Union Minister of Environment and Forest Jayanthi Natarajan on Monday appealed to countries that have signed the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur supplementary Protocol to Cartagena Protocol to “fast track” the ratification.

Addressing the opening session of the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (CoP-MoP 6) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) from October 1 to 5, here, the Minister reassured the international delegates that India was committed to the covenant and had already initiated the process of ratification.

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol dealt with liability and redress on damage resulting from Living Modified Organisms (LMOs). Elaborating on the process, a top official of the Ministry later said wide-ranging consultations were on among various Ministries and departments as part of the process.

Governments from over 150 countries got together to review the status of the implementation of the core elements of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and resolve some of the contentious issues at the meeting.

It was formally declared open by Masamichi Saigo, representative of CoP-MoP 5 that took place in Nagoya in Japan.

The Union Minister said India was a mega diverse country and committed to the implementation of CPB in a balanced manner. There were divergent views on the issue of LMOs, particularly with reference to their long term impacts on biodiversity, human health and socio-economic situation. The spirit of Article 8 (j) of the CBD was also echoed by specifying the importance of biological diversity to the local and indigenous communities. She spoke of the challenges that lay before the countries, especially in areas such as risk assessment, the tardy implementation of the Protocol by various countries and varying compliance rates.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, executive secretary of the CBD, said the COP-MOP 6 came at a time when Jamaica has ratified the Protocol and about to become the 164th Party.

Many governments were also making preparation to ratify or accede to the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the CPB. The Supplementary Protocol received a total of 51 signatures and two ratifications by March 6, 2012 when it was closed for signature.

Key issues to be discussed at the meeting include risk assessment, socio-economic considerations and unintentional transboundary movements of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), he said, and hoped that the Protocol would grow stronger and more effective in protecting biodiversity from potential adverse effects by LMOs. Bakary Kante, representing the UN Environment Programme, also spoke.