The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 29 January 2000. The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. It establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol also contains reference to a precautionary approach and reaffirms the precaution language in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.
Pursuant to Article 19, paragraph 3, of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Conference of the Parties, by its decision II/5, established an Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety to develop a draft protocol on biosafety, specifically focusing on transboundary movement of any living modified organism resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
The Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety held six meetings between July 1996 and February 1999. At its conclusion, the Working Group submitted a draft text of the Protocol, as well as the outstanding concerns of the Parties, for consideration by Conference of the Parties at its first extraordinary meeting, convened for the purpose of adopting a protocol on biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
In accordance with decision IV/3, the first extraordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties was opened on 22 February 1999, in Cartagena, Colombia. The Conference of the Parties was not able to finalize its work in the time available. As a result, by decision EM-I/1, the Conference of the Parties suspended its first extraordinary meeting and agreed that it should be reconvened as soon as possible and in any event no later than the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
The resumed session took place in Montreal from 24 to 29 January 2000 and was preceded by regional and interregional informal consultations from 20 to 23 January 2000 at the same venue. On 29 January 2000, the Conference of the Parties, by its decision EM-I/3, adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity and approved interim arrangements pending its entry into force.
China has participated in the 10 working group meetings and negotiations of Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and has played an active role for the adoption of the Protocol. China signed the Protocol on August 8, 2000, ratified the Protocol on April 27, 2005, and became the Party of the Protocol on Sept. 6, 2005. The Protocol has been ratified on behalf of 125 States. For details, please find the website of the Convention ( http://www.biodiv.org/biosafety/default.asp).