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Resumed Session on the First Extraordinary Meeting of the Convention of the Parties (COP) to Finalize and Adopt a Protocol on Biosafety

Montréal, CANADA
24-28 Jan 2000

Session de Reprise de la Première Réunion Extraordinaire de la Conférence des Parties (CdP) de la CDB pour la Finalisation et l'Adoption du Protocole de Biosécurité [en français]


Saturday 29 January :

Cartagena Protocol Adopted!

Plenary reconvened at 4:30 a.m. and at approximately 5:00 am on Saturday 29 January 2000, the Resumed Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the Adoption of the Protocol on Biosafety to the CBD officially adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Final debates centred around a provision stating that minimum documentation clearly state that LMOs for food, feed or processing "may contain" LMOs not intended for introduction into the environment. The provision further states that detailed requirements, including specification of their identity and any unique identification, be decided no later than two years after the Protocol's entry into force.

Photos: Juan Mayr, CBD-ExCOP President celebrates the adoption of the Protocol on Biosafety with colleagues after officially closing the 1st Extraordinary Conference of the Parties (left top, left middle); and with Canadian Minister of the Environment, Hon. David Anderson (lower left); closing Plenary (below).

Listen to ExCOP President Juan Mayr's closing remarks.

Margot Wallström, European Commissioner for Environment, Nuclear Safety, and Civil Protection - underlines in her speech  that this Protocol is a breakthrough for international trade and the environment, and that we can be proud to have shown leadership here.  This Protocol will help build confidence, ease public concern over LMOs, and provide predictability for industry. 

Yoke Ling Chee, Third World Network, speaks on behalf of the NGOs present. She noted that this Protocol is a first major step in a long journey; that the NGOs look forward to going home to work with national governments at the regional level; and that they look forward to working with the COP again on the liability regime.

 Global Industry Coalition's representative commented that the Protocol was represented a significant step forward, by providing a framework to protect biodiversity, by recognizing the importance of the biotech industy, and by building a framework for continued investment in production, innovation, and development, from which we can all share the resulting social and economic benefits.


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" the corridors..."

Delegates and Ministers alike gathered in the corridors for last-minute meetings prior to the 3:00 a.m. scheduled Plenary.  This informal decision-making process delayed the Plenary from reconvening until 4:30 a.m.  At this point, reports from the CBD Secretariat confirmed receipt of the draft protocol text in all 6 official UN languages, however, conflicting Miami Group interests were played out in the corridors while other participants and interest groups speculated or slept in the Plenary hall.

Consistent presence of civil society at the CBD-ExCOP lasted throughout the week, with a core group of people camping overnight on the public lawns of the ICAO. 

The organizers wanted to make sure that the delegates knew they were being watched, that there was serious public interest in what was happeneing, and that their value-based message was simple : they want a strong protocol, and increased awareness of the issues surrounding modified organisms intended for food or feed.

The action was organized by BAM! (Bio Action Montreal), a collective of concerned parties such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, students, and other interest groups.  This committed group deserve some recognition for their friendly, creative and well-organized action, and also for braving the sub-zero temperatures and rallying through the final hours of the development of the protocol.




Convention on Biodiversity Homepage [CBD]
CBD Secretariat page for the Resumed ExCOP
Clearing House Mechanism [CHM]
EXCOP Documents : UNEP's pre-session documents
ENB Briefing Note from Sept. 99 Informal Consultations
ENB Coverage of Cartagena (BSWG-6)
ENB Coverage of BSWG-5, BSWG-4, BSWG-3, BSWG-2, BSWG-1

This page was last updated 01/18/2002 16:47:18 -0600
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