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A number of resources are available to support Parties to the Cartagena Protocol to raise awareness at the national level of the importance of becoming a Party to the Supplementary Protocol. Other resources have been developed to assist Parties in their efforts to implement the Supplementary Protocol domestically. With the support of donors, the Secretariat also undertakes capacity building activities to support the implementation of the Supplementary Protocol and raise awareness of this important instrument. Please see below for more information on these resources and activities.

While the implementation burden associated with the Supplementary Protocol is not as substantive as for many other international instruments, Parties need to develop appropriate measures to give effect to the Supplementary Protocol at the national level, where such measures have not yet been taken. One of the first activities Parties need to undertake is to analyze their national legal frameworks to assess the extent to which the core and optional elements of the Supplementary Protocol are already addressed. This assessment allows Parties to develop any further measures, if necessary.

  • Capacity building activities
  • Resource materials
  • Exercises

Workshops on the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress

Integrated implementation project (2017-2018)

A project on integrated implementation is carried out in 2017 and 2018. The project aims to support Parties in strengthening capacities for mainstreaming biosafety considerations into a range of policy and legal instruments and institutional structures. This allows Parties to implement these international instruments in an integrated way. The project also addresses implementation of the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol. In the context of the project, three regional workshops are held that aim among others to raise awareness and understanding about the Supplementary Protocol and its implementation requirements with a view to expedite its entry into force and facilitate its implementation. The regional workshops include national focal points of the Convention and the Cartagena Protocol as well as legal or policy officials involved in the implementation or ratification efforts of the Supplementary Protocol.

More information on the project is available here.

Inter-Regional Workshop (2012)

The Secretariat organized an inter-regional workshop on capacity needs for the implementation of the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress from 9 to 11 May 2012 in Riga, Latvia. The purpose was to share experiences and identify capacity needs in the development and/or implementation of liability rules on environmental damage in general or damage to biological diversity caused by living modified organisms in particular.

Official documents of the workshop

Regional workshops (2011)

The Secretariat conducted regional workshops on the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol. The purpose of the workshops was to raise awareness and understanding about the objective and provisions of the Supplementary Protocol and to identify needs and requirements by Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety with a view to expedite the early entry into force and implementation of the Supplementary Protocol.

More information is available below.

  • Central and Eastern Europe The Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) regional workshop on the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress was the first in the series of workshops. The workshop took place from 16 to 17 June 2011, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was attended by representatives from 10 countries of the CEE region that are Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

    Official documents of the workshop

  • Africa The African regional workshop took place from 21 to 22 July 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the African Union Commission. It was attended by 45 participants, including representatives from 28 Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, representatives of regional economic commissions, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. The workshop was organized back to back with a briefing on the outcome of the 10 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Regional Launch for Africa of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020) and the observance of the United Nations Decade on Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification (2010-2020).

    Official documents of the workshop

  • Asia and the Pacific The Asia – Pacific regional workshop on the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol took place on 17 and 18 November 2011, in New Delhi, India. The workshop brought together 18 participants representing 12 Parties from the region, and one participant representing civil society. Participants reviewed the objective, scope and other provisions of the Supplementary Protocol. They reviewed different scenarios and hypothetical cases in the context of the Supplementary Protocol. They exchanged domestic experiences in the development of legal frameworks addressing liability and redress for damage in general, and damage resulting from living modified organisms in particular. Participants agreed to a number of conclusions and recommendations, including encouraging the Parties to the Biosafety Protocol to consider inviting the Global Environment Facility and other donors to provide financial resources for building capacities and supporting developing countries in their efforts to understand and to implement the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol as envisaged in section C of decision BS-V/11.

