Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
Update for U.S. Food Aid Program Partners
April 15, 2004
Documentation Requirements for Food Aid Unchanged
Parties Urged to Require Detailed Information
In February 2004, Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety gathered in Kuala Lumpur to begin making decisions regarding implementation of the Protocol. Documentation requirements for commodity shipments, including food aid, remain unchanged from the Guidance to U.S. Food Aid Program Partners that was prepared last fall when the Protocol entered into force. However, the decision urges Parties to require more detailed information and allows the use of a separate document rather than the commercial invoice. In practice, this means that each country may implement unique requirements. Further, there is no lead time required for countries to announce their specific requirements. The lack of consistency and predictability is expected to cause disruptions in food aid programs.
Parties will meet periodically over the next two years to further refine the documentation requirements for commodity shipments, including food aid.
Although many Parties have not yet implemented the Protocol, it is expected that Parties will now begin working to implement its requirements, a process that will take some countries longer than others. Parties are required to post implementing regulations on the Biosafety Clearing House.
See the following websites for further information:
Handling, Transport, Packaging and Identification (explanation of Article 18 of the Protocol)
Guidance to U.S. Food Aid Program Partners
Press Release from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (02/27/04)