Webcast Service From COP10 In Nagoya

The webcasts from the conference about biological diversity in Nagoya are quite a good way to get a feeling for international negotiations, if that's your thing ;) They have both a live on air feed and an on demand library of videos from the main events.

For example, if you want to know more about the treaty about liability and redress for genetically modified crops (we now have a new agreement that will put pressure on the biotech industry in case they cause damage to the environment or human health) please watch this video from the plenary session on Oct 16:

COP-MOP5 Plenary session adopting the new liability and redress treaty (196 min, the good bit - the adoption of the treaty - starts around 118 min and there is a good speech at around 158 min)

Asahi Shinbun also had this story today: GM treaty requires compensation

New rules aimed at exacting compensation from businesses or organizations that allow internationally traded genetically modified crops to spread into the wild were adopted at a U.N. meeting in Nagoya on Friday.

The treaty, which will allow governments in importing countries to pursue those responsible if crops dropped during transportation damage local ecosystems, was adopted amid growing evidence that the existing system for regulating the global spread of genetically modified crops is failing.

Discussions at the Nagoya meeting last week revealed that only 89 of the 158 countries that signed the Cartagena Protocol of 2000 had reported on how they ensured the safety of imported crops. The Cartagena Protocol was a set of international rules intended to improve monitoring in importing nations of genetically modified organisms.

Most of the countries that have failed to report are developing nations, and many are in Africa. Forty-seven countries have not enacted laws based on the protocol.

Developing countries at the Nagoya meeting called for greater support from developed nations in writing legislation and training personnel to do monitoring.

The treaty agreed on Friday is called the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

It lays down rules and procedures on how to respond to damage caused to ecosystems by genetically modified organisms.

If seeds dropped during transportation grow in the wild and damage the local environment, that country's government can specify the party responsible and seek compensation and remedy. If the responsible party fails to take action, relevant administrative bodies will be obliged to do so themselves.

In Japan, a major importer of genetically altered crops, genetically modified organisms have already spread into the wild.

A farm ministry survey at importing ports in 10 prefectures between 2006 and 2008 found genetically modified rapeseed growing in the neighborhoods of eight ports.

The ministry said no evidence of crossbreeding with local plants had been found, but a citizens group in Aichi Prefecture reported that its research, conducted between 2005 and 2009, had found such cases.

Japan screens crossbreeding and other risks under domestic laws based on the Cartagena Protocol. The government has approved 145 genetically modified crops for use in the nation's food or feed supply as of July, including soybeans and varieties of corn.

While commercial production of genetically modified crops is not banned outright in Japan, cultivation is at present limited to research.

The farm ministry said it planned to increase research into crops' impact on ecosystems.

Meanwhile, scientists at the meeting in Nagoya said regulation of genetically modified fish and trees was now becoming an urgent issue. A Canadian company is currently aiming at commercial marketing of quick growing, genetically modified salmon.


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