Press Release: Declaration Regarding The Adoption Of The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplemental Protocol

Declaration regarding the adoption of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplemental Protocol by Japan Citizens’ Network for Planet Diversity (MOP5 Network) 

October 16, 2010

On October 15, 2010, the general meeting of the MOP5 adopted the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplemental Protocol to the Cartagena Protocol.

Our MOP5 network notes that this is the result of a long and difficult negotiation. We consider this legally binding protocol to be important as an international system of liability and restoration which the developing countries in particular has long anticipated.

Until now, developing countries and countries that import a large amount of their staple foods have not had such a supplemental protocol, and under the present condition we have had no defense against genetically modified crops (GMO). We expect that the liability and redress rules in the supplemental protocol will be a big support especially for developing countries.

We also note that for Japan, a country that imports a lot of GMO foods and thus is exposed to the risk of damage, the new treaty includes several clauses and concepts that we have previously requested.

This supplemental protocol was originally supposed to have been completed in 2008 in Bonn, during the MOP4 negotiations. However, at that time, the Japanese government – in spite of its position as a food importing country – took the standpoint of the food exporting countries. This became a large topic at the Nagoya meeting. There was also international concern that the finalized treaty would become a worthless piece of paper. We are confident that our intense lobby activities and efforts as citizens and consumers have been the main cause that restored the contents of the protocol.

We were able to shift the position held until now by Japan’s government by influencing the bureaucratic thinking. We achieved this by approaching the Members of the House of Parliament and providing them with information again and again. There is no doubt that our meetings with the parliamentarians helped the new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan to show political leadership during the international negotiations. We could not even have wished for this to happen unless there had been a change in government.

Over the next two years, it is essential that the Japanese government shoulders the leadership role as the MOP5 chairman country, and we expect Japan to take the global initiative to sign and ratify this protocol.

During the MOP5 conference in Nagoya, the pollution cases of GM canola growing wild around Japan attracted the attention of delegates from countries around the world. This problem has exposed the fact that Japan’s current legislation for the Cartagena Protocol has not been able to provide the legal protection to respond to the real situation, without exceptions. We expect the new Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplemental Protocol to the Cartagena Protocol to be useful if it can quickly be introduced as part of Japan’s domestic legislation to protect biological diversity. This is the major task for Japan right now. To achieve this, we resolve to continue to strengthen our activities at the grass root level, at the government level, and at the international level.

Consumers Union of Japan

Nishi-Waseda 1-9-19-207

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan