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Access and Benefit Sharing

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization
ABS

Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their utilization is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. At the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization was adopted. This historic agreement creates a framework that balances access to genetic resources, on the basis of prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms, with the fair and equitable sharing of benefits, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The use of genetic resources can also be associated with the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities. Therefore, the Nagoya Protocol also includes provisions regulating access and benefit sharing related to such knowledge. The Protocol is expected to enter into force in 2014, 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification.

The Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by:
  • Establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources; and
  • Helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the Party providing the genetic resources.

To this end, the Protocol includes obligations related to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance with domestic legislation or regulatory requirements on access and benefit-sharing.

The Protocol also establishes an Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House as a platform for exchanging information and facilitating implementation of the Protocol. Countries will use the Clearing-House to provide information on their legal measures on access and benefit-sharing and their national focal points and competent national authorities, among other things. This will enhance the transparency and legal certainty of access and benefit-sharing.

The entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol will therefore have implications for the business community in relation to the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. There are a number of resources available to help companies understand the Protocol, their responsibilities under it, and the benefits that will accrue once it is implemented:

The Secretariat has published a number of factsheets and policy briefs covering different industrial sectors including:
  • Agriculture;
  • Botanicals;
  • Cosmetics;
  • Food and beverage;
  • Industrial biotechnology; and
  • Pharmaceuticals.

In addition, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative has a good selection of guides, case studies, and audio visual materials that can be of assistance to business.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme