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At the centre of a highly emotional scientific, social and political debate about the pros and cons of modern biotechnology in 2003, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Box 1), negotiated under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity and adopted by its Conference of the Parties on 29 January 2000, entered into force on 11 September 2003

Box 1: The Cartagena Protocol

The Protocol aims to protect biological diversity from the potential risks of living modified organisms (LMOs), with specific focus on transboundary movements, and taking also into account risks to human health. It makes reference to the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration, and establishes an advance informed agreement procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with prior written notification and information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the first import of LMOs that are to be intentionally introduced into the environment. It also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information and experiences on LMOs, and to assist countries in implementation.

Source: CBD 2003

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