Article 23 – Amendments of the Treaty

Article 23 addresses amendments to the Treaty. It specifies:

While certain parts of this Article are identical to Article 29 of the CBD (see Articles 23.1, 23.2 and 23.4), there are nevertheless important differences. Primary among these is the provision in Article 29(3) of the CBD to the effect that while every effort is to be made to reach consensus, amendments to the Convention can, as a last resort, be adopted by a two-third majority vote of the Parties present at the meeting. This option, however, does not exist within the context of the Treaty, which only provides that amendments can only be adopted by consensus. As stated earlier, this provision was viewed as essential by some countries during the negotiations as a way of ensuring that their essential interests would be taken into account in all aspects of the functioning of the Treaty, including its amendment. The requirement for consensus, in this context, amounts to a right of veto for each and every Contracting Party.

Article 23.4 provides that each country must agree individually to an amendment for it to apply to that country. This means that it is possible that amendments may come into force at different times for different countries.

Article 23.5 relating to Member Organizations is a standard provision designed to ensure that the instruments of the EC and its Member States are not counted twice. If the EC and all its Member States (currently 25) deposit instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval, the total number of instruments would be counted as 25 and not 26.

As will be examined in Article 24, the procedure established under this Article also applies to any amendments to the Annexes.

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