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Hal 163, 164, 165

The process of regime strengthening for the convention on biological diversity has been less
focused than in some of the other major global environmental regimes. The ambiguity of the process
reflects the more diffuse nature of the regimes rules and norms, the absence of the strong lead state
coalition, the absence of an enforcement mechanism, and a general lack of political will to strengthen the
regime. The key challenges for strengthening the regime include identifying global conservation priprity
areas and developing protocols or work programs on conservation and/or sustainable use in particular
sectors; avoiding distractions that divert attention away from key issue areas; and addressing several
controversial issues, such as acces to genetic resources and benefit sharing.

One major task facing the parties has been identifying global conservation priority areas and
developing protocols for clarifying conservation strategies and obligations, two areas thet were not
explicitly addressed in the original convention text. Over the past decade, the Conference of the Parties
has made some progress in this process by developing seven work programs that address the conservation
of several areas of special concern in sustaining biodiversity and providing critical ecosystem services:
mountain regions, dry and sub-humid lands, marine and coastal areas, islands, inland waters, agricultural
syatems, and forests.

Drafting the work program proved a long and arduous process. Discussions began at the first COP
in 1994, but parties did not adopt the first until 1998. The programs current conservation measures are
largely ineffective because they lack precise binding language. Futher inhibiting effective policymaking
has been the formation of various veto coalitions based on common economic or political interests arising
around a particular issue. For example major forest-product exporting countries, including Brazil, Canada,
and Malaysia, ensured that the convention would not take the lead on forests by blocking the
development of a strong work program in this issue area.

Progress in drafting and implementing ecosystem-focused work programs was further hindered
by the COPs decision to negotiate a protocol on biosafety on the basis of article 19.3 of the convention.
These negotiations took much of the time and energy of the parties between 1996 and 2000. Biosafety
refers to a set of precautionary practices to unsure the safe transfer, handling, use, and disposal of living
modified organisms derived from modern biotechnology. Many countries with biotechnology industries
had domestic biosafety legislation in place, but there were no binding interntional agreements on the
problem of genetically modified organism (GMOs) that cross national borders. Biotechnology , particularly
its applications in agriculture, remains a highly controversial issue. Policy responses vary widely in
different legal orders, the most well-known example being the contrasting approach between the United
states and the European Union, the later calling for a precautionary approach towards modern
biotechnology. In 1999, Several European governments joined European environmental NGOs in calling
for a moratorium on the import of genetically modified foods. Although the moratorium ended in 2014,
it has provoked a WTO dispute between the United states and the EU.

The biosafety protocol was negotiated during a series of six meetings from 1996 to 1999. In
fabruary 1999, delegates convened in Cartagena, Colombia, intending to complete negotiations on the
protocol. But the veto coalition, called the Miami Group, consisting of the worlds major grain exportes
outside of the EU (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the United States, and Uruguay), successfully
thwarted efforts to complete the protocol on schedule. The veto coalition argued that the trade restriction
would harm the multibillion-dollar agricultural export industry, that uncertainty regarding the precise
meaning of key provisions created important weaknesses in the protocol, that countries would be able
to block importation for reasons based on their own criteria reather than on sound scientific knowledge,
and that the increased documentation required under the protocol would create unnecessary and
excessive procedures and financial cots. Informal consultations continued over the next year to address
outstanding issue and to facilitate discussions between the major coalitions, including the Central and
Eastern European Group; the Compromise Group (Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, and
Switzerland, joined later by New Zeland and Singapore); the EU; the Like-minded Group (the majority of
developing countries) and the Miami Group. Finally, after a week of formal negotiations in a montreal in
January 2000, the major coalitions reached an agreement an adopted the Cartagena Protocol on
Boisafety. The protocol entered inti force in September 2003.

The viability of the Cartagena protocol hinges on the interplay of economic interests. this has
played out in reaching agreement on documentation requirements for bulk shipments of living modified
organism intentded for food, feed, and for processing. According to the protocol (article 18.2(a)), parties
were requird to make a decision on the detailed requirementfor such documentation within two years of
the entry into force of the protocol. At the second Meeting of the parties in May 2005, delegates
attempted to resolve this issue. Exporting countries expressed concern that labeling shipments that might
include living modified organism (LMOs) as including them could interfere with trade. Apart from feras
that many commodity producers do not have the capability to account for small amounts of LMOs that
might be contained in a shipment, there is widespread concern that stricter documentation requirements
could prove costly, restrict maket acces, and have a negative impact on countries that rely heavily on
agricultural exports. Importing countries fear that lax documentation requirements will give too much
flexibility to exporters ang that all shipments they receive could include a long list of LMOs the shipment
may or may not contain.