Homeworks academic service


Importance of the creatin of an international biosafety protocol

Biosafety and Biotechnology 1. Biotechnology, in the form of traditional fermentation techniques, has been used for decades to make bread, cheese or beer.

  1. This can be seen as recognition of the expertise in environment and development issues that rests with certain specialized NGOs. The Protocol contains an enabling provision by which the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties shall, at its first meeting, adopt a process with respect to the appropriate elaboration of international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms.
  2. The objectives of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Parties may also take into account, consistent with their international obligations, socio-economic considerations in reaching decisions on import of LMOs see Article 26.
  3. Go to the top of the page 7.

It has also been the basis of traditional animal and plant breeding techniques, such as hybridization and the selection of plants and animals with specific characteristics to create, for example, crops which produce higher yields of grain. The difference with modern biotechnology is that researchers can now take a single gene from a plant or animal cell and insert it in another plant or animal cell to give it a desired characteristic, such as a plant that is resistant to a specific pest or disease.

In the Biosafety Protocol, modern biotechnology means the application of: In vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid DNA and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or Fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.

Biosafety is a term used to describe efforts to reduce and eliminate the potential risks resulting from biotechnology and its products. For the purposes of the Biosafety Protocol, this is based on the precautionary approach, whereby the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as an excuse to postpone action when there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage see "What is the precautionary approach?

Go to the top of the page 3. A Living Modified Organism LMO is defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.

The Protocol also defines the terms 'living organism' and 'modern biotechnology' see Article 3. Common LMOs include agricultural crops that have been genetically modified for greater productivity or for resistance to pests or diseases.

Examples of modified crops include tomatoes, cassava, corn, cotton and soybeans. Go to the top of the page 4. What are LMO products? LMOs form the basis of a range of products and agricultural commodities. Processed products containing dead modified organisms or non-living GMO components include certain vaccines; drugs; food additives; and many processed, canned, and preserved foods. They can also include corn and soybean derivatives used in many foods and nonfoods, cornstarch used for cardboard and adhesives, fuel ethanol for gasoline, vitamins, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, and yeast-based foods such as beer and bread.

Go to the top of the page 5. What are some potential benefits of biotechnology? Genetic engineering promises remarkable advances in medicine, agriculture, and other fields.

These may include new medical treatments and vaccines, new industrial products, and improved fibres and fuels. Proponents of the technology argue that biotechnology has the potential to lead to increases in food security, decreased pressure on land use, sustainable yield increase in marginal lands or inhospitable environments and reduced use of water and agrochemicals in agriculture. Go to the top of the page 6. What are some potential risks of biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a very new field, and much about the interaction of LMOs with various ecosystems is not yet known. Some of the concerns about the new technology include its potential adverse effects on biological diversity, and potential risks to human health. Potential areas of concern might be unintended changes in the competitiveness, virulence, or other characteristics of the target species; the possibility of adverse impacts on non-target species such as beneficial insects and ecosystems; the potential for weediness in genetically modified crops where a plant becomes more invasive than the original, perhaps by transferring its genes to wild relatives ; and the stability of inserted genes the possibilities that a gene will lose its effectiveness or will be re-transferred to another host.

Go to the top of the page 7. Why do we need an international biosafety agreement? While advances in biotechnology have great potential for significant improvements in human well-being, they must be developed and used with adequate safety measures for the environment and human health.

The objectives of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The Contracting Parties agreed to consider the need to develop appropriate procedures to address the safe transfer, handling and use of any LMO resulting from biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity see Article 19. The Biosafety Protocol is the result of that process. The Biosafety Protocol and its Implementation 8. What is the exact name of the Biosafety Protocol? However, due to a number of outstanding issues, the Protocol was finalized and adopted a year later on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada.

Go to the top of the page 9. What is the objective of the Protocol? In accordance with the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may importance of the creatin of an international biosafety protocol adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movements.

What is the "precautionary approach"? How is it reflected in the Protocol? One of the outcomes of the United Nations Importance of the creatin of an international biosafety protocol on Environment and Development also known as the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, was the adoption of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which contains 27 principles to underpin sustainable development.

One of these principles is Principle 15 which states that "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty importance of the creatin of an international biosafety protocol not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

The preamblereaffirming "the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on environment and Development; ". Article 1indicating that the objective of the Protocol is "in accordance with the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on environment and Development"; Article 10. What does the Protocol cover? The Protocol applies to the transboundary movement, transit, handling and use of all living modified organisms that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health.

What are the main features of the Protocol? The Protocol promotes biosafety by establishing rules and procedures for the safe transfer, handling, and use of LMOs, with specific focus on transboundary movements of LMOs. It features a set of procedures including one for LMOs that are to be intentionally introduced into the environment advance informed agreement procedure, see question 13and one for LMOs that are intended to be used directly as food or feed or for processing see question 14.

