After five days of intense talks, the MoP-6 draws to an end with some decisions made but with many more relegated to the next Meeting of Parties.
Two years ago, the Meeting of Parties in Nagoya ended very differently than it did here yesterday. There was little doubt that Japan had witnessed history. After 10 years of discussions and debates and five inter-sessional committees, the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol finally achieved a major milestone in bio-safety by drafting the Nagoya — Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress.
The Supplementary Protocol is a legally-binding treaty that calls for accountability on part of the Parties should there be harm/damage to biodiversity or human health caused by their use of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). But the treaty is yet to come into force with the need for 37 more countries to ratify it. So it was with this sense of anticipation, that the Parties convened at Hyderabad, to garner resources and strategies needed at global, national and local levels to realise the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, and of course, to garner support for ratification of the Protocol.
But even at the end of five days of intense discussions, it’s hard to accurately conclude the success of the current MoP. On the plus side, the Secretariat to the CBD said it was happy with the progress made with 18 key decisions, including the commission of an ad-hoc technical committee to explore socio-economic factors w.r.t the Supplementary Protocol.
India puts its weight behind the decision and promised to lend its support. “Biodiversity is not just about the environment but also about people, society and their livelihoods. In this context, socio-economic factors play an important role. The ad-hoc technical group will work in the inter-sessional period to assess different countries in their specific regional contexts,” said the special secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, MF Farooqui.
On the flip side, it’s believed that the current CoP-MoP still has made no significant inroads into raising resources or garnering ratifications.
Talking to the media on Friday evening, Braulio de Souza Dias, executive secretary to the CBD, admitted that MoP was being plagued by budgetary constraints, “We don’t have reassurance of funds to implement the decisions we’ve discussed here. No countries have come forward to fund these activities. There is a need for more certainty,” he said. He added that they need resources to the tune of $5.15 million, which it needs if it were to successfully implement the aforementioned decisions.
Concerning the slow level of progress, Dias cited that disparity of member countries and variations in national frameworks were the main stumbling blocks. “The conditions in different countries are different. Some countries have less, some have more. Those who are prepared to move fast might feel like they are being held back, while others might feel they are being pushed too fast. But it’s important to move together. However, it will have to wait until the next meeting. It’s time to move over from Monday. “There will be a new set of agenda items. Biosafety is not going to be discussed,” said Diaz.
So it seems that while many decisions were made, an equal number including that of ratification of the Supplementary Protocol, have been relegated to the 2014 MoP.