When the Aarhus Convention was adopted in June 1998, the Signatories requested that the first meeting of the Parties further develop the application of the Convention in the field of deliberate release of GMOs, by means inter alia of more precise provisions (Ministerial resolution, recital 15).
In response to this, the first meeting of the Signatories (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, 19-21 April 1999) established a task force on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), led by Austria, to prepare a report summarizing the experience of implementing the provisions of article 6, paragraph 11, of the Convention, as well as relevant international processes and developments, and to make recommendations for further action. Article 6, paragraph 11, requires Parties to apply, within the framework of national legislation, the public participation provisions set out in article 6 to decisions on whether to permit deliberate of GMOs 'to the extent necessary and feasible'.
The GMO task force held its first meeting on 6-7 April in Sofia, Bulgaria. The report of the meeting (CEP/WG.5/2000/6) concluded among other things that the formulation in article 6, paragraph 11, left it unclear to what extent and in what situations public participation provisions should be applied (para. 24). Recommendations on how to proceed were presented to the second meeting of the Signatories (3-5 July 2000, Cavtat, Croatia), which invited the task force to reconvene to examine the merits of the various options in more detail and decided to establish an intergovernmental working group to continue the work.
The second meeting of the task force took place on 4-5 December 2000 in Vienna. The task force continued its work of exploring various options for developing the application of the Convention in decision-making on GMOs, including a decision of the Parties, guidelines, amendment of the Convention and development of a protocol or an annex on GMOs. The issues of contained use and labelling were also discussed .
The report of the second meeting of the task force (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2001/3) was presented to the open-ended intergovernmental working group, which is charged with the task of preparing a draft decision for the Meeting of the Parties (CEP/WG.5/2000/2, paragraph 35).
The second meeting of the Working Group took place on 18-20 February 2002 in Geneva. The Working Group continued its discussion on how to further develop the application of the Convention with respect to GMOs. The Working Group followed the two-track approach, which had been agreed at the first meeting, one legally binding and the other non-legally binding. With repsect to the latter, it was decided that a new draft of guidelines on public participation in decision-making on GMOs should be prepared by the Chairperson with assistance of a small group. The new draft of the guidelines is now available in English. With respect to the legally binding track, no decision was made, but the secretariat was requested to prepare a revised draft decision for the first meeting of the Parties to be discussed by the Working Group at its third meeting. The revised text is available in English.
The Working Group held its third and final meeting on 17-19 June 2002 in Geneva and finalized the work on the draft decision on GMOs as well as draft guidelines on access to information, public participation and access to justice with respect to genetically modified organisms to be adopted by the Meeting of the Parties. The Meeting of the Parties adopted the decision and the guidelines without amendments and thereby established a new Working Group on GMOs to continue work in the field.
|Draft guidelines on access to information, public participation and access to justice with respect to genetically modified organisms (MP.PP/2002/6) (as adopted by the Meeting of the Parties)|
|Draft Decision on Genetically Modified organisms (MP.PP/2002/5) (as adopted by the Meeting of the Parties)|
|Report of the third meeting (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/6)|
|List of participants for the third meeting
|Provisional agenda for the third meeting (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/5)|
|Draft Guidelines on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice with respect to GMOs (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/7)|
|Draft Decision on GMOs for adoption by the Meeting of the Parties (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/8)|
|List of participants of the second meeting
|Provisional agenda for the second meeting (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/1)|
|Report of the second meeting of the Working Group (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/2)|
|Draft Guidelines on Genetically Modified Organisms (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/3)|
|Draft Decision on Genetically Modified Organisms for adoption by the meeting of the Parties (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2002/4)|
|Agenda for the first meeting (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2001/1)|
|Report of the first meeting (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2001/2)|
|List of participants of the first meeting|
|Analysis of the application of the Aarhus Convention to genetically modified organisms (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2001/4)|
|Labelling and product information related to genetically modified organisms (CEP/WG.5/AC.3.2001/5)|
|Report of the second meeting of the Task Force on Genetically Modified Organisms (CEP/WG.5/AC.3/2001/3)|
|Report of the first meeting of the Task Force on Genetically Modified Organisms (CEP/WG.5/2000/6)|