    Official documents of the workshop

  • Latin America and the Caribbean The Latin America and Caribbean regional workshop on the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol took place on 15 and 16 December 2011, in Lima, Peru. The workshop brought together 27 participants. These included participants from 13 countries from the region, as well as a representative from a non-governmental organization and one from the biotechnology industry. Ms. Jimena Nieto Carrasco of Colombia, also participated in her capacity as the former co-chair of the negotiating group on the Supplementary Protocol. Like in the other regional workshops, participants reviewed the objective, scope and other provisions of the Supplementary Protocol. His Excellency Dr. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal Otárola, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Peru opened the meeting. Ms. Nieto made a presentation on the different phases of the negotiations process and the participation and contribution of representatives from the LAC region. Participants noted, among other things, the importance of signing and subsequently ratifying the Supplementary Protocol as early as possible, and expediting the domestic consultation processes in their respective countries with a view to initiating preparations for its implementation. They have also recognized the need for assessing their existing domestic laws with a view to determine the adequacy of such laws to address damage and to provide for response measures in accordance with the Supplementary Protocol.

    Official documents of the workshop

Workshop materials

  • Introduction to the Nagoya - Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol: En | Fr | Es
  • Liability and Redress - Basic Concepts (WSM-No1): En | Fr | Es
  • Overview of Supplementary Protocol (WSM-No2): En | Fr | Es
  • Significance, signature and ratification (WSM-No3): En | Fr | Es
  • Cases for group exercises (WSM-No4): En | Fr | Es
  • Case Study for Inter-regional workshop: En | Fr | Es
  • Strategic Plan (WSM-No5): En | Fr | Es
  • National Reporting (WSM-No6): En | Fr | Es
  • Supplementary Protocol: Requirements and possible capacity needs (WSM-No8): En

The Secretariat has developed materials to support Parties in carrying out national activities towards ratification and implementation of the Supplementary Protocol.

E-learning module on the Supplementary Protocol

An e-learning module is being developed that provides information on liability and redress and on the objective and core obligations of the Supplementary Protocol. The module will also contain examples of national legislation through which Parties have implemented the Supplementary Protocol. The module will be available in English, French and Spanish and hosted on the CBD E-learning platform. The development of the module was supported by the Government of Japan, through the Japan Biodiversity Fund.

Other resource materials have been prepared in support of workshop activities such as presentations. These will be made available shortly.

Celebration of the Entry Into Force of the Supplementary Protocol

More resources will be made available shortly.

Downloadable/Printable Poster


English, French and Spanish

New UN Decade Factsheet on the Supplementary Protocol


English (other languages will be available shortly)

Hypothetical cases

The five hypothetical cases below have been developed to further understanding of the scope and provisions of the Supplementary Protocol. They have been used for discussion in capacity-building workshops.

  • Case 1

    Cocoaland is a major cocoa producing country in the world. About 70 percent of its population depends for their living on the cultivation and selling of cocoa. Cocoaland earns, on average, $2 billion, one-third of its annual gross domestic product, from the export of cocoa every year. Almost 80 percent of the annual export of cocoa ends in Checolatia, a major cocoa importing country that controls a large share of the chocolate production and marketing of the world. Five years ago, a private agri-business company in Checolatia developed a genetically engineered plant that produces the flavour and other properties that are essential to manufacturing chocolate. The GE plant was approved by Checolatia two years ago for cultivation and commercialization. Last year, Checolatia’s cocoa import from Cocoaland dropped by 90 percent. Cocoa farmers in Cocoaland suffered a huge economic loss, as a result. Cocoa farmers were told that there were no buyers of their cocoa any more. Cocoa plantations were abandoned. Farmers left their farm lands. They were forced to migrate to nearby towns. Some families even needed food aid.

    Discuss whether Cocoaland and its farmers have suffered any damage as defined in the Supplementary Protocol. Do you see any liability case here? Why?

