Biosafety Protocol

Publication - March 31, 2008
The Cartagena Biosafety Protocol is a United Nations agreement that was introduced at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The agreement — now signed by over 100 countries, but not Canada — is designed to regulate the international trade, handling and use of genetically engineered (GE) plants and animals

This Biosafety Protocol recognizes the need for a cautionary approach to the release of GE organisms, and establishes specific rules for the transport of these organisms between countries. It requires countries to agree in advance to imports of GE crops. This is called the Advance Informed Agreement. Before countries are allowed to export GE organisms, they must first obtain the importing country’s consent.

The Biosafety Protocol is an important step in protecting the planet’s biodiversity, and Greenpeace has been very involved in strengthen the agreement. The agreement is important to Canadians concerned about the risks associated with GE plants and animals because Canada has refused to ratify the agreement. In fact Canada, along with the U.S. and Argentina, are part of the Miami Group: large GE exporters that are attempting to undermine the effectiveness of the agreement in order to protect the sale of GE crops.