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What has been done on Compliance

The ICCP Process

Prior to the entry into force of the Protocol, an ad interim governing body, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP), was established by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (decision EM-I/3).

At its first meeting, the ICCP considered development of compliance procedures and mechanisms under the Protocol. It reviewed several compliance regimes in multilateral environmental agreements and other ongoing initiatives (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/1/7).

At its second meeting, in its recommendation 2/11 the ICCP considered a report from an expert group on compliance and a text of the draft procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Protocol. ICCP-2 also invited Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversify and other States to submit to the Secretariat their views or understandings regarding a draft procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Protocol on Biosafety, including functions and procedures of a possible compliance committee.

At its third meeting, the ICCP considered a review of a compilation and summary, prepared by the Secretariat, of views or understanding regarding a draft procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Protocol on Biosafety (UNEP/CBD/ICCP/3/4). In its recommendation 3/2, it further developed the text of the draft procedures and mechanisms on compliance under the Cartagena Protocol that was recommended to COP-MOP 1.

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First Meeting

The first meeting of the Compliance Committee took place from 14 to 16 March 2005. The meeting developed its rules of procedures and submitted them for consideration and approval by the second meeting of the COP-MOP. The Committee also adopted a work plan for the period up to the review of the Complaince Procedures and Mechanisms on Compliance as specified in section VII of the Annex to decision BS-I/7.

At its second meeting, COP-MOP in decision BS-II/1 approved the rules of procedure for meetings of the Compliance Committee as proposed by the first meeting of the Committee. Few issues related to voting remained unresolved. The rules cover the following aspects, among others: dates and notice of meetings; agenda; distribution and consideration of information; publication of documents and information; members; officers; participation in Committee proceedings; conduct of business; and voting.

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Second meeting of the Compliance Committee

The second meeting of the Compliance Committee took place from 6 to 8 February 2006. The meeting discussed several issues relating to the rules of procedure of its meeting and adopted recommendations for submission to COP-MOP/3.

The meeting also analyzed the interim national reports and identified issues that need due attention in order to ensure a good start in the effective implementation of its requirements and the achievement of its objective. The Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) was another source of information in which the Committee identified some general issues that affect compliance with the requirements of making various types of information available to the BCH.

The Committee submitted all its recommendations to the third meeting of the COP-MOP. The latter considered the recommendations and adopted decision BS-III/1. Several other recommendations were also considered and integrated in other decisions of COP-MOP/3 taking into account their relevance.

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Third meeting of the Compliance Committee

The third meeting of the Compliance Committee took place from 5 to 7 March 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Compliance Committee reviewed information compiled by the Secretariat on experience of other multilateral environmental agreements regarding measures concerning cases of repeated non-compliance. It requested the Secretariat to revise the document in accordance with the comments and submit it to the next meeting of the Committee. The Committee followed up on issues arising from its second meeting including the issue of conflict of interest under rule 11 of the rules of procedure, and reviewing general issues of compliance and possible lessons learned from analyzing the interim national reports. It also considered how the Committee might contribute to the upcoming review process of the effectiveness of the Protocol in general and the procedures and mechanisms on compliance, in particular in the context of Article 35 of the Protocol and decision BS-III/15 of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

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Fourth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The fourth meeting of the Compliance Committee took place from 21 to 23 November 2007 in Montreal. The Committee reviewed general issues of compliance on the basis of the information made available by Parties through their first national reports submitted four years after the entry into force of the Protocol. The Committee also refined further its report on experiences of other multilateral environmental agreements regarding measures concerning repeated cases of non-compliance. It decided to submit to the upcoming fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol a report that consolidates the work and recommendations of its third and fourth meetings.

COP-MOP 4 considered the report of the Compliance Committee as well as the Committee’s document on Further Information and Experience Regarding Cases of Repeated Non-Compliance under the Compliance Mechanisms of Other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (document UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/4/2/Add.1). COP-MOP integrated many of the recommendations of the Committee into its decision BS-IV/1 as well as other decisions as relevant. Among other things, decision BS-IV/1 reminded each Party of its obligation to adopt domestic measures to address illegal transboundary movements of living modified organisms and to report the occurrence of such movements to the BCH. The Parties also decided to postpone consideration or, as appropriate, adoption of measures on repeated cases of non-compliance and encouraged the Committee to meet less than twice a year, within the budget adopted in decision BS-IV/7. The decision on compliance also invited Parties to submit to the Secretariat, prior to the fifth meeting of COP-MOP, views on how the supportive role of the Compliance Committee could be improved.

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Fifth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The fifth meeting of the Compliance Committee was held from 19 to 21 November 2008 in, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Committee considered a review prepared by the Chairperson of the Committee on the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the COP-MOP regarding compliance (UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/5/INF/2). It reviewed, among other things, the extent to which the recommendations from its two last meetings had been considered and adopted by the Parties to the Protocol at their fourth meeting. The Committee also agreed upon a work plan for its meetings that may be held prior to COP-MOP 5. It further reviewed general issues of compliance based on a revised analysis of the first national reports conducted by the Secretariat three months after COP-MOP 4. The Committee recognized the increase in the number of national reports received by the Secretariat. However, it still expressed its concern on the low reporting rate of Parties to the Protocol and requested the Secretariat to seek information from Parties that had not yet submitted their first national reports on the reasons on why they did not do so and to make that information available at a later stage. For details see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/5/4.

