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EU Backing off on Demand for Global Liability Rules for GMOs
EU dashes hopes of global liability regime on GMOs

OCA | June 02, 2005

The hopes of a strict global liability regime for regulating trade and transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have receded.

The European Union, an ardent advocate of the proposed regime, has moderated its stance and has said it is now not in favour of an "international legally-binding instrument."

The five-day second meeting of parties (MOP-2) to the Cartagena Protocol is going on here to deliberate on the proposed global liability regime and other issues.

Dr Ronald Zwart, a Dutch official of the EU delegation, told FE: "The EU is pressing for developing a regime in the form of a COP/MOP decision, whose subsequent evaluation may then be the basis for consideration of a legally binding instrument."

He said there were some disagreements among member states over the details of the proposed liability regime. The EU was also facing the challenge of getting its draft Constitution ratified by the member countries.

Among the other hardliners, who are calling for a strict liability regime, is the African group. It is yet to react to the recent EU decision not to support a global legally-binding
instrument. In fact, many developing countries, including India, have asked for a strong global liability regime.

India has called for a defined international liability regime to redress the damages resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms (LMOs). This liability regime should be incorporated under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which came into effect from September 11, 2003. It has also called for setting up of a global fund on mandatory basis for redressing the damages. India has already submitted its views on the proposed regime to the technical group of experts. The Indian team, led by Desh Deepak Verma, a senior official in the environment ministry, is expected to stress the need for a liability regime at the MOP-2 to the Cartagena Protocol.

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