I think that Article 26 is about consequences as it speaks of the socioeconomic considerations arising from the impact on biodiversity from the introduction of an LMO. In fact, seems to me that the wording of the article actually points to a sequential approach where you actually determine an impact on biodiversity of importance to local and indigenous communities (at the risk assessment level?), and then determine the socioeconomic considerations relevant to that impact.

The wording of the article seems to indicate that it is not only biodiversity per se, but rather the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Article seems to lean towards a utilitarian view of nature where biodiversity draws innate value (broad terms) and value in use.

One important issue is defining a standard of proof for putting forward a claim of impact. In defining such claim, I do not necessary mean “proven consequences”. As long as an impact has a credible likelihood (or probability) of occurring, then it becomes relevant. This would of course mean an assessment to determine likelihood and potential impact and thus meet a standard of proof.

If there is no standard of proof, what would stop a stakeholder from making a spurious claim of biodiversity impact be it harm or benefit? Would it then be that anybody can stand up and claim such impact without any basis or credibility and that would be sufficient to motivate a regulatory/decision making response? Obviously, this is also connected to public participation and the fiduciary responsibility of regulators/decision makers to society. I am just thinking out loud focused on future implementation.

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).

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