Cartagena Protocol

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 29, 2022, 10:24

The Cartagena Protocol aims to set rules to be in command of global transfers of living modified organisms (LMOs). It is based on the Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity and came into force in 2003. As a result of modern Biotechnology, when living organisms, including viroids or even sterile organisms, undergo genetic modifications, the Cartagena Protocol comes into action to protect them from any potential risk or hazard. Modern biotechnology can even use the fusion technique of cells to trounce natural physiological reproductive obstructions.

Precautionary Principle of Cartagena Protocol

The precautionary principle of the Cartagena Protocol allows the developing countries to effect an ideal balance of public health against fiscal benefits. Until the importing countries are convinced about the scientific evidence assigning about the safety of genetically altered commodities like corn or cotton, they may ban its trade, and its clauses are clearly stated in Articles 10.6 and 11.8

The Cartagena Protocol entered into force on 11th September 2003, and its provisions are mentioned in Article 37, when the required number of 50 instruments of ratification by countries was reached in May 2003. As per the latest data, the protocol has 173 parties that comprise 170 member countries of the United Nations and the state of Palestine, Niue and the European Union as well.

Participants of the Cartagena Protocol

The body that governs the Cartagena Protocol is the conference of the Parties to the Convention. Their main objective is to make vital decisions for the effective operation of the protocol and participate as spectators in the proceedings of the meetings of the COP-MOP even the non-parties are being encouraged to abide by the provisions of the protocol.

Several agreements have been recognized under the World Trade Organization (WTO), such as the Agreement on the application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS Agreement), Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and others. In its preamble, the protocol mentions that the parties should well be aware that trade and environment agreements should be reciprocally supportive and in no way shall the protocol be subordinated.

According to Article 20 of the Cartagena Protocol, with an extensive view of smoothening the progress of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information exchange and assisting parties to progress from pilot phase to equipped chapter and espouse modalities for its operations fully, the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) was also formed.

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FAQs on Cartagena Protocol

Q.1. What do you mean by Cartagena Protocol?

Cartagena Protocol is an international agreement on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity that controls the transfer of LMOs.

Q.2. What are the main rudiments of the Cartagena Protocol?

The main rudiments of the Cartagena Protocol are Procedures for transferring LMOs across borders, assessment of risks involved, public awareness and the Biosafety clearing House (BCH).

Q.3. Why is the Cartagena Protocol important?

Cartagena Protocol is imperatively important to safeguard handling transport and use of LMOs and prevent any adversities from using Modern Biotechnology.

Q.4. How many countries have ratified the Cartagena Protocol?

According to the latest data, 110 countries have signed, 20 have ratified the Cartagena Protocol, and 173 countries have agreed to the biosafety protocol for genetically altered foods and negotiating worldwide stipulations governing the consignment and use of products from Biotechnology.