Nagoya Protocol ABS

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Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio “Earth Summit”) and entered into force on 29 December 1993. The Convention is the only international instrument comprehensively addressing biological diversity. The Convention’s three objectives are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.

To further advance the implementation of the third objective, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, September 2002) called for the negotiation of an international regime, within the framework of the Convention, to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources. 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 negotiation, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties on 29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The Protocol significantly advances the Convention’s third objective by providing a strong basis for 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 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.

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