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What has been done on the need for and modalities of developing standards

(Article 18, Paragraph 3, of the Cartagena Protocol)

Consideration of paragraph 3 of Article 18 began at the third meeting of COP-MOP. In decision BS-III/9, Parties, other Governments and relevant international organizations were invited to submit to the Executive Secretary views and information on the adequacy of existing rules and standards for identification, handling, packaging and transport of goods and substances to address concerns relating to living modified organisms and the existing gaps that may justify a need to develop new rules and standards, for consideration at the next meeting.

At its fourth meeting, COP-MOP considered submissions compiled by the Secretariat relating to standards concerning the identification, handling, packaging and transport of LMOs. In decision BS-IV/10, COP-MOP requested the Executive Secretary to organize an online conference to identify the relevant standards and where gaps exist as well as to prepare a summary of the outcome reflecting the full range of views expressed for consideration at the fifth meeting of the COP-MOP. In addition, COP-MOP requested Parties and encouraged other Governments and international organizations to ensure that information related to these standards is available through the BCH.

At its fifth meeting, the COP-MOP in decision BS-V/9 requested the Secretariat to: (a) continue following relevant developments in standards and report to COP-MOP 6; (b) disseminate results of the previous Online Forum on Standards for LMO Shipments; (c) organize regional workshops for heads of laboratories involved in LMO detection to exchange information and experience on the implementation of standards and methods and workshops for customs officers on sampling and detection of LMOs; and (d) commission a study to analyse information on existing relevant standards, methods and guidance for consideration by COP-MOP 6. It also invited submissions to the BCH of information on existing standards, guidance on the use of international standards and on methods for the detection and identification of LMOs. Furthermore, Parties were invited to nominate reference laboratories to be part an electronic network of laboratories aimed at facilitating the identification of LMOs and the sharing of information and experiences. COP-MOP also invited collaboration between the Secretariat and (a) standard-setting bodies towards the establishment of an electronic communications group for the exchange of information on relevant activities; and (b) the International Plant Protection Convention on the development of an explanatory document on common terminology.

At its sixth meeting, in decision BS-VI/8, the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to further examine the potential gaps and inconsistencies identified in a study commissioned to analyze standards relevant to the handling, transport, packaging and identification of LMOs (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/6/INF/24) and to provide recommendations, as appropriate, to the seventh meeting of the COP-MOP. The decision also encouraged Parties and invited other Governments to support, in meetings of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the World Trade Organization, the request of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity for observer status in the Committee.

At its seventh meeting, the COP-MOP, in decision BS-VII/8 took note of the additional analysis conducted by the Secretariat on information concerning potential gaps and inconsistencies in existing standards relevant to the handling, packaging and identification of LMOs and requested the Executive Secretary to collaborate with relevant international standard-setting bodies and to keep Parties abreast of any new developments in relevant international regulations and to make such information readily available through the BCH. The COP-MOP also encouraged Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to provide the Executive Secretary with any additional information that may assist Parties in identifying and applying existing rules and standards, and requested the Executive Secretary to make such information available through the BCH.

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Decision BS-V/9 invited the International Plant Protection Convention to collaborate with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the development of an explanatory document on the terminology of the Protocol in relation to the glossary of phytosanitary terms adopted by the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the International Plant Protection Convention, has developed a compilation of selected terms, along with their definitions or descriptions, that are used in the context of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety or its associated agreements (the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).

The compilation provides, for comparative purposes, descriptions and definitions of identical, similar, or associated terms used in: the Codex Alimentarius; standards set by the Organization for Animal Health (OIE); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Glossary of Biotechnology for Food and Agriculture; and in the Glossary of Statistical Terms of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The compilation does not provide a complete overview of definitions or descriptions of all key terms used in the Cartagena Protocol.

The compilation was prepared on the basis of a desk review of publicly available sources containing definitions or descriptions of terms, made available by the IPPC, the FAO, the Codex Alimentarius, the OECD and the OIE. Subsequently, the respective organizations or secretariats serving the instruments were invited to validate the research. The validation dates are reflected in the compilation. As terms and definitions may be subject to change over time, it is important to verify the information provided when consulting the compilation.

The document is available here.