  • Case 2

    The Republic of Apples is known to be one of the countries of origin for different varieties of apples. Wild apple trees are everywhere in the mountain areas of the Republic. Apple export is a major source of revenue. The Republic of Apples suffers from frequent drought that often results in the decline of apple harvest and, therefore, loss of much needed export revenue. In order to overcome the situation and prevent drought-related consequences, the government of the Republic decided to introduce a drought-resistant genetically modified apple variety. The genetically modified drought-resistant variety was developed by the Agricultural Research Institute of the country. The genetically modified apple variety was distributed to farmers. Since then apple yields in the country has remained steady even during severe drought seasons. A few years later since the cultivation of the genetically modified drought-resistant variety started, a well-known environmental non-governmental organization (NGO), known as Apple Peace, reported that the new variety had risks to human health. The NGO claimed that according to information it received from a local hospital about a dozen people fell ill after eating the new apples. No laboratory test results were presented in the report. The hospital confirmed that there was no laboratory data supporting the claim except the allegations by the patients themselves. Immediately after the publication of the report, several countries banned all imports of apples coming from the Republic of Apples. Such trade disruption began to cost the country enormously. The economic damage has been well over 30 percent of the GDP, the first year only, and it is expected to be so as long as the import ban by the apple importing countries remains in place.

    Discuss whether this case falls under the scope of the Supplementary Protocol. Do you think the Republic of Apples has suffered any damage as defined in the Supplementary Protocol? Do you see any liability case here? Why?

  • Case 3

    The Democratic Republic of Butterflies is rich in different species of butterflies that are not found elsewhere in the world. Thousands of tourists flock to the country every year to watch the butterflies. Butterfly tourism is a major source of revenue for the Republic. The country is also a well-known destination for Lepidopterists, scientists who study butterflies. The number and variety of butterflies has been declining over the past ten years. Studies indicated that the decline coincided with the introduction of a pest-resistant genetically modified rose flower in large parts of the neighbouring country, Flower-Coast. Flower Coast is famous for vastly growing a variety of flowers. The genetically modified rose flowers were introduced into Flower Coast by a local company known as Ultimate Rose. The company imported the seedlings from Rose-tech, a transnational florist company based in the country known as Yugostan. After years of studies and trials, it was confirmed that the genetically modified roses grown in Flower Coast have cross-bred, through natural gene flow, with the rose flowers grown in the neighbouring country, the Republic of Butterflies. The pest resistant trait of the genetically modified roses introduced and grown by Flower Coast has passed to the flowers in the Republic of Butterflies. It was found out that the trait has targeted the larvae of the butterflies in the Republic of Butterflies and as a result the population of butterflies has declined dramatically and certain endemic species were also lost forever.

    Discuss whether the Democratic Republic of Butterflies has suffered any damage as defined in the Supplementary Protocol. Do you see any liability case here? Why? What response measures do you envisage?

    Who do you think is the operator that the competent authority in the Republic of Butterflies may require to take the response measures?

  • Case 4

    Mr. Bean is a coffee farmer in Bunnakia, a country known for its organic coffee export at the international market. Mr. Bean was looking for an improved variety of coffee seeds that could withstand a perennial disease that has been attacking his coffee plants. He finally came across information that a genetically modified coffee variety that is resistant to the disease was available in Nicotine Republic, a country known for its specialization in developing different varieties of coffee seeds. Mr. Bean obtained an import permit from the Ministry of Trade of Bunnakia. He bought the coffee seeds online through ‘Amazon.com’ and the seeds were delivered to him immediately. There is a label on the seed boxes indicating that the seeds were developed by Coffee-tech, a biotech company registered in the Nicotine Republic. Mr. Bean’s coffee plantation is located in the coffee growing region of Bunnakia where almost all coffee harvest comes from coffee plants growing in the wild. Mr. Bean started cultivating the imported seeds on his plantation. After few years, neighbouring farmers started complaining that their coffee plants are no more producing the normal size of beans they used to harvest. The coffee beans that they are currently harvesting are smaller in size. Scientific researchers eventually found that the wild varieties of the coffee plants in the vicinity of Mr. Bean’s plantation contained transgenes. Further studies were conducted to determine the possible source of the transgenes and the causes of shrinking of the size of the coffee beans. The studies confirmed that there has been gene flow from the genetically modified varieties grown by Mr. Bean to the natural varieties and also attributed the reduction in size of beans to the change in the genetic makeup of the indigenous coffee plants growing in the area. The incident was so extensive that it affected large areas and all the traditional coffee farming communities. As soon as the studies were released and reported on the media, the demand for coffee beans harvested from the wild species of Bunnakia started to decline. Traditional farmers in the community whose income and livelihood used to depend on the sale of the indigenous coffee harvested from the wild had to look for alternative sources of income. They began to cut trees and clear the forest which once supported their wild varieties of coffee in order to make charcoal and firewood for sale to the nearby towns. Land and forest resources are public property in Bunnakia.

