The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) expresses in article 16 (“Access to and Transfer of Technology”) that access to and transfer of modern biotechnology are essential elements for the attainment of the objectives of the CBD. The CBD expresses in the first two paragraphs of article 19 (“Handling of Biotechnology and Distribution of its Benefits”) that Parties shall promote and advance priority access to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies. The third paragraph of article 19 instructs consideration of  a protocol in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs). This instruction resulted in 2000 in the adoption of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) reflects the  key elements of article 19 of the CBD in the Preamble: “Recognizing that modern biotechnology has great potential for human well-being if developed and used with adequate safety measures for the environment and human health”.

Main elements of the CPB are:

  • Procedures that allow a Party that does not yet have a regulatory framework for biosafety, to make informed decisions about the import of LMOs for environmental introduction in its territory.
  • General principles and methodology for risk assessment
  • A mechanism for information sharing: the Biosafety Clearing House

The full text of the CPB can be obtained here in various languages.