7. The Committee noted the information presented in documents CX/FBT 00/3 and CX/FBT 00/3 Add. concerning the work by international organizations on the evaluation of the safety and nutrition aspects of foods derived from biotechnology.
8. Regarding the Expert Consultation on biotechnology to be held in June 2000, delegations stressed the importance of transparency and asked further clarification on the scope of the Consultation. Representatives of FAO and WHO informed the Task Force of current discussions on further improvements in transparency of the identification and selection procedures for the expert body and that experts would be selected on the basis of their personal capacity, that the selection process would be transparent and that member Governments would be involved in the process of identification and endorsement of experts. International NGOs would also be invited to nominate potential experts. It was announced that the scope of the Consultation would be to review the current methodology on safety assessment, including the concept of substantial equivalence, and also to study the nutritional aspects of foods derived from biotechnology. It was noted that the scope would be modified in the light of discussions at the present session of the Task Force.
9. Attention was drawn to the recommendation of the 1996 FAO/WHO Expert Consultation that developing countries should be provided with assistance and education regarding approaches to the safety assessment of foods and food components produced by genetic modification. The Representatives of FAO and WHO reaffirmed the support of these Organizations for technical assistance to developing countries and the Task Force so noted.
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY
10. The Task Force was informed that the Protocol was adopted at the extended extraordinary session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention in January 2000 in Montreal, Canada and would enter into force ninety days following the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. The text of the Protocol, which had not been available at the time of the preparation of the Secretariats paper, was made available to delegations.
11. It was noted that the objective of the Protocol was in accordance with the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movements.
12. Noting that interpretation of the provisions of the Protocol was beyond the mandate of the Commission, the Task Force noted that the Protocol formed part of the international regulatory framework within which the development, adoption, acceptance and use of Codex standards had to be undertaken. The objective and provisions of the Protocol would therefore need to be taken into account during the development of appropriate Codex texts by the Task Force.