Cartagena Protocol

Cartagena IMG 20181119 185749
BMB Dir. Crisanta Rodriguez (4th from left) discusses with co-participants on the sidelines of COP14 to the Con- vention on Biological Diversity and COP-MOP9 to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt held on 17-29 November 2018. [DOST]

Modern technology poses possible adverse effects on human health. In order to protect humans from these, the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity established an ad hoc working group to draft a protocol on biosafety with a focus on the transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs), which are products of modern biotechnology and which might adversely affect biological diversity. Hence, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) was adopted on 29 January 2000 in Montreal, Canada during a CBD COP extraordinary meeting.

The Protocol lays down the rules and procedures for the safe use, handling, transport, packaging, and documentation of LMOs. It also further provides the framework for conducting risk assessment (Annex III of the Protocol). It does not cover products derived from LMOs (e.g. paper from GM trees) and LMOs intended as pharmaceuticals for humans since these are addressed by other relevant international agreements or organizations.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are the primary collaborating government agencies responsible for undertaking risk assessment to ensure the safe and responsible use of LMOs to the environment, human and animal health. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, is responsible in the conduct of public consultations in specific LGUs as required under the Local Government Code.
Focal Office:
Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)
Date Ratified:
Party since October 5, 2006
Focal Persons/Offices:
Secretary, DENR
Tel. No. (632) 926 3011, 920 4301, 929 6626 loc 2258

OIC-Assistant Secretary for Staff Bureaus and Director, DENR-BMB
Tel. Nos. (632) 924 6031 to 35 local 222, 925 8952 to 53

Chief, Wildlife Conservation Section, Wildlife Resources Division, DENR-BMB
Tel. Nos. (632) 924 6031 to 35 local 222, 925 8952 to 53

Senior Environmental Management Specialist, Wildlife Resources Division, DENR-BMB
Tel. No. (632) 925 8946, 925 8952, 925 8953
Relative to the Philippine commitments as Party to the CPB, the DA, DOST, DENR, and DOH were designated as Competent National Authorities (CNAs). Moreover, National Focal Points for the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) and for Emergency Measures were identified.
Representatives from the four CNAs and scientists participate in the biennial Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols to negotiate outstanding and substantive issues on the protocols' implementation and advance the national interest, taking into account the benefits that the country derives from the use of modern technology while at the same time ensuring the protection of human health and the environment.
Under Article 20 of the Protocol, the BCH was established to facilitate the exchange of information particularly on capability-building, financial mechanism, compliance procedures and public awareness and participation. The BCH National Focal Point coordinates with the CNAs for the regular updating and uploading of information into the BCH Central Portal. The BCH is one of the tools used for increasing the level of public awareness and understanding on modern biotechnology and the measures put in place by the government for its regulation.
Under the country's National Biosafety Framework, the DENR, as a member of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines, ensures that environmental risk assessments are done and impacts identified in making biosafety decisions. The DENR is likewise mandated to take the lead in evaluating and monitoring regulated articles intended for bioremediation, the improvement of forest genetic resources, and wildlife genetic resources.
Policy Issuances:
Executive Order No. 514 - Establishing the National Biosafety Framework, Prescribing Guidelines for its Implementation, Strengthening the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines, and for Other Purposes

DOST-DA-DENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular No. 1, s. 2016 Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Genetically-Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology
Sources / Relevant Links:
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity

The Biosafety Clearing-House of the Philippines


In terms of the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol in the Philippines, the list below details the compliance requirements and the status of compliance for each.
1. Development of Domestic Regulations in Support of the Implementation of the CPB Provisions. Aside from the issuances above, the following are orders relevant to biosafety:
DENR Special Order No. 2016-353 Creating DENR Biosafety Committee chaired by the ERDB and Co-chaired by the EMB
DA Special Order 2018-256 Amending DA Special Order No. 597 Series of 2016 "Creation of a DA-Biosafety Committee pursuant to DOST-DADENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular No.1, Series of 2016 'Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Genetically-Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived From the Use of Modern Biotechnology'"
BPI Memorandum Order 2018-161 Reconstitution of the BPI Biotech Technical Advisory Group
DOH Department Personnel Order 2018-5717 Reconstitution of the Department of Health Biosafety Committee
DOST Special Order 2019-162 Reconstitution of the DOST Biosafety Committee
2. Development of Risk Assessment Protocol. The following guidelines have been developed:
- The Revised Philippine Biosafety Guidelines for Contained Use of GMOs (2014)
- The Philippine Biosafety Guidelines and Procedures for Containment of Transgenic Arthropods (2014)
- Guidelines on the Planned Release of GMOs and PHES (Potentially Harmful Exotic Species) issued on 8 September 1998
- The Philippine Biosafety Guidelines, Series of 1991
3. Establishment of a National Focal Point (NFP) and Competent National Authorities (CNA). The NFP is the DFA while the CNAs are DOST, DA, DENR, and DOH. Other involved agencies are DTI and the DILG.
4. Establishment and Maintenance of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH). Regular updates are undertaken to provide real-time and accurate information on the status and country decisions on LMOs. The BCH website is found in:
5. Submission of National Report on the Implementation of the Provisions of the CPB. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reports have been submitted while the 4th National Report is under development and is due on 1 October 2019.
6. Conduct of Information Dissemination and Capacity Building Activities. There have been continuing activities of the BMB on these in partnership with other organizations and government agencies.
7 Provision of technical support and assistance to the Asia Biosafety Family (formerly known as the Asia Biosafety Clearing-House Family) by the Philippines and other countries in Asia with the objective of enhancing information sharing and capability building on the regulation of LMOs in the Region. In 2016-2017; the country served as the Regional Coordinator for the Asia BCH Roadmap.
8. Membership of the Philippines in the Ad Hoc Technical Experts' Group (AHTEG) for Socio-economic Considerations represented by Dr. Leonardo A. Gonzales (2014 - present) of SIKAP/Strive Foundation.
This Page was updated on 12 December 2019 and will be updated on 10 December 2020
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