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Sixth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee held its sixth meeting from 4 to 6 November 2009 in Montreal, Canada. At that meeting, the Committee considered issues related to Parties' reporting obligation on the basis of a document on reporting rates under other multilateral environmental agreements. It also considered general issues of compliance with the obligation of Parties to make information available to the Biosafety Clearing-House. The Committee agreed, on a preliminary basis, to a number of points for further consideration and recommendations for possible submission for the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. The Committee also considered whether it had a mandate to receive and consider a submission made by a non-governmental organization alleging non-compliance of a Party with its obligations under the Protocol. It concluded that it has no mandate to consider the submission because section IV of the compliance procedures adopted in the annex to decision BS-I/7 permits only a Party to trigger the procedures with respect to itself or with respect to another Party. For details see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/6/4.

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Seventh meeting of the Compliance Committee

The seventh meeting of the Compliance Committee under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety took place in Montreal from 8 to 10 September 2010. The Committee held further discussions on those items that it examined at its previous meeting relating to national reporting rates and status of compliance in fulfilling obligations to make information available to the BCH. It also considered the views submitted by Parties on how to improve the supportive role of the Committee. The Committee finalized its recommendations and report for submission to the fifth meeting of the COP-MOP. For details see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/7/3.

COP-MOP 5 considered the report of the Compliance Committee and underlined the need to further build the confidence of Parties in the role of the Compliance Committee. In this regard, the COP-MOP decided that in instances where a Party makes a submission relating to compliance with respect to itself the Compliance Committee shall, in response, consider taking only measures that are facilitative and supportive, i.e. providing advice or assistance to the Party concerned and/or making recommendations to COP-MOP regarding the provision of financial and technical assistance, technology transfer, training and other capacity-building measures (decision BS-V/1). It also decided that these measures may be taken in a situation where a Party fails to submit its national report, or information has been received through a national report or the Secretariat, based on information from the Biosafety Clearing-House, that shows that the party concerned is faced with difficulties complying with its obligations under the Protocol. The COP-MOP further encouraged Parties that are facing difficulties complying with their obligations under the Protocol due to lack of capacity to make submissions to the Compliance Committee so that facilitative and supportive measures could be explored with a view to helping them overcome the difficulties.

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Eighth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee held its eighth meeting in Montreal from 5 to7 October 2011. The Committee discussed possible modalities of implementation of the supportive role of the Compliance Committee as modified by decision BS-V/1 and developed an approach and a work plan to guide its functions in the context of this decision. It also agreed to further elaborate, including on a case-by-case basis, and keep under review the appropriate steps that may be needed to effectively address compliance-related issues and difficulties faced by Parties. The Committee further considered the potential need for the exchange of information and informal discussions among members during the intersessional period and noted the availability of a collaborative online portal in the BCH, which is accessible only to members of the Committee. For further details, see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/8/3.

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Ninth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee held its ninth meeting in Montreal from 30 May to 1 June 2012. The Committee reviewed compliance with the obligation to submit national reports. It considered the rate of submission of second national report on the implementation of each Party’s obligation under the Protocol; the completeness of the reports; and the situation with respect to those few Parties which have not submitted any national report at all since they became Parties. It also reviewed general issues of compliance based on information from the second national reports that has been synthesized by the Secretariat. The Committee prepared and adopted its report and recommendations for submission to the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. For further details, see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/9/4.

COP-MOP considered the report and the recommendations of the Committee at its sixth meeting. In its decision BS-VI/1, COP-MOP called upon the concerned Parties to give utmost priority to putting in place legal and administrative frameworks necessary to meet their obligations under the Protocol. It requested those Parties to submit information on the challenges they are faced with in this regard for consideration and possible assistance by the Compliance Committee. COP-MOP 6 also, urged, in its decision BS-VI/14, on the basis of the recommendations of the Compliance Committee, those Parties that have not submitted their national report to do so at the earliest opportunity. It encouraged Parties to facilitate the preparation and submission of their national reports by using, as appropriate technical and other resources available in existing bilateral, sub-regional and regional arrangements, and the roster of biosafety experts.

Tenth meeting of the Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee held its tenth meeting in Montreal from 29 to 30 May 2013. The Committee considered the outcomes of the sixth meeting of the Parties to the Protocol with regard to items relevant to compliance and the follow up activities undertaken by the Secretariat. It reviewed compliance on the basis of the second national reports, with a focus on the priority issues identified by the sixth meeting of the Parties. It also reviewed general issues of compliance as regards: (i) introducing legal, administrative and other measures necessary for the implementation of the Protocol; (ii) making information available to the Biosafety Clearing-House as required under the various provisions of the Protocol; and (iii) promoting public awareness, education and participation, including using the programme of work adopted by the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. The Committee agreed to various measures and timelines to follow up with Parties that are still required to comply with their obligations with respect to national reporting and putting in place legal and administrative measures necessary to implement their obligations under the Protocol. For further details, see the report of the meeting in document UNEP/CBD/BS/CC/10/5.

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Meetings of the Compliance Committee

  1. First Meeting
    (14-16 March 2005, Montreal, Canada)
  2. Second Meeting
    (6-8 February 2006, Montreal, Canada)
  3. Third Meeting
    (5-7 March 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  4. Fourth Meeting
    (21-23 November 2007, Montreal, Canada)
  5. Fifth Meeting
    (19-21 November 2008, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  6. Sixth Meeting
    (4-6 November 2009, Montreal, Canada)
  7. Seventh Meeting
    (8-10 September 2010, Montreal, Canada)
  8. Eight Meeting
    (5-7 October 2011, Montreal, Canada)
  9. Ninth Meeting
    (30 May-1 June 2012, Montreal, Canada)

Update on 2013-07-12
United Nations Environment Programme United Nations