The term "liability" is normally associated with the obligation to provide for compensation for damage caused to persons, property and the environment. The issue of liability and redress for damage resulting from the transboundary movements of living modified organisms was one of the themes on the agenda during the negotiation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The negotiators were, however, unable to reach any consensus regarding the details of a liability regime under the Protocol. However, Article 27 of the Protocol provides that:
"the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first meeting, adopt a process with respect to the appropriate elaboration of international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms, analyzing and taking due account of ongoing processes in international law on these matters, and shall endeavour to complete this process within four years"
The Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) has been organizing discussion on the issue of liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms. At the second and third meetings of the ICCP, the ICCP considered a review of existing relevant instruments provided by the Secretariat.
The synthesis report was considered at the third meeting of the ICCP (22-26 April 2002 - The Hague, The Netherlands). Governments and organizations were invited to submit information on the basis of a questionnaire annexed to the report of the meeting, with a view to assisting Parties to develop understandings on issues relating to liability and redress.
The ICCP further recommended that the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (MOP-1) establish an open-ended ad hoc group of legal and technical experts to elaborate international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms.