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Becoming a Party

Treaty Handbook, prepared by the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs
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Background

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization builds on the Convention on Biological Diversity and supports the further implementation of one of its three objectives: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Heads of State at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, September 2002) first recognised the need for an international regime to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and called for negotiations to be carried out within the framework of the Convention. The Convention’s Conference of the Parties responded at its seventh meeting, in 2004, by mandating its Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing to elaborate and negotiate an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing in order to effectively implement Articles 15 (Access to Genetic Resources) and 8(j) (Traditional Knowledge) of the Convention and its three objectives.

After six years of negotiations, the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties adopted the Nagoya Protocol on 29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan.

The Conference of the Parties and the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly called upon the Convention’s 193 Parties to sign the Nagoya Protocol at the earliest opportunity, and to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or instruments of accession, as appropriate, as soon as possible.

The Nagoya Protocol will enter into force 90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

Rationale for the early ratification of the Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol significantly advances the Convention’s third objective by providing greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources. Specific obligations to support compliance with domestic legislation or regulatory requirements of the Party providing genetic resources and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms are a significant innovation of the Nagoya Protocol. These compliance provisions as well as provisions establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources will contribute to ensuring the sharing of benefits when genetic resources leave a Party providing genetic resources. In addition, the Protocol’s provisions on access to traditional knowledge held by indigenous and local communities when it is associated with genetic resources will strengthen the ability of these communities to benefit from the use of their knowledge, innovations and practices.

By promoting the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, and by strengthening the opportunities for fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their use, the Protocol will create incentives to conserve biological diversity, sustainably use its components, and further enhance the contribution of biological diversity to sustainable development and human well-being.

How to become a Party to the Nagoya Protocol

States and regional economic integration organizations that are Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are eligible to become a Party to the Nagoya Protocol.

The United Nations Secretary-General acts as Depositary for the Nagoya Protocol through the United Nations Treaty Section in New York. Certified true copies of the Nagoya Protocol are available here.

The Nagoya Protocol’s Opening for Signature

The Nagoya Protocol was opened for signature by Parties to the Convention from 2 February 2011 until 1 February 2012. A total of 92 Parties to the Convention signed the Protocol before the closing date for signature.

Signature does not result in any positive legal obligations under the Nagoya Protocol. However, it indicates the signatory’s intention to take steps to express its consent to be bound by the Protocol at a later date. Signature also creates an obligation, in the period between signature and ratification, acceptance or approval, to refrain in good faith from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Protocol.

Taking Steps to Become a Party to the Nagoya Protocol

Parties to the Convention that have signed the Nagoya Protocol may then proceed to take steps at the domestic level that would lead to depositing their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval with the Depositary.

Parties to the Convention that were not be able to sign the Nagoya Protocol by 1 February 2012, but still wish to become Parties, may accede to the Protocol by depositing an instrument of accession with the Depositary.

Ratification, acceptance, approval and accession have the same legal effect.

Depositing the relevant instruments represents an expression of explicit consent, at the international level, by a State or regional economic integration organization to be legally bound by the Nagoya Protocol. They are signed either by a Head of State, Head of Government or by a Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Parties to the Convention wishing to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Nagoya Protocol should contact the UN Treaty Section at:

UN Treaty Section
United Nations Headquarters
Room No. M-13002
New York, NY 10017
USA
Tel: +1.212.963.5047
Fax: +1.212.963.3693
treaty@un.org.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme