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Signon - Biodiversity Convention

20 August 1999

Kia ora, several PMA members have sent us this message with a request that we forward it to our lists, and ask others to forward it on through their own email lists. Please note : you are to send your sign-on message to Beth Burrows, The Edmonds Institute (USA), at, it must reach them by Thursday, August 26.

Please DO NOT return your sign-on message to PMA.

Dear Friends,

Below is a letter I INVITE YOU TO SIGN ONTO on behalf of your organization. The letter was written (and rewritten) in response to the fact that biosafety negotiations are to resume in September in Vienna WITHOUT the participation of any members of civil society. This is the first such meeting we have been excluded from. It is a precedent we cannot allow to pass unnoticed.

Please send your sign-on to me by THURSDAY, AUGUST 26. I will be sending a fax with the "signatures" to the CBD Secretariat in Montreal that evening.

Thank you for your support.

Beth Burrows
The Edmonds Institute

Hamdallah Zedan
Acting Executive Secretary
Convention on Biological Diversity
Dear Mr.Hamdallah Zedan,

We are appalled by the news that negotiations for a biosafety protocol are to resume in Vienna in the absence of participation by NGOs and other members of civil society. The tragedy of the Convention on Biological Diversity, once heralded as the most transparent treaty body in the world, becoming a behind-closed-door affair, greatly saddens us.

Labelling the Vienna meeting as "informal consultations" does not obscure from our notice the fact that representatives have been asked to come to the meeting with the power to negotiate.

It was the work of NGOs that gave light to the need for a biosafety protocol. We have observed, aided, and supported the long negotiations from the beginning. Without the ability to ensure that our biosafety concerns will be addressed, we cannot imagine that we will be able to support whatever conclusions may be reached in Vienna.

Please convey to the members of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as to whatever non-members may be present in Vienna, our dismay that the era of cooperation and trust that began in Rio apparently has been ended.

We shall continue to hope that we have been misinformed and that NGO invitations to Vienna are in the mail.


Beth Burrows
The Edmonds Institute (USA)

Hira Jhamtani
Konphalindo (Indonesia)

Gurdial Singh
Third World Network (Malaysia)

(and others)

The Edmonds Institute
20319-92nd Avenue West
Edmonds, Washington 98020 USA
phone: 425-775-5383

Link to final text and signons.

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