Article 26 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety provides that Parties may take into account socio-economic considerations in reaching a decision on import of living modified organisms (LMOs), but only to the extent consistent with that country’s other international obligations. Paragraph 1 further limits what may be taken into account by defining socio-economic considerations as those “arising from the impacts of LMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, especially with regard to the value of biological diversity to indigenous and local communities.” Paragraph 2 requires Parties to cooperate on research and information exchange on any socio-economic impacts of LMOs, especially on indigenous and local communities.
At their seventh meeting (COP/MOP-7), Parties agreed to a number of actions related to Article 26 which will guide the Parties discussions on this issue at COP/MOP-8:
- The Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-economic Considerations (AHTEG) was requested to work, in a stepwise approach, on: (i) the further development of conceptual clarity on socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of LMOs on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and (ii) developing an outline for guidance for socio-economic considerations in decision-making.
- Parties, Governments and observers were invited to submit comments on the “Elements of a Framework for Conceptual Clarity on Socio-Economic Considerations” contained in the annex to the report of the first meeting of the AHTEG.
- The Secretariat was requested to: (i) compile information on policies, laws, regulations and guidelines providing for definitions of socio-economic considerations, and practical applications of socio-economic considerations in decision-making on LMOs, including cases where positive and negative socio-economic impacts have been considered; (ii) convene online discussion groups to facilitate the exchange of views, information and experiences on socio-economic considerations; and (iii) commission a study on international agreements that may have relevance to socio-economic considerations.
GIC views on the role of Socio-economics in decision-making on LMOs can be found here.