Starting today, delegates from 15 countries will share their country’s perspective at a meeting organized by IICA, in preparation for next month’s Conference of the Parties in Egypt.
San José, 9 October 2018 (IICA). From today until Thursday, 32 representatives from national biosafety authorities in 15 countries of the hemisphere, will discuss their positions on biosafety and biotechnology in a preparatory session for the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP/ MOP-9), which will be held from 17 to 29 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The preparatory meeting is being hosted by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at its Headquarters in San José, Costa Rica, and is taking place in the context of the technical cooperation actions that fall under the organization’s Bioeconomy and Production Development program.
Pedro Rocha, IICA’s Biotechnology and Biosafety Specialist, explained that this event that takes place every two years fosters dialogue between the countries’ delegates and provides an opportunity for participants to discuss issues in depth and to gain a greater understanding of topics to be addressed at COP/MOP-9, in relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB).
“We will cover issues, such as risk analysis of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); the involuntary cross-border movement, detection, monitoring and confined use of these organisms; socioeconomic considerations for their use; and synthetic biology and precision biotechnology, which have an extremely important bearing on this new era of biotechnology, and are matters on which IICA has been working for some years”, stressed Rocha.
The specialist went on to express IICA’s desire that this technical cooperation activity contribute in an objective way to ensuring that any discussions undertaken and decisions and positions adopted by the member countries of the Conference of the Parties, whatever they may be, would be scientifically- and technically-based, and thus, would help to strengthen the declarations and participation of those in attendance.
The preparatory meeting was attended by representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, Uruguay. Chile, Ecuador and Mexico participated virtually.
Private sector perspective
On this occasion, the preparatory meeting for COP/MOP-9 will host a virtual panel discussion with Colombia’s Agricultural Plant Biotechnology Association (Agro-Bio) and Agroincone of Brazil - two associations made up of different biotechnology developers – in order to understand the perspective of these groups.
Rocha concluded by stating that, “We want to understand the private sector perspective, not to influence it or to exert any pressure, but to understand their concerns and to offer an open forum for discussion on certain key issues, which will eventually enable us to arrive at proposals that will help to strengthen agriculture”.
Pedro Rocha, International Biotechnology and Biosafety Specialist, IICA.