Funds a major constraint in implementing Cartagena Protocol

Parties to the protocol emphasise on need for capacity building for managing risks from genetically engineered products

By M Suchitra
Published: Thursday 04 October 2012

For the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, the meeting of parties to the Cartagena Protocol (CoP-MoP-6) is debating key agenda issues relating to biosafety. Hall 1 and 2 of the Hyderabad international convention centre is humming with activity as discussions and negotiations proceed. The main agenda of the discussions are capacity building for implementing the protocol, risk assessment and risk management, socio-economic inclusion in biosaftey and fund raising for implementation of the protocol.

These points are being discussed by Working Group 1 and Working Group 2. Since Friday would be the last day of MoP 6, delegates from each member country are in the process of pushing their views. A document circulated to the delegates at the meeting on Wednesday noted that developing countries and countries in economic transition still lack the capacity to implement the protocol effectively.

According to the document, the main reason for this is funds scarcity. There is a general decline in the availability of funds for biosafety at bilateral and multi-lateral levels, the draft has noted. In their second national reports on the implementation of the protocol, 114 of the 143 parties (80 per cent) that submitted their reports by December 31, 2011, reported that they lacked capacity to effectively implement the Cartagena Protocol.

Most of the parties expressed need for capacity building in risk assessment and risk management of genetically engineered products and detection and identification of Genetically Modified Organisms and Living Modified Organisms (GMOs and LMOs), the document said. According to the document, most of the member countries have reported in their second national reports that they do not have in place fully established and functioning biosafety regulatory frameworks for implementing the protocol effectively.

Charles Gbedemah, head biosafety of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said efforts were being made to adopt a framework to help countries in capacity building in different aspects of the biosafety.

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