Global Biodiversity Framework Targets

Target 17. Strengthen biosafety and distribute benefits of biotechnology

Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement in all countries, biosafety measures as set out in Article 8(g) of the Convention on Biological Diversity and measures for the handling of biotechnology and distribution of its benefits as set out in Article 19 of the Convention.

Following are the guidance notes prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) for Target 17

Biosafety measures are indispensable for ensuring that living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology are handled and used with the necessary safety precautions. Living modified organisms resulting from biotechnologies provide opportunities, but their use and release requires regulation, management and control of potential associated risks. New biotechnological developments are providing ever more promising opportunities, however the concerns over these technologies and the living modified organisms resulting from them are also increasing. 

Participation in biotechnological research by those Parties, especially developing country Parties, providing the genetic resources for such research would help empower them to address their own research needs. In addition, equitable access by Parties, in particular developing country Parties, to the results and benefits of biotechnologies based on genetic resources provided by these Parties would enable countries to benefit from technological advances based on genetic resources, providing a powerful incentive for conservation. 

This target has two main components. The first relates to biosafety measures and the second addresses participation in biotechnology research and the distribution of benefits from biotechnology:   

  • Strengthening of biosafety measures and capacities for their implementation – Biosafety measures are taken to regulate, manage and control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms deriving from biotechnology. These measures aim to contribute to the sustainable use and conservation of biological diversity. 
  • Equitable access to results and benefits – Biotechnology can generate a range of potential benefits. This component of the target promotes the participation of Parties, in particular developing countries, in biotechnological research using genetic resources provided by these Parties.   This component of the target also promotes that Parties, in particular developing countries, are provided with equitable access to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies based on genetic resources provided by those Parties. 
  • Actions to reach Target 17 should take into account all of the considerations for implementation identified in section C of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.  
  • Progress towards this target would help to reach goals A, B, C and D of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Similarly, progress towards this target would help to reach targets 467810 and 13. Conversely, progress towards targets 14151819202122 and 23 would help to reach this target. 
  • Have necessary biosafety measures been taken in accordance with Article 8(g) of the Convention? If so, how effective have these been? How could their effectiveness be improved?
  • Have measures been taken to promote participation in biotechnological research and for providing equitable access to benefits and results from biotechnologies? If so, how effective have these been? How could their effectiveness be improved?
  • What are the opportunities for and constraints to taking implementing measures for biosafety, promoting participation in biotechnological research and providing equitable access to benefits and results from biotechnologies? What are the potential ecological, economic, and social costs and benefits of doing so? Who are the actors that may be affected? How can they be involved and their needs addressed? What are the trade-offs to consider? 
  • What additional resources (financial, human and technical) will be required? How can additional resources be raised? What are the possible sources for these resources?

The monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework identifies the following indicators for this target:

Complementary indicators: 

The monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework identifies the following complementary indicator(s) for this target: 

  • Number of countries that have the necessary biosafety legal and administrative measures in place
  • Number of countries that implement their biosafety measures
  • Number of countries that have the necessary measures and means for detection and identification of products of biotechnology
  • Number of countries that carry out scientifically sound risk assessments to support biosafety decision-making
  • Number of countries that establish and implement risk management measures
  • Percentage of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety implementing the relevant provisions of the Protocol
  • Number of countries with legal and technical measures for restoration and compensation
  • Percentage of Parties to the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol
  • Percentage of countries with systems in place for restoration and compensation of damage to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
  • Number of countries that establish and implement risk management measures
  • Number of countries with mechanisms to facilitate the sharing of and access to information on potential adverse impacts of biotechnology on biodiversity and human health

Assessments

  • Assessment and review of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety The assessment and review process under the Cartagena Protocol is based on information derived primarily from national reports under the Cartagena Protocol and from the Biosafety Clearing-House. The assessment and review process provides information on the extent to which Parties to the Protocol have biosafety measures in place and also on areas where capacity-building is needed. The assessment and review analysis focuses on information provided by Parties to the Protocol, so it largely excludes the 23 Parties to the Convention that are not Parties to the Protocol, among which are important producer countries. The assessment under the Cartagena Protocol does not provide information on biotechnology research and access to benefits and results from biotechnologies. The conclusions of the fourth assessment and review of the Protocol are contained in decision CP-10/7

Tools and guidance

  • Biosafety Clearing-House: The Biosafety Clearing-House is an online platform for exchanging information on living modified organisms and is a key tool for facilitating the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It includes national information published by countries (primarily Parties to the Protocol) as well as virtual library of biosafety resources, information on different living modified organisms as well as laboratories for their detection.

Note from the Secretariat: This guidance material provides an overview of the target by briefly introducing key terms, highlighting some of the implications for national target setting, and providing key points and guiding questions for consideration as part of national target-setting exercises. It also identifies the adopted indicators to monitor progress and resources that could assist with national target setting and implementation. This material should be considered a work in progress, and it will be periodically updated with inputs from Parties and partner organizations in the light of experiences with its use. This information is meant to serve as a resource that Parties and others may wish to consider as they implement the Global Biodiversity Framework. It does not replace or qualify decision 15/4 or 15/5