PRRI MOP7 Statement on Socio-Economic Considerations
Thank you Chairman,
I speak on behalf of the Public Research and Regulation Initiative. PRRI is a worldwide organisation of public researchers involved in biotechnology for the common good.
PRRI first of all congratulates you as Chair, and thanks the Government and people of Korea for their warm and efficient hospitality.
Mr. Chairman, Articles 16 and 19 of the Protocol’s mother Convention on Biodiversity underline that transfer of technology – whereby biotechnologies are explicitly mentioned – is essential to the attainment of the goals of the Convention.
The AIA procedure of the Protocol gives Parties that have not yet adopted a domestic regulatory framework for biosafety, a tool to make informed decisions about the import of LMOs, thereby facilitating the technology transfer called for in articles 16 and 19 of the CBD.
As regards socio-economic considerations in decision making: it is precisely because of the anticipated socio-economic benefits for farmers and consumers that many public researchers dedicate their careers to research in modern biotechnology.
We therefore urge decision makers to keep updating themselves of the latest information about the socio-economic benefits of the introduction of this technology. PRRI continues to be available to provide further background and information in this respect.
Aware of the various discussions about Article 26, PRRI supports efforts to remind all involved what article 26 actually says:
Article 26 refers to decision making, not to risk assessment.
Article 26 refers to “may take into account”, i.e. this provision relates to a possibility for Parties, not an obligation.
Article 26 refers to “consistent with their international obligations”. One of those obligations can be found in the SPS agreement, which requires a scientific basis for decisions.
Article 26 refers to “socio-economic considerations arising from the impact of LMOs on the conservation (etc)…..”. This wording underlines the need for a scientific basis for decisions. Further, we should remain aware that article 26 uses the neutral term “impacts” and not – as in the rest of the Protocol – the term potential adverse effects. The explicit use of the term “impacts” is significant, as it covers both potential benefits and risks.
Thank you Mr Chairman