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Online discussions on socio-economic considerations

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Forum 1: Focused discussion on experiences in considering socio-economic aspects in decision taking on LMOs (discussion to take place during week 1 of the forum)

Forum closed. No more comments will be accepted on this forum.
Opening of Forum 1 [#9858]
MESSAGE POSTED ON BEHALF OF Ben Durham and Casper Linnestad, Rapporteurs

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the forum on socio-economic considerations.

The meeting of the Parties, in its decision CP-9/14, invited submissions of “preliminary experiences using the voluntary Guidance, as well as examples of methodologies and applications of socio-economic considerations in the light of the elements of the voluntary Guidance, preferably in the form of case studies”. A number of interesting descriptions, references to literature and experiences have been shared through the 16 submissions that were received.

In line with decision CP-9/14, the purpose of the discussions of the online forum is to ‘comment on and add views to review’ the submissions made. We noted that several submissions comment on the usefulness of the voluntary Guidance in general and on the relationship between international law and socio-economic considerations. We would like to call on participants to focus on providing comments and views to review the information invited for in decision CP-9/14, i.e. “preliminary experiences using the voluntary Guidance, as well as examples of methodologies and applications of socio-economic considerations in the light of the elements of the voluntary Guidance”.

We are looking forward to moderate the discussions and will prepare a report for review by the Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-Economic Considerations (AHTEG), at its meeting later this year.

The discussions are organized into three forums, each dealing with different topics:

1. A focused discussion on submitted experiences in considering socio-economic aspects in decision-taking on LMOs (this forum will be open only during the first week of discussions);

2. A focused discussion on literature and reports cited (This forum will open in week 2);

3. A general discussion to comment on and add views to the submissions, including general aspects of the submissions discussed in the other forums (This forum will also open in week 2).

This first forum is divided in six threads. Five threads are dedicated to specific submissions providing a description of an application of socio-economic considerations, or of a decision on living modified organisms in which socio-economic aspects were considered. Participants are invited to comment on and add views to the specific case studies or decisions, in the respective thread. The sixth thread of forum 1 provides a space for general comments on methodologies and applications of socio-economic considerations as raised in the submissions.

We look forward to working with you and expect a fruitful discussion.

Kind regards,

Ben Durham and Casper Linnestad,

Rapporteurs
posted on 2019-09-08 23:39 UTC by Ms. Paola Scarone, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
RE: Opening of Forum 1 [#9865]
Dear Ben Durham and Casper Linnestad
Thanks, I look forward to reading them and will respond asp.
kind regards
ravi srinivas
posted on 2019-09-09 03:49 UTC by Dr. Krishna Ravi Srinivas, India
RE: Opening of Forum 1 [#9907]
Dear Participants,

    Please kindly be reminded that Forum 1 will close at approximately 23:00 GMT on Saturday, 14 September. You are invited, in the time remaining, to post any additional comments and views on the specific case studies/decisions presented. We look forward to your continued discussion!

Kind regards,

Secretariat
posted on 2019-09-13 12:59 UTC by Ms. Paola Scarone, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
RE: Opening of Forum 1 [#9914]
Over the past 40 years, the United States has become the largest global producer of living modified organisms (LMOs).   U.S. producers, handlers and exporters have gained considerable experience resulting in a record of “safe transfer, handling, and use of LMOs”, particularly for plants.  Using LMOs, farmers, ranchers, and consumers around the world have realized significant, positive socioeconomic benefits, including benefits from improved environmental sustainability and food security.  In light of these experiences, the United States appreciates the opportunity to provide perspectives on this discussion.

From the perspective of a negotiator who works for the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), there are two points raised in the discussion threads above that are particularly relevant to this conversation. 

First, several commenters have noted the narrow scope of Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol.  In simplified language, Article 26 states that in cases where a Party is making a decision on import, Parties may (but are not required to) “…take into account, consistent with their international obligations, socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of LMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity…”.  The United States considers that socioeconomic considerations fall outside the scope of Article 26.1 for: 1) decisions that are not related to import, and 2) cases when the import of an LMO does not result in an impact on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.  This is an important distinction to reiterate. The case studies above describe how a country chooses to consider socio-economic factors in decision making at the national level, and in in some of the case studies appear to take factors into account that are distinct from what is specified in Article 26.1.   As Parties to the Cartagena Protocol reflect on possible activities related to socioeconomic considerations under Article 26, the desire to retain clarity on matters of national decision-making on actions that fall outside of the scope of the Protocol may be of paramount importance.

Second, several commenters also referenced the importance of considering socioeconomic issues in a manner that is consistent with existing obligations in other bodies.  Many other internationally binding agreements, such as the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Issues (WTO-SPS) and/or other bilateral or regional trade agreements, require that a measure bear a rational and objective relationship to the scientific evidence and to the risk assessment. We consider that incorporating non-scientific factors into a decision regarding an LMO that are at odds with a science-based risk assessment may place countries in conflict with other legally binding agreements.  We believe that taking into account socio-economic considerations should not result in a decision regarding an LMO that is at odds with the results of a risk assessment based on measurable, scientifically validated approaches.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate.  We look forward to continued engagement on this topic.
posted on 2019-09-13 22:01 UTC by Ms. Julia Doherty, United States of America
RE: Opening of Forum 1 [#9915]
Dear Poala
Many thanks for highlighting the time for closing the discussion on this forum.
I would suggest that the dates for the discussions under each forum to be added to the forum title for more convenience. In a more concrete term to replace "the discussion to take place during which week of the forum" from the title with the exact dates eg." 9-14 September 2019". Of course this applies to subsequent fora as well.
Many thanks

O.A.El-kawy
(edited on 2019-09-14 07:51 UTC by Ossama AbdelKawy)
posted on 2019-09-14 07:51 UTC by Prof Ossama AbdelKawy, Seychelles