New biosafety protocol to UN treaty on biological diversity opens for signature

7 March 2011 – Colombia, Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden became the first countries to sign a new treaty that opened for signature at United Nations Headquarters in New York today that provides international rules and procedures for liability and redress in the event of damage to biodiversity caused by living modified organisms.

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress was adopted by the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 15 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, after several years of negotiations. It is a supplementary protocol to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“We are hoping that the protocol will be ratified and go into force as soon as practicable,” Charles Gbedemah, Senior Programme Officer at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity, told a news conference soon after the protocol opened for signature.

The Supplementary Protocol takes its name from the city of Nagoya, and from the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in recognition of their roles as hosts of several significant meetings pertaining to the negotiations on liability and redress.

It will enter into force 90 days after the deposit of the 40th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

“The Supplementary Protocol has been the missing link for the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety,” said Hidenori Murakami, advisor to Japan’s Minister for Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries.

“I think we now have this system which works as the safety net for the possible damage [of biodiversity] through trans-boundary movement of LMOs [living modified organisms],” said Mr. Murakami, speaking on behalf of the presidency of the Cartagena Protocol.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.

The Protocol was adopted on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada, and entered into force on 11 September 2003. To date, 159 countries and the European Community are party to the Protocol.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN protocol on sharing benefits of world’s genetic wealth opens for signing

Related Stories




In-depth Interviews