The Cartagena Protocol

The Protocol shall not apply to the transboundary movement of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) which are pharmaceuticals for humans that are addressed by other relevant international agreements or organizations (Article 5).

The Protocol provides:

  • an Advanced Informed Agreement procedure, which is applied prior to the first transboundary movement of LMOs intended for intentional introduction into the environment of the Party of import (Article 7)
  • a procedure for living modified organisms that are intended for direct use as Food or Feed,or for Processing (FFP) (Article 11)

The first procedure ensures to the Partyy of import the access to all the information needed to assess environmental risks related to LMOs and the ability to make a decision prior to import, in accordance with the Precautionary Principle.

The second procedure provides that the Party that makes a final decision regarding domestic use of a living modified organism that may be subject to
transboundary movement for direct use as food or feed, or for processing shall inform the Parties through the Biosafety Clearing-House.

The Protocol establishes also the principles and methodologies on how to conduct risk assessment (Annex III of the Protocol) and, in case of accidental release of LMOs, the Parties shall take measures for risk management (Articles 16 -17).
The Parties to the Protocol must ensure that LMOs are handled, packaged, safely transported and properly labeled. In addition, their cross-border shipment must be accompanied by appropriate documentation that specifies, among other things, the identity of the LMOs and the contact point for further information (Article 18).
The Parties, during the decision-making process for import, may also take into account socio-economic considerations  (Article 26).