September 2006. After an article on GMO bananas modified in Israel for resistance to nematode (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/pestnet/message/4283), Palau asked how such modified plants fit into the biosafely frameworks that Pacific Island countries are developing under the Cartagena Protocol.
This is what one member, experienced in international quarantine replied:
The use of transgenic organisms/plants has relevance both to phytosanitary and environmental organisations, and the development of a regional position needs cooperation between them (SPC/PPPO and SPREP). The current international risk analysis standards do not adequately address the issues of assessment and unrestricted release into the environment, and although the regional interest in a standard was identified at the IPPC RPPO meetings in 1999 and 2002 no further action has been taken on the matter. The North American Plant Protection Organisation (NAPPO) www.nappo.org has developed their own ideas and might be a starting point, as could be some of the national GMO import approval and release standards currently in place.
The IPPC and CBD meet to discuss issues of common concern, but I am not aware that GMO risk analysis and release has featured in their discussions to date, but I may be wrong.
Since Palau is now a contracting party to the IPPC you may wish to raise this issue at the next IPPC CPM meeting.
Many countries in the region, and globally, have yet to amend their phytosanitary regulations and forms to require that the import of plants and seeds are identified as GMOs on their import applications/permits, and as a consequence they are unaware of the trade in such material. Furthermore, most Pacific countries would have to seek help in monitoring the presence of modified genetic constructs if they were to allow such importations.