U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Oceans and
International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
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:
David Sandalow, Jan. 25
- 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
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