Biosafety Protocol News - Issue 15, July 2021
-Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Biosafety Awareness, Education and Participation Activities
Video message from the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity on Biodiversity Day 2021
Transcript of video message
First draft of a new global biodiversity framework
-Ms. Veronica Josu, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety National Focal Point, the Republic of Moldova
The first phase of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI-3), convened virtually from 3 May - 13 June 2021, considered several key agenda items and developed important advice for the Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. SBI-3 also considered the draft Post-2020 Implementation Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2021-2030) and the Capacity-building Action Plan for the Cartagena Protocol (2021-2030). Furthermore, SBI-3 considered the information provided and conclusions reached by the Protocol’s Liaison Group and Compliance Committee in support of the fourth assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol and final evaluation of the Protocol’s Strategic Plan for the period 2011-2020. The fourth assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol, undertaken consistent with Article 33 included information about public awareness, education and participation regarding living modified organisms (LMOs). The review found that Parties have had experience in setting in place systems for public awareness, education and public participation regarding LMOs including access to biosafety information. Parties noted that more guidance and capacity in this field, as well as outreach and commitments on biosafety issues is required. The contributors to this issue highlight some successes and ways to overcome challenges as a basis.
-Mr. Helmut Gaugitsch, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety National Focal Point, Austria
||Over the years, a number of procedures on public participation were set in place, including a law on biosafety set in place a procedure for 30 days for the public to submit public opinion on imports of LMOs; labelling for LMOs products and seeds if more than 1% of a product had LMOs; a national biosafety committee with representatives from governmental bodies, academia and NGOs; special guidelines were developed for public participation; Public opinion is considered during decision making of imports of LMOs; a national BCH website involved a stakeholder network to strengthen the capacities of the biosafety committee, inclusive a national register for interested public to be engaged further on LMO issues; public hearing was part of public participation process; information, including risk assessment reports, were published prior to public participation (e.g. early, in several media outlets, free of charge; and public participation through written comments were facilitated.
-Mr. Alejandro Espinosa Calderón, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety National Focal Point, Mexico
||Austria ratified the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress on 20 May 2021, bringing the number of Parties up to 49. This was particularly timely because it occurred in the build-up to the annual International Day for Biodiversity celebrations. The Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress provides international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to living modified organisms (LMOs). Austria was part of the initial negotiation of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress and promoted the ratification of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress through national, regional and international cooperation in line with the priority areas of the Programme of Work on public awareness, education and participation regarding LMOs.
-Ms. Maria Lorelie U. Agbagala, Biosafety Clearing-House Focal Point, the Philippines
||Indigenous peoples and local communities have made it possible for 59 native maize species to be maintained in Mexico. As a megadiverse region with one of the greatest genetic and cultural diversity, Mexico is able to identify key solutions to protect this biocultural wealth, including promoting biosafety public policies responsible for the environment, human health, and biodiversity. Mexico is the center of origin and diversification of many crops (e.g. maize, beans, amaranth, tomato, pumpkins, cotton). Due the potential adverse effects of LMOs, Mexico has applied the precautionary principle and risk assessments of LMOs for any new technologies for plant modification (e.g. gene editing or synthetic biology). More information in the link above.
-Mr. Hatem Ben Belgacem , National Focal Point BCH/Biosafety Cartagena Protocol, Tunisia
||The Philippines is the first Asian country to establish its national biosafety regulatory system for living modified organisms (LMOs)/genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including provisions on Article 23 on public awareness, education and participation regarding LMOs/GMOs, including access to biosafety information. Biosafety decisions are therefore uploaded in the central and national Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH). There is also procedures for active dissemination of biosafety information (e.g. BCH News, National Biotechnology Week, meetings and seminars with local or international biosafety regulators, dissemination through Commission on higher education for inclusion in courses, Asia BCH Family website). The national, regional and central BCH is an excellent tool for disseminating reliable scientific information necessary for ensuring the safe and sustainable use of modern biotechnology. It serves as a tool to raise awareness, education and participation for the public and the science community. Over the years, the Philippines promoted the Programme of Work on Article 23. A new communication strategy will now soon be developed to support the Implementation Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Philippines also celebrated the International Day for Biodiversity.
-Mr. Mathurin Rouamba, Biosafety Clearing-House Focal Point, Burkina Faso
||After the ratification of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 2003 regarding living modified organisms (LMOs) taking also into consideration the precautionary principle , the Tunisian Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment (General Direction of Environment and Quality of Life) as a national focal point for this Protocol prepared a national strategy with the aim of developing a coherent national framework for biosafety based on legal and institutional measures, strengthening capacities in term of detection and identification of LMOs and awareness and public education and participation. Currently work is underway to update this strategy, taking into account the new initiatives, technologies and trends at the international level.
||Burkina Faso has a mechanisms for public awareness based on the national strategic plan (2021-2023) to implement 23 Article on public awareness, education and participation regarding living modified organisms (LMOs). The National Biosafety Agency with the Open forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa holds regular information and awareness sessions about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and biosafety. So far, over 2000 bachelor’s master’s degree students from different public universities have participated in the sessions. The aim is to share raise awareness of LMOs/GMOs and promote active public participation in decision-making when LMOs/GMOs are imported.
