As part of the country’s international obligation to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, it joined the delegates from member countries in the negotiations on the substantial and outstanding issues during the 8th Conference of Parties serving as Meeting of Parties (COP-MOP 8) in Cancun, Mexico from 4 to 17 December 2016. With participants from the Departments of Science and Technology; Environment and Natural Resources; and Health; the Philippines was able to put forward the Philippines’ position on various areas concerning the safe transfer and responsible use of GMOs to international discussion.
The final decisions of the COP-MOP dwelt on the importance of capacity building for member countries in order to comply with the provisions of the Protocol. Moreover, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) guaranteed to provide additional financial and technical support to developing countries to further implement their respective biosafety frameworks and action plans. Information sharing among countries was also called on to be reinforced through the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH). The Asia BCH Family experience was recognized, as well as the importance of regional collaboration and the provision of ample budget to sustain and achieve compliance in implementing the Protocol, specifically Article 20. With regard to risk assessment and risk management, the COP-MOP decided that the voluntary guidelines developed by the Ad Hoc Technical Experts' Group (AHTEG) can serve as a tool to assist in the risk assessment and acknowledged that other guidelines and national approaches can very well serve its purpose.
In conclusion, the Philippines' participation to the COP-MOP 8 has been a fruitful pursuit towards forwarding our national concerns on GMOs to the international arena. For its member countries, the COP-MOP was able to attain its objective of providing a sound and exhaustive rules on biosafety in the global purview. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the next COP-MOP will be hosted in Egypt in 2018.