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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

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 (CBD). At its tenth meeting, the Conference of the Parties adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. This agreement created a framework that balances access to genetic resources, including those related to traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities, 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 Protocol entered into force in 2014, 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification.

The Nagoya Protocol has created 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.

Article 14 of the Nagoya Protocol also establishes the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing-House (ABSCH) as a platform for exchanging information and facilitating implementation of the Protocol. Parties, indigenous people and local communities, businesses and other non-Parties have been using the ABSCH to share and access information on contacts, procedures and requirements for accessing genetic resources and traditional knowledge. This enhanced the transparency, clarity and legal certainty of access and benefit-sharing. The ABSCH also promotes awareness-raising and capacity-building for the Nagoya Protocol as well as provides tools to help countries monitor the utilization of genetic resources.

The Nagoya Protocol therefore has 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 associated benefits:

The Secretariat 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.