Cameroon: En Commission - Supplementary Protocol On Biosafety Explained

The Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre defended the bill in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly on November 17, 2020 defended the bill to authorise the President of the Republic to proceed with Cameroon's accession to the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, adopted at Nagoya, Japan on 15 October 2010.

The Supplementary Protocol is the outcome of a tough compromise between the positions of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) -producing countries that support international trade in GMOs and are in favour of a flexible and voluntary legal system on liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of genetically modidfied organisms on the one hand, and non-GMO-producing countries that desire a more stringent system based on the precautionary approach (Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development) and the polluter pays principle (Principle 16). The protocol provides that the parties should require operations to take response measures in the event of damage resulting from transboundary movement of living modified organisms. The measures should also be taken where there is a sufficient likelihood that damage will result if timely response measures are not taken.

On the importance of Cameroon's accession to the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, government explains that it will enable the country to reinforce its normative mechanism such as Law No. 2003/6 of 21 April 2003 to lay down safety regulations governing modern biotechnology in Cameroon. It will also enble government to put in place a framework conducive to trends in precautionary measures in order to protect its environmental, social, cultural and economic space, express government's determination to prevent and punish cases of damage caused by GMOs. Cameroon will be able to make the most of the potential that GMO technology can offer by protecting itself against its excesses and equally enable the country to acquire tools required to prevent damage to biodiversity and human health caused by living modified organisms.

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