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The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
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Bureau of Oceans and
International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

Biosafety Protocol
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The Biosafety Protocol was adopted by more than 130 countries on January 29, 2000, in Montreal, Canada. It is called the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to honor Colombia, which hosted the extraordinary Conference of the Parties in Cartagena in 1999. Upon entry into force, this first Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity will provide a framework for addressing environmental impacts of bio-engineered products (referred to as living modified organisms or "LMOs") that cross international borders. The Biosafety Protocol will help protect the environment without unnecessarily disrupting world food trade.

Key Features of the Biosafety Protocol
  • It is important to emphasize that the Biosafety Protocol is an environmental agreement and that it does not address food safety. Food safety is addressed by experts in other international fora.
  • The Protocol will help to realize the potential benefits of modern biotechnology around the world, such as reduced pesticide use and increased crop yields, while appropriately managing the potential risks to the environment.
  • Another key fact is that the Biosafety Protocol in no way changes the rights and obligations of countries under the WTO.
  • Another positive feature of the Protocol is that it establishes an Internet-based "Biosafety Clearing-House," which promises to be an extremely important tool for sharing information about modern biotechnology around the world.
  • In addition, this agreement will help developing countries build their capacity for managing modern biotechnology.
  • January 2000 Negotiations

    The Resumed Session of the First Extraordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to Finalize and Adopt a Protocol on Biosafety was held in Montreal, Canada, January 24-28, 2000. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, hosted the U.S. Government's official web site for the conference:

    Biodiversity: Biosafety Protocol


    Sandalow 000125 press briefing
    David Sandalow, Jan. 25
    • 01/29/00: Press Statement by Frank Loy
    • 01/27/00: Press Briefing by Frank Loy and David Sandalow
    • 01/26/00: Press Briefing by David Sandalow
    • 01/25/00: Press Briefing by David Sandalow
    • 01/12/00: Press Briefing by David Sandalow

    Fact Sheets

    • 12/19/00: Fact Sheet: Report of the U.S.-EU Biotechnology Consultative Forum
    • 02/16/00: The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
    • 02/00: International Protocol on Biosafety: What It Means for Agriculture (USDA)
    • 01/27/00: Biotechnology and International Organizations
    • 01/11/00: Agricultural Biotechnology
    • 01/11/00: The Biosafety Protocol
    • 01/11/00: U.S. Objectives for the Biosafety Protocol
    • 12/01/99: Biotech Basics
    • 11/99: Biography of David B. Sandalow
    • 11/98: Biography of Frank E. Loy

    Related Sites

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