The Aarhus Convention’s GMO amendment
Through decision II/1 adopted at its second session (Almaty, 25-27 May 2005), the Meeting of the Parties adopted an amendment to the Convention on genetically modified organisms. For the text of the amendment see here.
The amendment will enter into force when it has been ratified by at least three fourth of the Parties that were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted. That is, it must be ratified by 27 of the 35 Parties that were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted. As of today, the amendment has been ratified by 27 Parties, 22 of which were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted and thus count towards its entry into force. This means a further 5 ratifications are required from those Parties who were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted in order for the amendment to enter into force. The following Parties were party to the Convention at the time the amendment was adopted but are yet to ratify the amendment: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, France, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine.
Upon its entry into force, the GMO amendment will apply to all those Parties which have by that time become party to it. To see whether a particular country has ratified or acceded to the amendment, see here.
Lucca Guidelines on GMOs
At its first session (Lucca, 21-23 October 2002), the Meeting of the Parties adopted guidelines on access to information, public participation and access to justice with respect to genetically modified organisms. The guidelines are often referred to as the "Lucca Guidelines" (see ENG FRE RUS).
Collaboration with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
In decision II/1 adopting the GMO amendment, the Parties to the Aarhus Convention recognised the need to cooperate with other international organizations and forums, in particular the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, with a view to maximizing synergy and avoiding duplication of effort, including through encouraging the exchange of information and collaboration between the respective secretariats.
The Riga Declaration adopted at the third session of the Meeting of the Parties (Riga, 13-15 June 2008) also recognized the value of further collaboration with bodies of the Cartagena Protocol in activities aimed at supporting the application of the Lucca Guidelines on GMOs and the implementation of the Almaty amendment on GMOs (para 16).
Recent and upcoming events on GMOs
In keeping with the above, the Aarhus Convention has undertaken a number of joint activities with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety addressing access to information and public participation with respect to GMOs. This has included the organization of two joint workshops (Bonn, 2008) and (Nagoya, October 2010).
The next joint event will be a roundtable to be held in Geneva in autumn 2013.
Prior to its adoption at the second session of the Meeting of the Parties, the draft GMO amendment was prepared by a Working Group on GMOs, led by Austria. For more about the former Working Group on GMOs, see here.