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The Compliance Mechanism of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: Development, Adoption, Content and First Years of Life

Authors

  • Veit Koester

    1. Roskilde University Centre in Denmark; United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama and Copenhagen University, Faculty of Law
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  • Veit Koester is an external professor at Roskilde University Centre in Denmark, visiting professor at United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama, and a guest lecturer in international environmental law at Copenhagen University, Faculty of Law. He was chairperson of the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Convention, as well as chairperson of the Compliance Committee of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety until 1 January 2009 (however, opinions expressed in the article are those of the author in his personal capacity), and he chaired the Working Group of the Parties to the CBD which negotiated the Protocol. He was one of the two vice-chairs of the CBD negotiating body and chaired its Working Group II throughout the negotiations of the Convention. Veit Koester is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and a member of the European Council of Environmental Law. He has received, among others, the UNEP – Global 500 Award (1996) and the Elisbeth Haub Award (ICEL and Pace University) for ‘Environmental Diplomacy for the Year 2000’.

Abstract

The compliance mechanism of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety has been functioning for approximately 5 years. This period is probably too limited to draw any firm conclusions in respect of the future role of the compliance mechanism. On the other hand, the findings of the Compliance Committee have been considered by no less than three Conferences of the Parties serving as the Meetings of the Parties to the Protocol (2005, 2006 and 2008). Therefore, a preliminary stocktaking of the achievements of the compliance mechanism seems to be appropriate. This article attempts to provide such stocktaking, the conclusions being that while there are a number of positive indications, there are also some rather negative trends represented by the outcomes of the last Conference of the Parties serving as Meeting of the Parties (2008). In order to provide an informed background of the analysis, the article is introduced by a brief account of the negotiation history of the compliance mechanism and a presentation of its legal basis and main features.

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