Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Hong Kong
The Convention on Biological Diversity (the Convention) was adopted in the 1992 Earth Summit on Sustainable Development and came into operation in 1993. It is an international treaty on the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits deriving from the use of genetic resources. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (the Protocol) was adopted in 2000 under the Convention to provide for the safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Texts of the Convention and the Protocol can be downloaded here.
The implementation of the Convention and the Protocol in Hong Kong can better protect our local biological diversity. With the commencement of the Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Ordinance, Cap. 607 (the Ordinance) on 1 March 2011, Hong Kong’s existing nature conservation policy and measures are generally in line with the objectives of the Convention and the Protocol. The Convention and Protocol were extended to Hong Kong on 9 May 2011. We shall continue our efforts in nature conservation, and protect the valuable natural resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the present and future generations of the community.
Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Ordinance, Cap. 607
The Ordinance commenced on 1 March 2011 to give effect to the Protocol and to control the release into the environment, and the import and export, of GMOs. It aims to protect the local biological diversity from possible adverse impacts arising from GMOs intended for release into the environment, which mainly involves commercial farming or field trials for scientific researches.
Under the Ordinance, release of a GMO or import of a GMO that is intended for release into the environment requires prior approval from the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation. In addition, shipments containing GMOs, when being imported or exported, have to be accompanied with prescribed documents. Detailed requirements for the prescribed documents are laid down in the Genetically Modified Organisms (Documentation for Import and Export) Regulation, Cap. 607A. The guidelines for GMO approval application and documentation requirements, as well as other useful information in relation to the GMO controls, are available for public inspection on the GMOs Register.