click for big pictureclick for big pictureBiosafety Protocol negotiations in Curitiba, 13-17 March 2006


All decisions taken at the 3rd meeting of the parties (provisional edition)
Decision BS-III/10. Handling, transport, packaging and identification of living modified organisms: paragraph 2 (a) of Article 18
More updates and details at the official web-site of the Biosafety Protocol

daily coverage of the Curitiba Meeting in the Earth Negotiations bulletin
daily coverage, background and interviews (English, German, Spanish) by Biotech-Trade-Watch (EED)
daily coverage in "where did our genes go?" by youth representatives

Assessments of the results




The 3rd Meeting of the Parties of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety concluded in the evening of Friday 17 March with the adoption of minimum standards for identification and documentation of LMOs (=GMOs in the language of the Protocol) under its Article 18.2a. After dramatic negotiations and night shifts the final agreement requires

NightwatchThis is less than what most member states wanted but more than the previous requirements under the transitional provisions of Article 18.2a. The provisions will be reviewed in 2012.

A few "rogue states", supported by industry and the US, Canada, Argentina (not parties to the Protocol) fought until the very bitter end to weaken the provisions and threatened the meeting with a complete failure. In the end it was Mexico and Paraguay who demanded changes such as explicitely stating that these provisions did not apply to trade with non-parties to the Protocol. Peru and Nicaragua came to their support at times. Initially Brazil and New Zealand were the countries who had prevented an agreement in 2005. While Brazil made a substantial and domestically highly publicised change of its position on the first day of the negotiations, New Zealand upheld its reservations until the last day.

NGOs, who co-operated intensively played an important part in getting the final agreement namely by putting domestic pressure on the governments of Brazil, New Zealand and Mexico. The final text will be posted as soon as available.

The COP/MOP Decision on Article 18.2a
(quoting from Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary, also available in French and Spanish)

In the decision on Article 18.2(a) (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/3/L.19), the COP/MOP recalls Decision BS-I/6, Article 2.4 (parties’ right to take more protective action), Article 14 (Bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements and arrangements), Article 24 (Non-parties) and Article 11 (LMO-FFPs). It requests parties and urges other governments to take measures to ensure the use of a commercial invoice or other document to accompany LMO-FFPs, and to submit information on experience six months prior to COP/MOP-5, with a view to further harmonization of a documentation format and consideration of the need for a stand-alone document. It further requests parties and urges other governments to take measures ensuring that the documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs provides the details of a contact point for further information.
The COP/MOP requests parties and urges other governments to take measures ensuring that documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs, in commercial production and authorized in accordance with domestic regulatory frameworks, is in compliance with the requirements of the country of import and clearly states:
• in cases where the identity of the LMO is known through identity preservation systems, that the shipment “contains” LMO-FFPs;
• in cases where the identity of the LMOs is not known through identity preservation systems, that the shipment may contain one or more LMO-FFPs;
• that the LMOs are not intended for intentional introduction into the environment;
• the common, scientific and, where available, commercial names of the LMOs;
• the transformation event code or, where available, its unique identifier code; and
• the internet address of the BCH.
The COP/MOP invites parties and other governments to make available information on the BCH, including: transformation events commercially produced for each planting cycle and their geographical areas within the exporting country; the names of the LMOs; and their transformation event codes and unique identifiers, where available. It further notes that the specific documentation requirements set out in the decision do not apply to transboundary movements of LMOs between parties and non-parties. It also acknowledges that the expression “may contain” does not require a listing of LMOs of species other than those that constitute the shipment.
The COP/MOP decides to review and assess experience gained with documentation at COP/MOP-5, with a view to considering a decision at COP/MOP-6 ensuring that documentation accompanying LMO-FFPs clearly states that the shipment “contains” LMO-FFPs. This review shall include an examination of capacity-building efforts in developing countries.
The COP/MOP also requests the CBD Executive Secretary to mobilize funds to support implementation of Article 18.2(a), and requests parties to strengthen capacity-building efforts to assist developing countries in the implementation of documentation requirements. It encourages parties and other governments to cooperate in the use and development of sampling and detection techniques, and submit related information to the CBD Executive Secretary for consideration at COP/MOP-4.

Greenpeace press release, reports and maps 8th March  GMO CONTAMINATION AND DUMPING GROUNDS
NGO releases, studies, links:                NGO
For additional background papers go to: REFERENCES
For more details on Terminator go to:      
For more details on the WTO ruling go to:   WTO

Assessments of the results

Phil Bereano: Dispatch from Curitiba

official MOP 3 preparatory documents list on CBD server

Secretariats preparatory note on Article 18.2(a)

Biosafety Protocol basic information

Text of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
In Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Basic requirements of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
Note by the Secretariat explaining duties and implementation requirements of Parties, September 2003

List of Parties to the Protocol
All 132 countries that have ratified the BSP as of January 2006 (quick overview at end of this page)

An explanatory guide to the Cartagena Protocol
Detailed legal description and assessment prepared by IUCN environmental law centre and FIELD (360 pages), April 2002

MOP 2 (Montreal May/June 2005)

List of participants MOP 2
All government delegations and national focal points, Industry, NGOs etc by countryor affiliation with email and phone numbers - a good source to find out who will be attending MOP 3, the first person in the list of a country was usually the head of delegation.

Last compromise proposal on Article 18.2 at MOP 2
"Swiss compromise" - not adopted as blocked by New Zealand and Brazil
Excerpt from the Bulletin regarding Article 18.2
Brazil, New Zealand block decision on documentation of GMOs
Final report from Montreal, 4 June 2005 (Lim Li Ching and Lim Li Lin, Third World Network)

Technical Expert Group on Identification Requirements of Living Modified Organisms Intended for Direct Use as Food or Feed, or for Processing (March 2005)
Briefings and reports at TWNs biosafety information centre

MOP 1 (Kuala Lumpur February 2004)

Decision MOP BS-I/6
Handling, transport, packaging and identification of living modified organisms (Article 18), last and only MOP decision on Art.18.2(a)

List of Parties to the Biosafety Protocol:

As of Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 132 instruments of ratification or accession have been deposited with the UN Secretary-General from the following Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity:

Africa (AFR): Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe (37 Countries)
Asia and Pacific (AP): Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Jordan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Niue, Oman, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tonga, Viet Nam, Yemen (33 Countries)
Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine (19 Countries)
Latin America and Caribbean (GRULAC): Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela (23 Countries)
Western Europe and Other Groups (WEOG): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (20 Countries)