    Discuss whether any damage has occurred as defined in the Supplementary Protocol. Do you see any liability case? Who do you think is the operator, if there is any liability case? Why? If you were the competent authority of Bunnakia, what steps would you take?

  • Case 5

    Gellyland is a country with one of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Kirar. A 1980 study shows that Lake Kirar has abundant fishery resources. The study confirmed also that the lake is home for one rare fish species known as Jack Jelly. In 1992, the Ministry of Environment and Fisheries of Gellyland issued, for the first time, fishing licences for five fishing companies with exclusive fishing rights on Lake Kirar for the next 20 years. Subsistence fishing by traditional fishermen was, however, still allowed. In 2010, the Ministry started taking stock of the fishery in Lake Kirar as part of its preparation to issue or reissue the next licences. The experts of the Ministry learned that the fishery stock in the lake has dropped significantly. In fact, they found out that the population of Jack Jelly, the rare species, has collapsed reaching a critically endangered status and may soon become extinct. The Ministry issued moratorium on all fishing activities and launched a massive study into the causes of the significant decline of the fishery in Lake Kirar and in particular the extinction of Jack Jelly. The study was completed in 2011 and the report came out with disturbing findings. The study revealed that the lake was contaminated with infectious bacteria that disrupted any breeding in the fish stocks. The bacteria contain a gene modified through genetic engineering. Every fish sample taken from the lake was tested positive to the bacteria containing the modified gene. All the fishing companies and traditional fishermen were investigated how the modified bacteria had been introduced into the lake. All of them confirmed that they have no activity involving any genetically modified organism. The experts expanded their investigation into the nearby settlements and operations. They identified a laboratory, known as Greylab, which has been conducting research on genetically modified microorganisms since 1985. Greylab has no permit for its laboratory research activities involving GM microorganisms despite the requirement under the 1996 GMO Act of Gellyland. The laboratory was inspected and DNA traces of the same strain of fish-infecting bacteria and the modified gene were found. The manager of Greylab has also admitted that the laboratory had been dumping its waste, without any safety management aiming at destroying the GM microorganisms prior to disposal, into Lake Kirar until 1995. The Environmental Protection Act of Gellyland was enacted in 1991. The Act prohibits, among other things, the discharge of any effluent into lakes and other water bodies of the country. The Act also has a provision on liability. The provision states that any person who causes damage to the environment shall be liable for the payment of compensation up to a maximum of $5 million. The Ministry of Environment and Fisheries initiated, in January 2012, an administrative action against Greylab. Accordingly, it issued an order to Greylab to pay, as penalties and compensation,: (i) $1 million for conducting GMO research without having the necessary permit in accordance with the 1996 GMO Act; (ii) $2 million for discharging waste into Lake Kirar in violation of the 1991 Environmental Protection Act; and (iii) $ 3 million for causing damage on the fisheries of Lake Kirar. Greylab has appealed to the High Court of Gellyland for review of the decision by the Ministry. The High Court sustained the Ministry’s decision. Gellyland is a Party to the Nagoya - Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol. At the time of ratifying the Supplementary Protocol (assuming it entered into force in October 2010) the Government has reached the conclusion that its existing laws – the 1991 Environmental Protection Act and the 1996 GMO Act – fully address damage as defined in the Supplementary Protocol.

    What possible legal and factual issues could arise in relation to this case? Discuss.

    The issue of whether the Supplementary Protocol applies aside, do you think the payment of the penalties and/or the compensation addresses the damage that has occurred on Lake Kirar’s fisheries in a way that meets the requirements of the Supplementary Protocol?