Risk Assessment and Risk Management

Articles 15 and 16 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety outline requirements that relate to risk assessment and risk management of living modified organisms (LMOs).  Article 15 requires Parties to make decisions on the import of LMOs for intentional introduction into the environment in accordance with scientifically sound and evidence-based risk assessments. The general principles, methodological steps, and points to consider in the conduct of such risk assessments are set out in Annex III of the Protocol.  Article 16 of the Protocol requires Parties to adopt measures and strategies for managing and controlling any risks identified by the risk assessment, and for preventing unintentional transboundary movements of LMOs with the objective to prevent adverse effects of the living modified organisms on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

The Parties have been discussing the topic of existing support/guidance for risk assessment and the potential need for additional guidance since their second meeting in 2004.  Despite the outcome of the first Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) in 2005, which concluded that there was limited need for work on this topic, protracted efforts to realize basic guidance on risk assessment as well as guidance on specific topics and training materials have been in process for over seven years without demonstrated success.

Parties will consider the outcomes of the intersessional work on risk assessment and risk management at COP/MOP-8.  Click here to read the Global Industry Coalition’s views on the proposed draft decision on these issues.