Parties to the Protocol must ensure that LMOs are handled, packaged and transported under conditions of safety. Furthermore, the shipment of LMOs subject to transboundary movement must be accompanied by appropriate documentation specifying, among other things, identity of LMOs and contact point for further information see question 16. These procedures and requirements are designed to provide importing Parties with the necessary information needed for making informed decisions about whether or not to accept LMO imports and for handling them in a safe manner.

The Party of import makes its decisions in accordance with scientifically sound risk assessments see Article 15. In case of insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge, the Party of import may use precaution in making their decisions on import.

Parties may importance of the creatin of an international biosafety protocol take into account, consistent with their international obligations, socio-economic considerations in reaching decisions on import of LMOs see Article 26. Parties must also adopt measures for managing any risks identified by the risk assessment see Article 16and they must take necessary steps in the event of accidental release of LMOs see Article 17. To facilitate its implementation, the Protocol establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House for Parties to exchange information see question 15and contains a number of important provisions, including capacity-building see question 19financial mechanism see Article 28compliance procedures see question 19 and public awareness and participation see question 21.

Go to the top of the page 13. It includes four components: The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that importing countries have both the opportunity and the capacity to assess risks that may be associated with the LMO before agreeing to its import. Specifically, the Party of export or the exporter must notify the Party of import by providing a detailed, written description of the LMO in advance of the first shipment.

The Party of import is to acknowledge receipt of this information within 90 days. Then, within 270 days of the date of receipt of notification, the Party of import must communicate its decision: Except in a case in which consent is unconditional, in other cases the Party of import must indicate the reasons on which its decisions are based.

A Party of export or a notifier may also request the Party of import to review its decisions. Go to the top of the page 14. What is the procedure for LMOs intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing? Under this procedure, A Party must inform other Parties through the Biosafety Clearing-House, within 15 days, of its decision regarding domestic use of LMOs that may be subject to transboundary movement.

Decisions by the Party of import on whether or not to accept the import of LMOs-FFP are taken under its domestic regulatory framework that is consistent with the objective of the Protocol. A developing country Party or a Party with an economy in transition may, in the absence of a domestic regulatory framework, declare through the Biosafety Clearing-House that its decisions on the first import of LMOs-FFP will be taken in accordance with risk assessment as set out in the Protocol and timeframe for decision-making.

In case of insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge, the Party of import may use precaution in making their decisions on the import of LMOs-FFP.

The Protocol established a Biosafety Clearing-House BCH as part of the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention, in order to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, living modified organisms; and to assist Parties to implement the Protocol see Article 20 of the Protocol. Further information about the development of the Biosafety Clearing-House is available in the archives relating to the work of the ICCP.

Go to the top of the page 16. How does the Protocol address handling, transport, packaging and identification of living modified organisms? The Protocol provides for practical requirements that are deemed to contribute to the safe movement of LMOs.

  • Does the Protocol deal with liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of LMOs?
  • Further information is available on the Protocol home page;
  • It can further establish subsidiary bodies and working groups, and contacts, through the Secretariat, the executive bodies of conventions dealing with biodiversity issues with a view to establishing cooperation articles 23 and 26;
  • Go to the top of the page 31.

Parties are required to take measures for the safe handling, packaging and transportation of LMOs that are subject to transboundary movement.

The Protocol specifies requirements on identification by setting out what information must be provided in documentation that should accompany transboundary shipments of LMOs. It also leaves room for possible future development of standards for handling, packaging, transport and identification of LMOs by the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

Each Party is required to take measures ensuring that LMOs subject to intentional transboundary movement are accompanied by documentation identifying the LMOs and providing contact details of persons responsible for such movement. The details of these requirements vary according to the intended use of the LMOs, and, in the case of LMOs for food, feed or for processing, they should be further addressed by the governing body of the Protocol — the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties.

Go to the top of the page 17. What must Parties do in the event of unintentional transboundary movements of LMOs? When a Party knows of an unintentional transboundary movement of LMOs that is likely to have significant adverse effects on biodiversity and human health, it must notify affected or potentially affected States, the Biosafety Clearing-House and relevant international organizations regarding information on the unintentional release. Parties must initiate immediate consultation with the affected or potentially affected States to enable them to determine response and emergency measures.

How does the Protocol address the issue of non-Parties? The Protocol addresses the obligations of Parties in relation to the transboundary movements of LMOs to and from non-Parties to the Protocol. The transboundary movements between Parties and non-Parties must be carried out in a manner that is consistent with the objective of the Protocol.

Parties are required to encourage non-Parties to adhere to the Protocol and to contribute information to the Biosafety Clearing-House.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Cartagena Protocol

Go to the top of the page 19. How does the Protocol address capacity-building? The Protocol promotes international cooperation to help developing countries and countries with economies in transition to build human resources and institutional capacity in biosafety. Parties are encouraged to assist with scientific and technical training and to promote the transfer of technology, know-how, and financial resources.

Parties are also expected to facilitate private sector involvement in capacity building see Article 22. Go to the top of the page 20. What initiatives have been taken towards capacity building for the effective implementation of the Protocol?