plan of action in (a) above.

The outputs of the workshop together with a synthesis of the online discussions and a compilation of laboratory methods will be submitted for consideration of the COP-MOP at its seventh meeting, to be held in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea from 29 September to 3 October 2014.

Workshop Discussions

In preparation for the upcoming workshop, we will be holding a series of discussions to provide background information to participants on:
  1. Relevant articles of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: Risk Assessment (Art. 15), Risk Management (Art. 16), Unintentional Transboundary Movements and Emergency Measures (Art. 17), Handling, Transport, Packaging and Identification (Art. 18), Information Sharing and the Biosafety Clearing-House (Art. 20), and Illegal Transboundary Movements (Art. 25);
  2. Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for the period 2011-2020,
  3. Capacity at regional and national level to detect and identify LMOs.

During these discussions participants are invited to familiarise themselves with the relevant articles of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Strategic plan of the Protocol. Participants may feel free to pose any questions seeking further clarification on the issues under consideration as well as share any initial thoughts on the substantive issues that will be discussed in the workshop as outlined in the Annotated Agenda and Provisional Agenda.

Resources and background reading material that are relevant to this discussion are available through the links on the right.