It was an exciting day at the MoP 6 where the foundations are being laid to bring about a supplementary protocol to ensure the growth of biodiversity.
After a productive opening day at the CoP-MoP yesterday, delegates at the conference are getting down to business on Day Two. Primary on the agenda today are the discussions on the two working groups on matters which will help towards building a consensus on the Nagoya-Kuala Lampur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.
The Protocol is considered a step towards achieving bio-safety by making countries liable for damage resulting from Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). But so far only 51 of the 164 countries (including India) have signed while only three countries have ratified the Protocol.
In two sessions, one working group will deliberate on matters of unintentional transboundary movements of Living Modified Organisms and socio-economic barriers in developing countries, the other working group will have a first round of discussions on risk assessment.
Head of Bio-safety Charles Gbedemah, representing the CBD secretariat stated that the meetings held so far have been encouraging. “There is always scope for debate and discussion in matters of such magnitude. But so far so good. While there are divergent views, we see them heading towards a consensus.” Compared to the CoP-MoP held in Nagoya, he stated that the current one seemed to be far more harmonious.
Apart from the working groups, a number of side events are to take place in the afternoon session today. At the heart of the programmes are topics such as bio-safety and accountability, effective regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms in South Africa, sustainable farming, food security and biotechonology and closer home, a discussion of farmer experiences on the use of biotech products.
Another interesting event of the day was a panel session ‘No shortcut to biodiversity’, was held by environmentalists from the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Dr GV Ramanjaneyulu, Veena Rao and convenor of coalition for GM Free India Sridhar Radhakrish-nan, spoke on the hazards of genetically modified crops.