Home General Knowledge GK SPECIAL TOPIC : CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY
GK SPECIAL TOPIC : CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIOSAFETY
Monday, 05 May 2014 10:04



CARTAGENA PROTOCOL ON BIO-SAFETY

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty governing the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity and entered into force on 11 September 2003.

The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms (LMO) resulting from modern biotechnology. It establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.

The protocol defines a 'living modified organism' as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology and 'living organism' means any biological entity capable of transferring or replicating genetic material, including sterile organisms, viruses and viroids. 'Modern biotechnology' is defined in the Protocol to mean the application of in vitro nucleic acid techniques, or fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection. 'Living modified organism (LMO) Products' are defined as processed material that are of living modified organism origin, containing detectable novel combinations of replicable genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology (for instance, flour from GM maize). 'Living modified organism intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing (LMO-FFP)' are agricultural commodities from GM crops. Overall the term 'living modified organisms' is equivalent to genetically modified organism - the Protocol did not make any distinction between these terms and did not use the term 'genetically modified organism.

Advance Informed Agreement

The "Advance Informed Agreement" (AIA) procedure applies to the first intentional transboundary movement of LMOs for intentional introduction into the environment of the Party of import. It includes four components: notification by the Party of export or the exporter, acknowledgment of receipt of notification by the Party of import, the decision procedure, and opportunity for review of decisions. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that importing countries have both the opportunity and the capacity to assess risks that may be associated with the LMO before agreeing to its import. The Party of import must indicate the reasons on which its decisions are based (unless consent is unconditional). A Party of import may, at any time, in light of new scientific information, review and change a decision. A Party of export or a notifier may also request the Party of import to review its decisions.

However, the Protocol's AIA procedure does not apply to certain categories of LMOs:

●   LMOs in transit;

●   LMOs destined for contained use;

●   LMOs intended for direct use as food or feed or for processing

While the Protocol's AIA procedure does not apply to certain categories of LMOs, Parties have the right to regulate the importation on the basis of domestic legislation. There are also allowances in the Protocol to declare certain LMOs exempt from application of the AIA procedure.

Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

A Strategic Plan for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety for the period 2011-2020 was adopted by COP/MOP 5 urging the parties to review and align their national action plans and programmes with the Strategic Plan, including their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and allocate adequate human and financial resources necessary to expedite the implementation of the Strategic Plan. It further decides to conduct a mid-term evaluation of the Strategic Plan at COP/MOP 8 (2016), in conjunction with the Protocol’s third assessment and review.

Vision: Biological diversity is adequately protected from any adverse effects of living modified organisms.

Mission: To strengthen global, regional & national action and capacity in ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms 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.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE

OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES

Focal area 1: Facilitating the establishment and further development of effective biosafety systems for the implementation of the Protocol

1. National Biosafety Frameworks

2. Coordination and support

3.Risk assessment and risk management

4. LMOs or traits that may have adverse effects

5. Liability and Redress

6. Handling, transport, packaging and identification

7. Socio-economic considerations

8.Transit, contained use, unintentional transboundary movements and emergency measures

Focal area 2: Capacity building

1. National Biosafety Frameworks

2.Risk assessment and risk management

3. Handling, transport, packaging and identification

4. Liability and Redress

5. Public awareness, education and participation

6. Information sharing

7. Biosafety education and training

Focal area 3: Compliance and review

1. Compliance with the Protocol

2. Assessment and review

Focal area 4: Information sharing

1. BCH effectiveness

2. BCH as a tool for online discussions and conferences

3. Information sharing other than through the BCH

Focal area 5: Outreach and cooperation

1. Ratification of the Protocol

2. Cooperation

3. Communication and outreach