Part I of this paper provides a brief overview of the development of biotechnology, its regulation and its use, with a particular emphasis on agricultural biotechnology. Part II outlines the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which provides an international legal framework for a biosafety protocol and summarizes the results of recent protocol negotiations, such as those conducted in Cartagena, Colombia in February 1999, which continued in Montreal in January 2000. Part III explains why the proposed protocol embodies a variant of the precautionary principle and why such policies may do more harm than good. This paper concludes with some brief thoughts on how to approach the potential and uncertain risks and benefits of new technologies in general and of biotechnology in particular.


International Law, International Biosafety Protocol

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Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Texas International Law Journal

Publication Information

35 Texas International Law Journal 173 (2000)


COinS Jonathan H. Adler Faculty Bio