Policy Roundtable on Article 26 of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

“Socio-Economic Considerations, Biosafety, Biotechnology and Decision- Making”

June 27, 2011

International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR) 2011 Conference,  Rome, Italy (June 26-29, 2011)
For more information on the ICABR 2011 conference please press here

 

Chair/Moderator

Peter W. B. Phillips – Professor of Public Policy, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Presenters:

–          Janet Carpenter – Consultant, USA

–          David Castle – Professor and Chair of Innovations in the Life Sciences at University of Edinburgh

–          Jose Falck-Zepeda – Research Fellow and Leader Policy Team Program for Biosafety Systems, IFPRI

–          Eric Sachs – Global Industry Coalition of Croplife International/ Monsanto

–          Justus Wesseler – Professor and Chair Agricultural and Food Economics, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München

–          Jose Yorobe Jr. – Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines – Los Baños, Philippines

Objectives

  1. Provide context for expert dialogue with policy-makers on the use of socio-economic considerations in decision-making.
  2. Identify benefits and costs from socio-economic considerations.
  3. Describe scenarios for use of socio-economic considerations in decision making.
  4. Identify potential issues and considerations for policy development and implementation.
  5. Identify researchable and action items for future ICABR research (methods, analysis, inclusion in decision making, regulatory impact assessment).

Description

Socioeconomic assessments of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become a controversial issue under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Conservation (Falck-Zepeda, 2009). The objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling, and use of “living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology” that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, also taking into account risks to human health and specifically focusing on transboundary movements (Article 1 of the Protocol, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 2000).

Under the protocol, parties may also include socioeconomic considerations in reaching decisions on imports, including the planting of GMOs, as stated in Article 26 of the convention (see the box). Some authors as Jaffe (2005) argue that the Cartagena Protocol limits the scope of socio-economic assessments to those factors affecting biodiversity with an emphasis on those affecting local and indigenous communities. Nevertheless, even if the scope of the Protocol is limited, many countries are or have considered inclusion of socio-economic aspects in their national legislation. While Article 26 provides the opportunity for including a socio-economic assessment in national biosafety regulations, international concern has been raised that a socio-economic assessment will become a mandatory part of the approval process and further complicates the approval of new crops.

Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

1. The Parties, in reaching a decision on import under this Protocol or under its domestic measures implementing the Protocol, may take into account, consistent with their international obligations, socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of living modified organisms on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, especially with regard to the value of biological diversity to indigenous and local communities.

2. The Parties are encouraged to cooperate on research and information exchange on any socio-economic impacts of living modified organisms, especially on indigenous and local communities.

Source: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2000).

 This roundtable is being  organized by IFPRI-Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), University of Saskatchewan, Technische Universität München, and Tor Vergata University. Gracious contributions to make this policy roundtable possible have been made by the Global Industry Coalition – CropLife, IFPRI/Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), VALGEN, and IFPRI’s project 2010P032 funded by IDRC-Canada. Further information is available from José Falck Zepeda (j.falck-zepeda@cgiar.org), Stuart Smyth (sjs064@mail.usask.ca) or Justus Wesseler (Justus Wesseler <a href="mailto:justus.wesseler@wzw.tum.de)

Roundtable organization

The session will include 6 presentations of 10 minutes, Chair introduction and comments (10 minutes) plus a general discussion of 50 minutes. The idea is to motivate participants to discuss the issues and to develop an action plan for ICABR that will support developing countries as they prepare for the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP-MOP6) of the Cartagena Protocol to be held in Hyderabad India October 2012, and for other national, regional and international activities to be implemented in a number of countries.

 

Policy roundtable program

Speaker Time (minutes) Topic/theme
Peter Phillips 5 Why this topic is important
Jose Falck-Zepeda – Research Fellow and Leader Policy Team Program for Biosafety Systems, IFPRI 10
  • Background on article 26.1 of the Cartagena Protocol
  • Practical issues for regulatory design and decision making
Janet Carpenter – Consultant, USA 10 Implications of biodiversity impacts for SEC
David Castle – Professor and Chair of Innovations in the Life Sciences at University of Edinburgh 10 Status of the inclusion of SEC in Canada and the US – Implications for Innovation
Jose Yorobe Jr. – Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines – Los Baños, Philippines 10 Status of socio-economic assessments in the Philippines and implications for biosafety decision making in the country
Justus Wesseler – Professor and Chair Agricultural and Food Economics, Center of Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München 10 Status of SEC in the EU
Eric Sachs – Global Industry Coalition of Croplife International/ Monsanto 10 Summaries of the different positions at the online discussions hosted by the CBD Secretariat and potential implications for the global agricultural research system
Peter Phillips 5 Summary and issues for the socio-economic assessment community, innovators, developers, regulators, decision makers and other stakeholders
Open discussion 50
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