Issue 1 of the Action Agenda Newsletter, with biosafety commitment from non-state actors
Action Agenda Commitment - Himalayan Folklore, Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples Networks , Nepal – Risk assessment and risk management of LMOs training for IPLCs and testing of the socio-economic consideration guidance
Action Agenda Commitment – Asia BCH Family - The Biosafety Clearing-House
Action Agenda Commitment - Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) – Biosafety frameworks and public awareness
Action Agenda Commitment - Intersectoral Technical Commission of Biotechnology of the National System of Science and Technology (SENACYT), Guatemala – Public awareness, education and participation regarding LMOs
Non-state actors, make a commitment to the Action Agenda towards the Global Biodiversity Framework and the Implementation Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
Pocket guide on access to information and public participation regarding LMOs
Notifications: Support to Facilitate the Effective Participation of Parties in the Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
Notification: Decision 14/23, Financial Mechanism: Assessment of Funding Needs for the Implementation of the Convention and its Protocols for the Eighth Replenishment Period (July 2022 to June 2026) of the Trust Fund of the Global Environment Facility
Notification: Support to Facilitate the Effective Participation of Parties in the Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
Statistics and Other Information
Please respond to a survey on the Action Agenda for Nature and People and biosafety commitments from non-state actors to the Implementation Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
49 submissions for the Peer Review of the Technical Series on Synthetic Biology
9 submissions for the review of draft Study on Financial Security Mechanisms under the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol
Recent and Upcoming Biosafety Events
The twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24), held 3 May - 13 June 2021, provided recommendations on risk assessment and risk management of LMOs and synthetic biology that will be formally adopted in the future at a face-to-face meeting of SBSTTA-24. More than 1400 registered participants from 127 countries and over 200 organizations participated. More information is available in the press release
The third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), held 3 May - 13 June 2021, resulted in the following: 1) s Significant inputs for the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which constituted important advice for the Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework as they developed the first draft
, released on 12 July 2021, of the framework and prepare for the third meeting of the Working Group, to be held online 23 August – 3 September; 2) Key elements related to the means to support and review implementation, including resource mobilization, capacity building and development and mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review of implementation as well as outreach and awareness; 3) Reviewed progress in the implementation of the Convention’s other instruments, including the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. These meetings will allow for the timely preparation of COP-MOP 10. SBI-3 saw 1004 registered participants from 115 countries and 158 organizations participating. More information is available in the press release
Briefing Webinars for SBSTTA 24 and SBI 3 20210128, 29 January 2021
Briefing webinar 1 on agenda item 5 relating to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework process of the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation, 19 January 2021
The Every Women Hope Center (EWHC) organized a webinar on motivating strategic plans and actions for public awareness on biosafety and biodiversity, to enhance partnership with nature. Held on 8 December 2020 and organized in collaboration with the CBD Secretariat (SCBD), the webinar featured five speakers. These included representatives from the SCBD, two focal points from the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Burkina Faso and Nigeria) as well as representatives from the Pan African Institute for Development – West Africa and the EWHC. As a result, and subject to funding, the EWHC will develop projects to promote strategies in Africa to enhance implementation of Article 23 of the Protocol. The EWHC will also continue to raise ambition for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the Implementation Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, including supporting strategic plans for the post-2020 process, as well as positive actions to promote the implementation, while contributing to the sustainability of the SDGs. More information and video recording is available at webinar
The purpose of the GMO session of the 25th meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention, held 8 June 2021 and chaired by Helmut Gaugitsch, was to: 1) Raise awareness of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol and the Aarhus Convention on the benefits of promoting synergies in implementation of the two instruments; 2) Build capacities of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol and the Aarhus Convention regarding compatibilities of the two instruments and their implementation; and 3) Offer a multi-stakeholder platform to governments, academia, private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders to learn from each other and exchange experiences. The GMO session identified achievements and challenges encountered by Parties and the joint commitment for future plans. The session featured five speakers, including a representative from the CBD Secretariat presenting a speech on behalf of the CBD Executive Secretary, the Tunisian focal point from the Cartagena Protocol, an Aarhus Convention representative from Serbia, a representative from the European ECO Forum and a representative from KROK University in Ukraine. The report will be made available shortly. The audio recording is available at:https://conf.unog.ch/digitalrecordings/.There is also article available at Safeguarding environmental democracy – outlook for 2025 UNECE. More information at: https://unece.org/info/events/event/353010. More information is available at https://unece.org/info/events/event/353010 the meeting page
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) organized a virtual seminar aimed at highlighting communication and education as key elements for achieving public acceptance of biotechnology in general, and GMOs in particular. The event, held 11 March 2021, included four speakers from the CBD Secretariat, IICA and the United States. Some 86 delegates, from 18 countries, including focal points to the Cartagena Protocol from Latin America and the Caribbean took part. The video recording is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/16msHsMROleMWg0VjZE9O0BcerHbvg9r0/view. More information is available at seminar page
Three training videos have been developed in order to build capacity on the use of the new Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) platform and assist Parties in complying with their obligations under the Cartagena Protocol and relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties to CBD serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP). The videos, produced under the UN Environment Programme - Global Environment Facility Biosafety Clearing-House III Capacity-building Project (UNEP-GEF BCH III Project) in cooperation with the CBD Secretariat, are designed to bridge the transition from the current BCH platform to the new one. The English and French version is available. The Russian and Spanish version will be made available shortly. The videos are available at BCH III - UNEP website
. The new BCH platform is still available for testing.
BCH migration, Fall 2021 (TBA) BCH Test site
Webinar on non-state actors’ engagement in the Action Agenda for Nature and People, 13 September 2021
Online discussions on non-state actors’ engagement in the Action Agenda for Nature and People, 13 - 26 September 2021
Webinar on the Biosafety Clearing-House, September 2021 (Tentative)
Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 11 - 24 October 2021, Kunming, China (Tentative)
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Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the two secretariats, nor does citing of trade names or commercial processes constitute endorsement.