Politics / Law

International agreement on GMO liability

15.10.2010

After six years of negotiations, the signatories to the Cartagena Protocol
on Biological Safety adopted an agreement on the safety of genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). According to the decision which will be published
on the last day of the Caratgena-conference in Nagoya on October 15th,
countries that introduce GMOs will have a right to be compensated if
biological damage occurs.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Secretary General of the UN Convention on Biological
Diversity called the new agreement an "important milestone". In several
prior attempts the 160 signatories to the Cartagena Protocol had not reached
agreement over the liability for damage caused by GMOs. Most recently an
agreement at the 4th conference of the treaty members held in Bonn failed in
October 2008.
With the amendment protocol, which is called the Kuala Lumpur-Nagoya-
Protocol because of the last two cities where negotiations were held, a
GMO-manufacturer is liable for any potential damages which occur in export
countries. This is a boon for developing countries which receive more legal
certainty than before. The proposal was championed by Kenya.
The agreement on liability and compensation for the use of GMOs will be
binding under international law when it was ratified by 40 of the members of
the Cartagena protocol. Starting March 2011 the agreement will be presented
in the UN headquarters in New York for signing.

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