CropLife International applauded the productive negotiations that took place at last week’s Conference of the Parties serving as the sixth Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP-6) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (BSP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In particular, the plant biotechnology industry commends the Parties’ hard work in coming to consensus on several Articles of the BSP last week, including risk assessment and risk management, shipping documentation requirements, and the role of socio-economic considerations in decision-making. Progress made during these negotiations will help ensure the transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) continues to protect biological diversity and maintains international trade.

“The plant biotechnology industry appreciates the opportunity to participate in the negotiations, as the outcomes impact how farmers and consumers will access innovative agricultural technologies which can increase crop productivity while protecting biodiversity,” said Sarah Lukie, Secretariat of the Global Industry Coalition (GIC). “The delegates are congratulated for the significant progress made in many key areas to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This week’s meetings are an essential step for improving farmer access to agricultural innovations and biotech crops while ensuring smooth international trade transactions.”

The plant science industry participates in the BSP negotiations and implementation discussions through the GIC. The GIC receives input and direction from trade associations representing thousands of companies from all over the world. Participants include associations representing, and companies engaged in a variety of industrial sectors such as plant science, seed, agricultural biotechnology, food production, animal agriculture, human and animal health care, and the environment.

During the week’s negotiations, the GIC presented an Implementation Guide to the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, as well as the 2nd amendment to the Compact, a contractual mechanism providing for a clearly defined, efficient, and fair recourse process in the unlikely event of damage to biological diversity caused by a LMO.

“The plant science industry was pleased that delegates welcomed the Implementation Guide — the first tool to aid in implementing the Supplementary Protocol – as well as continued to support the Compact as an effective and comprehensive process for addressing States’ claims for remediation in the unlikely event of damage to biological diversity,” continued Lukie.

Members of the GIC look forward to participating in the numerous intersessional meetings, scheduled by Parties, to occur before they meet again for their seventh meeting in Korea in 2014.

Today, biotech crops are grown on 160 million hectares in 29 countries, including several major agricultural exporting countries. Guidelines on the import, transfer, handling, and domestic use of living modified organisms, including how to address damage to biological diversity, can have significant impact on international trade.