Biotech Updates

Asian Countries Shape Up for COPMOP 10

August 11, 2021

ISAAA webinar participants from 16 countries were updated on the developments and discussions pertaining to the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Conference of Parties (COP) to be held in October 2021. The online workshop was organized to prepare experts, officials and regulators from Asia for the agribiotechnology negotiations in the upcoming Conference of the Parties-Meeting of Parties (COPMOP) of the CBD.

ISAAA and its partners, the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Center, Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI), and the United States Department of Agriculture, conducted the Pre-COPMOP 2021: Asian Regional Workshop on Current and Upcoming Items Under CBD and its Protocols on August 4-6, 2021 via Zoom. The workshop's objective was for the participants to understand the characteristics of functional national regulatory systems and how these relate to the discussions and agreements made in the COPMOP. It was also a platform for the delegates to identify and articulate Asia's priorities in agricultural innovation to be raised during the meetings, as well as to form international and inter-regional networks of like-minded countries who would like to collaborate together to achieve their common agri-biotechnology goals.

Among the topics discussed were the history of the CBD, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, the COPs and the MOPs, risk assessment of living modified organisms, the socio-economic considerations in decision-making, the Biosafety Clearing Houses, the assessment and review of the effectiveness of the CBD, gene drives, digital sequence information, and the national regulatory systems for biosafety. The resource speakers included Prof. Piet Van Der Meer of Ghent University, Dr. Gabriel Romero of the Philippine Seed Industry Association, Dr. Lucia de Souza of PRRI, Dr. Ranhini Warrier formerly of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of India, Dr. Isabelle Coche of the Gene Drive Network, and Ms. Wadzanayi Mandivenyi of the CBD Secretariat. Two guest speakers, Mr. Lai Thai Leong of the University Putra Malaysia and Mr. Condrado Dueñas Jr. of the University of Pavia were also given the opportunity to talk about their current respective researches which involved new breeding innovations and synthetic biology.

More than 130 participants registered for the activity, with attendance ranging from 38 to 58 per day. This resulted in interactive discussions of the participants and the resource speakers in between presentations. Some of the notable topics discussed were the public acceptance of gene drives, the Cartagena Protocol's purpose of serving as a guide for countries who do not have an established national biosafety framework, synthetic biology as a new emerging innovation, the differences and similarities of environmental assessment and food safety, and public participation in the negotiations.

ISAAA and its partners are organizing another similar workshop in September 2021.

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