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Key provisions of the Biosafety Protocal

Background - 28 September, 2004
Upon its entry into force on September 11, 2003 a number of specific provisions of the Protocol took effect immediately, including the following:

Greenpeace activists put pile of normal (not genetically engineered) soya in front of Unilever building.

· Each Party is required to take necessary and appropriate legal, administrative and other measures to implement its obligations under the Protocol and the Parties are required to ensure that the development, handling, transport, use, transfer and release of any GMOs are undertaken in a manner that prevents or reduces the risks to biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health.

· Exporting countries shipping GMOs for intentional introduction into the environment will have to give prior notification to the importing country that is a Party to the Protocol under the Advance Informed Agreement procedure and provide sufficient information to enable them to make informed decisions.

· Shipments of GMOs intended for intentional introduction to the environment will have to be identified in accompanying documentation as GMOs with specification of the identity and characteristics and with a declaration that "the movement is in conformity with the requirements of the Protocol.

· Likewise, shipments of GMO commodities intended for direct use for food, feed or processing will, until further rules are developed, have to be identified in accompanying documentation that they 'may contain' GMOs and are 'not intended for intentional introduction into the environment'.

· Any Party that approves for domestic use and marketing GMOs intended for direct use as food, feed or processing that may be exported will be required to communicate this decision and details about the GMO to the world community via an electronic, web-accessible database: the Biosafety Clearing-House.

The first ever Meeting of the Parties (MOP 1) took place in Kuala Lumpur in February 2004, during the which governments adopted several measures of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. To find out in detail about which measures are now in practice read this article from the Third World Network that outlines the conclusions of the meeting.