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International Agreements on Biosafety 1) The Cartagena Protocol on BiosafetyThe Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is aninternational treaty or an agreement on biosafety which aims to ensure the safe handling,transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnologythat may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks tohuman health. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 as a supplementary agreement to theConvention on Biological Diversity and entered into force on 11 September 2003.Objective of the ProtocolThe objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection inthe field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting frommodern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainableuse of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specificallyfocusing on transboundary movements .Overview of featuresThe Protocol promotes biosafety by establishing rules and procedures for the safe transfer,handling, and use of LMOs, with specific focus on transboundary movements of LMOs. Itfeatures a set of procedures including one for LMOs that are to be intentionally introducedinto the environment called the advance informed agreement procedure, and one for LMOsthat are intended to be used directly as food or feed or for processing. Parties to theProtocol must ensure that LMOs are handled, packaged and transported under conditions ofsafety. Furthermore, the shipment of LMOs subject to transboundary movement must bemediated by appropriate documentation specifying, among other things, identity of LMOsand contact point for further information. These procedures and requirements are designedto provide importing Parties with the necessary information needed for making informeddecisions about whether or not to accept LMO imports and for handling them in a safemanner.The Party of import makes its decisions in accordance with scientifically sound riskassessments. The Protocol sets out principles and methodologies on how to conduct a riskassessment. In case of insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge, the Partyof import may use precaution in making their decisions on import. Parties may also take intoaccount, consistent with their international obligations, socio-economic considerations inreaching decisions on import of LMOs.Parties must also adopt measures for managing any risks identified by the risk assessment,and they must take necessary steps in the event of accidental release of LMOs.To facilitate its implementation, the Protocol establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House forParties to exchange information, and contains a number of important provisions, includingcapacity-building, a financial mechanism, compliance procedures, and requirements forpublic awareness and participation.
2) The International Plant Protection Convention(IPPC) is an international plant health agreement or treaty that aims to protect cultivatedand wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests. International travel andtrade are greater than ever before. As people and commodities move around the world,organisms that present risks to plants travel with them.While the IPPC’s primary focus is on plants and plant products moving in international trade,the convention also covers research materials, biological control organisms, germplasmbanks, containment facilities and anything else that can act as a vector for the spread ofplant pests — for example, containers, packaging materials, soil, vehicles, vessels andmachinery.The IPPC places emphasis in three main areas of work: international standard setting,information exchange and capacity development for the implementation of the IPPC andassociated international phytosanitary standards.The IPPC was created in 1952 by member countries of the Food and AgricultureOrganization of the United Nations. 177 governments have become contracting parties tothe IPPC.By protecting plant resources from pests and diseases, the IPPC helps to:1. Protect the environment from loss of species diversity.2. Protect ecosystems from loss of viability and function as a result of pest invasions.3. Protect industries and consumers from the costs of pest control .4. Facilitate trade through Standards that regulate the safe movements of plants and plantproducts. 3) The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and AgricultureThe International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is also knownas The International Seed TreatyThe International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adoptedby the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of theUnited Nations on 3 November 2001.The Treaty aims at:
-recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world; -establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials; -ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.Main Provisions: •Multilateral systemThe Treaty’s truly innovative solution to access and benefit sharing, the Multilateral System,puts 64 of our most important crops – crops that together account for 80 percent of thefood we derive from plants – into an easily accessible global pool of genetic resources that isfreely available to potential users in the Treaty’s ratifying nations for some uses. • Access and benefit sharing The Treaty facilitates access to the genetic materials of the 64 crops in the MultilateralSystem for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. Those who access thematerials must be from the Treaty’s ratifying nations and they must agree to use thematerials totally for research, breeding and training for food and agriculture. The Treatyprevents the recipients of genetic resources from claiming intellectual property rights overthose resources in the form in which they received them, and ensures that access to geneticresources already protected by international property rights is consistent with internationaland national laws. Those who access genetic materials through the Multilateral System agree to share anybenefits from their use through four benefit-sharing mechanisms established by the Treaty. •Farmers’rightsThe Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution farmers have made to the ongoingdevelopment of the world’s wealth of plant genetic resources. It calls for protecting thetraditional knowledge of these farmers, increasing their participation in national decision-making processes and ensuring that they share in the benefits from the use of theseresources •Sustainable useMost of the world’s food comes from four main crops – rice, wheat, maize and potatoes.However, local crops, not among the main four, are a major food source for hundreds ofmillions of people and have potential to provide nutrition to countless others. The Treatyhelps maximize the use and breeding of all crops and promotes development andmaintenance of diverse farming systems.