Biosafety Protocol for Genetically Modified Organisms: Overview [Updated January 18, 2001]   [open pdf - 64KB]

"The Biosafety Protocol to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted in January 2000, by the 176 nations that are parties to the CBD. Not having ratified the CBD, the United States participated in the negotiations as an observer, but nevertheless was an active participant in the discussions. The Protocol addresses a major area of concern that was not resolved by the parent CBD in 1992 - the safe handling, transfer and trade of biological organisms. In recent years, this issue has gained new prominence - and controversy - as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have become widely used as agricultural crops, and have become the focus of concern by U.S. trading partners and citizens around the world. While GMOs are widely used in U.S. crops, citizens and governments in many countries, particularly in Europe, have questioned the environmental and health safety of such products, and have rejected them in the marketplace.[…] Given the importance of the Protocol to U.S. interests, the United States is likely to remain an active participant in refining the elements set forth in it. A related issue is whether the United States is hampered in this participation by the fact that it has not ratified the parent Convention on Biological Diversity. Consequently, the United States cannot sign the Protocol and attends the related negotiations as an observer."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30594
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Agricultural Law Center http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/crs/
Media Type:
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