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Further 3 ratifications and the Aarhus Convention’s GMO Amendment will enter into force

30.08.2016

GMO1Through decision II/1 adopted at its second session (Almaty, 25-27 May 2005), the Meeting of the Parties to the UN EEC (European Economic Commission) Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters adopted an amendment to the Convention on Genetically Modified Organisms.

Initially, it was decided that the amendment will enter into force when it will be ratified by at least three-quarters of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention, which were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted. That is, at this moment were ratified by 27 Parties from 35.
On 11 July 2016, France approved the amendment on genetically modified organisms raising the total number of the Parties to the amendment to 30. However, 24 of those were Party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted. Therefore, three additional ratifications are needed from among the following Parties: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

The GMO amendment is extremely important in terms of protecting the public’s rights, as it recognizes the right of public participation in decision-making on genetically modified organisms.
Note that the guidelines on genetically modified organisms on access to information, public participation and access to justice adopted yet by the first meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (Luca, October 21-23, 2002).

Through the decision adopted at the second meeting of Parties has been strengthened cooperation with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Aarhus Convention and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety secretariats had established a strong collaborative relationship in recent years, undertaking a number of successful joint activities at the international level. They have developed recently a checklist of key measures to assist Parties in ratifying and implementing the Aarhus Convention and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in the context of living modified (LMOs)/genetically modified (GMOs) organisms. All interested Governments and stakeholders were invited to submit their comments through the two rounds of consultations held in 2014-2015. The finalised checklist, taking into account the comments received, is available to Parties to both instruments and stakeholders for their information and use: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/gmo/GMO-Checklist-AarhusConvention-CartagenaProtocol.pdf :

In addition, the two secretariats prepared a note that describes different tools and resources for the provision of technical assistance to support implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Aarhus Convention in the context of LMOs)/GMOs.
http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/gmo/Note_Tools_and_Resources-GMO-LMO-AarhusConvention-CartagenaProtocol.pdf :

In keeping with the above, the Aarhus Convention has undertaken a number of joint activities with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety addressing access to information and public participation with respect to GMOs.
The two secretariats are jointly organizing in Geneva the second global round table on LMOs/GMOs on 15-17 November 2016.
http://www.unece.org/env/pp/grt_lmo_gmo_2016.html#/ :

Additional information on the documents relating to the Aarhus Convention and the GMO are available at the following link: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html :

Prepared by Anush Beybutyan
Editor: Mari Chakryan
“To support government and civil society to resolve problems relating to the environment” project