The United Nations biodiversity conference is taking place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The event which kicked off on 17 November 2018, and is expected to end on 29 November 2018. A number of critical issues will be addressed at the conference including digital sequence information, synthetic biology, and other effective area-based conservation measures. ISAAA will be actively participating to dispel misconceptions that could adversely affect decisions at the meeting, and attend events convened to discuss contentious agenda items. So far, ISAAA has made several statements on various issues as outlined below:

Statement on Cooperation with International Organizations

Thank You Mr Chair,

I speak on behalf of ISAAA.

ISAAA acknowledges public-private partnerships in carrying out essential activities globally for sustainable development, food accessibility and universal health.

ISAAA has been closely cooperating with both sectors and is open for closer cooperation with UN agencies such as WHO, FAO and others. We see at this convention, UN agencies having opposing and divergent goals and this complicates the implementation of common biodiversity conservation goals. The bigger danger is the confusion this poses to youth pursuing academic pursuits in Science & Technology, Agriculture, Health and Environment.

The need to pursue this cooperation is more compelling now for global biodiversity conservation, which will lead to sustainable development through the use of all the tools available in modern biotechnology.

Thank You Mr. Chair

Statement on Capacity Building 

Thank you Chair

I speak on behalf of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.  ISAAA shares knowledge on crop biotechnology for informed policy decisions and choice. Our Global Biotechnology Information Network has been the driving force in many developing countries’ capacity building initiatives.

ISAAA welcomes the recommendations on provision of financial, technical and human resources to support capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation for developing countries.

In this context, ISAAA recognizes the need for capacity enhancement  is greater now than in the past in the context of rapid technological advancement in biotechnology such as synthetic biology and gene drive that will allow Parties to expeditiously harness its benefits. The past experience pertaining to capacity building of LMOs reminds us to be precise, specific and based on sound science with a goal to support harnessing the benefits of modern biotechnology while mitigating its risks.

This will help developing countries to achieve the 2020 biodiversity framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

ISAAA also calls upon Parties to adopt the long-term strategic framework for capacity-building beyond 2020 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Thank you Chair.

Statement on Biosafety Clearing House

Thank you Chair

I speak on behalf of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.  For the last two decades, ISAAA runs the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, which complements the work of the Biosafety Clearing House.

ISAAA recognizes the Importance of Article 20 of the CBD that mandates parties to establish an online BCH portal for exchange of information and experience with LMOs. Notwithstanding its intent, it is alarming to note that the progress on the implementation of the Biosafety clearing house remains incomplete, unutilized and incomprehensible.

In this context, the parties of the protocol may note that ISAAA maintains the most reliable repository of global database on LMOs. The database contains information about the commercial approval of LMOs and, also the approval for import of LMOs granted by different countries for food and feed use. The global database on LMOs can be accessed from ISAAA website.

In addition, ISAAA’s knowledge sharing program offers global community with credible updated progress and adoption of LMOs in its annual report on commercialized LMOs, which has been a valuable resource for the parties in the last two decades.

Thank you Chair.

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