| | english | español | français |
  Home|The Cartagena Protocol|About the Protocol   Printer-friendly version

About the Protocol

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.

Introduction

On 29 January 2000, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms 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 contains reference to a precautionary approach and reaffirms the precaution language in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.

Go to the top of the page

History

Pursuant to Article 19, paragraph 3, of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Conference of the Parties, by its decision II/5, established an Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety to develop a draft protocol on biosafety, specifically focusing on transboundary movement of any living modified organism resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

The Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety held six meetings between July 1996 and February 1999. At its conclusion, the Working Group submitted a draft text of the Protocol, as well as the outstanding concerns of the Parties, for consideration by Conference of the Parties at its first extraordinary meeting, convened for the purpose of adopting a protocol on biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

In accordance with decision IV/3, the first extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties was opened on 22 February 1999, in Cartagena, Colombia. The Conference of the Parties was not able to finalize its work in the time available. As a result, by decision EM-I/1, the Conference of the Parties suspended its first extraordinary meeting and agreed that it should be reconvened as soon as possible and in any event no later than the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

The resumed session took place in Montreal from 24 to 29 January 2000 and was preceded by regional and interregional informal consultations from 20 to 23 January 2000 at the same venue. On 29 January 2000, the Conference of the Parties, by its decision EM-I/3, adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity and approved interim arrangements pending its entry into force. It established an open-ended ad hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) with a mandate to undertake the preparations necessary for the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

Go to the top of the page

The ICCP Process

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (ICCP) was established in decision EM-I/3 adopting the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, to undertake the preparations necessary for the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

Following its establishment, the ICCP convened an organizational meeting on 29 January 2000, chaired by Ambassador Yang of Cameroon, and elected a Bureau to oversee its activities. The members elected to the Bureau were: Cameroon (Chair), Denmark, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Peru, Poland, Saint Kitts and Nevis, South Africa, Switzerland and Ukraine. At the first meeting of the ICCP, Denmark was replaced by France. The first task of the Bureau was to develop a work plan for the ICCP which was submitted, to and endorsed by, the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties in May 2000.

The ICCP held three meetings between 2000 and 2003. The first meeting (ICCP 1) was held 11-15 December 2000 in Montpellier, France; the second meeting (ICCP 2) was held 1-5 October 2001 in Nairobi, Kenya; and the third meeting (ICCP 3) was held 22-26 April 2002 in The Hague, The Netherlands, back-to-back with the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.

The ICCP Bureau held more than 10 oversight meetings over a period of four years of its existence. The ICCP submitted its final report to the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol which was held 23-27 February 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Go to the top of the page

Entry into force

The Protocol entered into force on 11 September 2003, ninety days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. In accordance with Article 29, paragraph 1, of the Protocol, the COP to the Convention serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP), the governing body of the Protocol. An overview of the COP-MOP activity is provided in the Meetings of the COP-MOP page.

Go to the top of the page


Timeline of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

         
1993 The Convention on Biological Diversity enters into force on 29 December 1993
1995 COP2 Second meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Consideration of the need for and modalities of a protocol for the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms. Jakarta, Indonesia, 6 - 17 November 1995   Decision II/5
1996 COP3 Third meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Issues related to biosafety. Buenos Aires, Argentina, 4 - 15 November 1996   Decision III/20
1996 BSWG1 First meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Aarhus, Denmark, 22 - 26 July 1996   Meeting Documents
1997 BSWG2 Second meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Montreal, Canada, 12 - 16 May 1997   Meeting Documents
1997 BSWG3 Third meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Montreal, Canada, 13 - 17 October 1997   Meeting Documents
1998 BSWG4 Fourth meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Montreal, Canada, 5 - 13 February 1998   Meeting Documents
1998 COP4 Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Issues related to biosafety. Bratislava, Slovakia, 4 - 15 May 1998   Decision IV/3
1998 BSWG5 Fifth meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Montreal, Canada, 17 - 28 August 1998   Meeting Documents
1999 BSWG6 Sixth meeting of the Open-Ended Ad Hoc working Group on Biosafety. Cartagena, Colombia, 14 - 19 February 1999   Meeting Documents
1999 BSIC1 Informal Consultation on the process to resume the Extraordinary Meeting of COP to adopt a protocol on Biosafety. Montreal, Canada, 1 July 1999   Meeting Documents
1999 BSIC2 Second Informal Consultation on the process to resume the Extraordinary Meeting of COP to adopt a protocol on Biosafety. Vienna, Austria, 15 - 19 September 1999   Meeting Documents
1999 - 2000 EXCOP1 First Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Decisions on the continuation of the first extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, adoption of the Cartagena Protocol and interim arrangements. Cartagena, Colombia 22 - 23 February 1999 and Montreal, Canada, 24 - 28 January 2000   Decisions EM-I/1-3
2000 COP5 The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is opened for signature.
Fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Work plan of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Nairobi, Kenya, 15 - 26 May 2000
 
Decision V/1
2000 ICCP1 First meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Montpellier, France, 11 - 15 December 2000   Meeting Documents
2001 ICCP2 Second meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Nairobi, Kenya, 1 - 5 October 2001   Meeting Documents
2002 COP6 Sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties - Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Hague, Netherlands, 7 - 19 April 2002   Decision VI/1
2002 ICCP3 Third meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Hague, The Netherlands, 22 - 26 April 2002   Meeting Documents
2003 The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety enters into force on 11 September 2003


Other relevant biosafety documents are available in the sections Meetings of the COP-MOP and Publications

Go to the top of the page

   
   
Update on 2012-05-29
Rate this page  - 9 people have rated this page  
United Nations Environment Programme United Nations