Access to information and public participation processes regarding living modified organisms (LMOs)/genetically modified organisms (GMOs), if managed ineffectively, may needlessly slow down decision-making processes, or lead to biased outcomes. This guide is an informal tool that seeks to help Governments and stakeholders strengthen their capacities for effective access to information and public participation in decision-making processes regarding LMOs/GMOs. The tool aims to support efforts to implement article 23 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Cartagena Protocol) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), including its amendment on public participation in decisions on the deliberate release into the environment and placing on the market of genetically modified organisms (GMO amendment).
This pocket guide has been prepared on the basis of experiences shared by Parties to and stakeholders of the Cartagena Protocol and the Aarhus Convention. It also builds on other capacity-building resources developed under the Aarhus Convention and the Cartagena Protocol related to access to information and public participation regarding LMOs/GMOs, including e-learning materials on access to information and public participation regarding LMOs, developed by the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which are available on the Biodiversity E-learning Platform of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The pocket guide was developed primarily for countries that are Parties to both the Cartagena Protocol and the Aarhus Convention. Other countries and organizations may also wish to make use of the pocket guide.
In relation to promoting access to information and public participation in LMO/GMO matters, sections 1, 2 and 3 of this guide describe, respectively, benefits, systemic challenges and priority areas
Section 1 describes the benefits of providing effective access to information and public participation in decision-making.
Section 2 highlights systemic challenges countries may come across when seeking to advance on public participation and access to information.
Section 3 describes priority areas to improve access to information and public participation to better implement the Aarhus Convention, its GMO amendment and the Cartagena Protocol.