|Article 23 PUBLIC AWARENESS AND PARTICIPATION|
1. The Parties shall:
(a) Promote and facilitate public awareness, education and participation concerning the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms in relation to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. In doing so, the Parties shall cooperate, as appropriate, with other States and international bodies;
(b) Endeavour to ensure that public awareness and education encompass access to information on living modified organisms identified in accordance with this Protocol that may be imported.
2. The Parties shall, in accordance with their respective laws and regulations, consult the public in the decision-making process regarding living modified organisms and shall make the results of such decisions available to the public, while respecting confidential information in accordance with Article 21.
3. Each Party shall endeavour to inform its public about the means of public access to the Biosafety Clearing-House.
The scope of the term “safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms “ is broad and covers safety aspects as well as aspects related to the use of LMOs, similar t article 20(a) of the CPB, which says that the BCH shall facilitate “the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, living modified organisms”.
In other words, as was agreed in Chapter 16 of Agenda 21: “Creating awareness of the benefits and risks of biotechnology is essential“
To facilitate that members of the public can develop informed opinions, it is important that balanced and clear information is made available to the public about:
- the technical background of modern biotechnology, and how it relates to conventional breeding,
- potential and experienced benefits in areas such as sustainable production of food, feed and biomass, health care and environmental protection, and how research is stimulated in those areas,
- potential risks and how safety is addressed on the national and international level.