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MOP 3 Decision BS-III/11

Risk assessment and risk management

The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,

Recalling its decision BS-II/9, on risk assessment and risk management,

Recalling the important role of risk assessment in decision-making, and that Article 23 of the Protocol on Public Awareness and Participation, and Article 26 of the Protocol on Socio-Economic Consdieration are relevant to decision-making on import of living modified organisms,

1. Welcomes the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/3/INF/1), expresses its gratitude to the Government of Italy for its financial and organizational support to the meeting, and also expresses its gratitude to the Chair and members of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group for their work;

A. Existing guidance and information to support risk assessment

2. Requests the Executive Secretary to:

(a) Expand the compilation of available guidance documents on risk assessment and risk management contained in the Biosafety Information Resource Centre of the Biosafety Clearing-House, taking into account inter alia the numerous references in the report of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group to existing guidance materials;

(b) Provide an overview, through the Biosafety Clearing-House, showing the scope and applicability of each guidance material (e.g., for plants, animals or micro-organisms; for specific types of risk pathways; for particular traits; for particular receiving environments, etc.);

3. Invites Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to provide the Biosafety Clearing-House with additional links to databases and information sources relevant to risk assessment and risk management, and, where possible and appropriate, translate relevant information into one or more languages that are commonly used internationally;

4. Encourages Parties and other Governments, in submitting risk assessment summaries to the Biosafety Clearing-House in accordance with Article 20 of the Protocol, to include details regarding how particular challenges have been addressed and how existing information has been used to support risk assessments;

5. Encourages Parties and other Governments to put in place mechanisms for ensuring sharing of information among government agencies and other stakeholders at the national and regional level dealing with, inter alia, environment and human health issues related to biosafety;

6. Urges relevant United Nations bodies and other organizations that deal with biodiversity and human health issues to continue to collaborate, as appropriate, with regard to biosafety;

B. Potential need for additional guidance

7. Recalls that, according to paragraph 6 of Annex III of the Protocol, risk assessment should be carried out on a case-by-case basis;

8. Notes that there is existing guidance related to risk assessment and risk management for living modified organisms, but that it is possible that additional guidance may be required on specific aspects of risk assessment and risk management such as guidance focused on particular types of living modified organisms, particular intended uses of living modified organisms, particular types of risks, particular receiving environments, long-term monitoring of living modified organisms released into the environment, or on the relationship between and the involvement of Competent National Authorities responsible for risk assessment in conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity;

9. Decides to consider, at its fourth meeting, the need for further guidance on specific aspects of risk assessment and risk management, and the appropriate modalities for development of any such guidance such as a further meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment, taking into account inter alia:

(a) The compilation and overview of guidance materials that will be provided through the Biosafety Clearing-House in accordance with paragraph 2 above;

(b) The results of the regional workshops on capacity-building and exchange of experiences on risk assessment and risk management called for in paragraph 2 of decision BS-II/9; and

(c) The ongoing work of relevant United Nations bodies and other organizations;

10. Calls upon Parties, other Governments and donor organizations to make funds available to the Executive Secretary as soon as possible to enable the regional workshops referred to in paragraph 9(b) above to be held in advance of the fourth meeting of the Parties, as requested in decision BS-II/9, and also invites Parties, other Governments and organizations with relevant experience in risk assessment and risk management to offer to share their experiences and expertise at the regional workshops;

C. Capacity-building

11. Recalls the emphasis given to risk assessment and other scientific and technical expertise, and risk management, as key elements requiring concrete action, in the Action Plan for Building Capacities for the Effective Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety;

12. Notes the need for adequate financial resources to build human and infrastructure capacity in the long-term;

13. Urges Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to promote South-South and north-south partnerships as a means to increase the capacity available to Parties to implement the risk assessment and risk management provisions of the Protocol;

14. Urges Parties and other Governments to promote cooperation and synergies at national and regional levels between agencies and experts in order to draw widely on the experience and expertise relevant to risk assessment and risk management;

15. Requests the Executive Secretary to collaborate with relevant organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to promote networking and interlinkages between experts in risk assessment of living modified organisms and experts in other relevant fields of risk assessment and risk management (e.g., plant health, animal health, food safety), using, inter alia, Internet portals such as the Biosafety Clearing‑House and the International Portal on Food Safety, Animal & Plant Health;

16. Encourages Parties and other Governments to invite universities and colleges to develop and/or expand degree-granting programmes that focus on training biosafety professionals;

17. Encourages Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to promote, develop, and/or participate in, as appropriate, exchange and scholarship programmes related to biosafety;

18. Encourages relevant donor Governments and organizations to support and/or develop, as appropriate, particularly in developing countries, in particular least developed and small island developing States among them, and megadiverse countries, practical training activities in the following areas:

(a) Interdisciplinary teamwork in the context of risk assessment and risk management;

(b) Research to support risk assessment and how to conduct risk assessment and risk management;

(c) Knowledge management, including how to find, use and interpret existing information, how to identify and address need-to-know gaps in information, and how to present risk assessments;

19. Encourages relevant donor Governments and organizations to support, strengthen, or where appropriate, to assist with the establishment of testing and detection facilities for living modified organisms, as well as regional, sub-regional and national centres of excellence in biosafety research;

20. Encourages Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations to share information related to risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms through the Biosafety Information Resource Centre of the Biosafety Clearing-House, as well as through other Internet and non-Internet based mechanisms;

21. Encourages relevant donor Governments and organizations to fund and support risk‑assessment and risk-management research.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme