In preparation of the upcoming Seventh Conference of Parties serving as meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 7), the Philippines conducted a series of consultations to acquire and capture the ideas and concerns of the Filipino community on biosafety issues and the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol.

The consultation served also as a venue to update major stakeholders on the progress and developments on the decisions made during the COP/MOP 6 in 2012 and discuss with them the draft country position on the outstanding and substantive issues in the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol. The results of the consultations shall form part of the country position that will be negotiated by the Philippine Delegation in the COP/MOP 7 scheduled on 29 September to 03 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The first consultation, which was held on 19 August 2014, tackled three issues of the Protocol, namely: Article 15 Risk Assessment, Article 16 Risk Management, and Article 20 Information Sharing and the Biosafety Clearing House.

The second round of consultation, conducted on 09 September 2014, discussed the other Articles which were not taken up in the first consultation, to wit: Article 17 Unintentional Transboundary Movement and Emergency Measures, Article 18 Handling, Transport, Packaging and Identification of LMOs, Article 26 Socio-Economic Considerations, Article 27 Liability and Redress, Article 33 Monitoring and Reporting, and Article 35 Assessment and Review of the Effectiveness of the Protocol.
The key concerns that were raised during the consultation include the rules and procedures on intentional introduction of LMOs, unintentional transboundary movements and handling, transport, packaging and identification of LMOs. The stakeholders were also concerned on the extent of public participation in the biosafety decision-making process. Issues on substantial equivalence, risk analysis and comparative assessments were likewise discussed.
The Competent National Authorities (CNAs) assured that the country has a functional regulation in place covering activities on LMOs from laboratory, field testing, commercialization and use of LMOs for food, feed and processing. While measures such as sampling and testing are in place in cases of unintentional transboundary movements, the Philippines is yet to come-up with a legal framework. On public participation, the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) National Focal Point stressed that the national BCH (BCH Pilipinas) provides a section for public comment on all available information contained in the BCH. The BCH Pilipinas also includes related links to agencies involved in LMO regulation. The country’s national records are reflected in the BCH Pilipinas, including safety assessments and decision documents on LMOs intended for Direct Use as Food, Feed and for Processing.
After eliciting comments and suggestions/recommendations from the participants of the two consultations, the Philippine Delegation is expected to consolidate the results and come up with the final country position, with top priority on protecting national interest on the safe use modern biotechnology.
The Philippine Delegation spearheaded the two consultations with assistance from the Secretariat of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines. Both consultations were held at the Department of Science and Technology, Bicutan, Taguig City. Participants came from the academe, industry, consumer rights groups, public and private research institutions, government and non-government organizations, and the CNAs.
You can download the Presentations Here : COP-MOP 7 Consultation Presentations