ABS and Nagoya Protocol

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Overview on ABS and Nagoya Protocol

Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization entered into force on 12 October, 2014. It is an international agreement adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Nagoya Protocol provides a guideline for the effective implementation of the third objective of the CBD.

GGBN is following discussions on the Nagoya Protocol carefully to make sure that GGBN and its Members can fulfill any obligations which might arise from those discussions. Not all countries have ratified the Nagoya Protocol, but researchers from countries that have done so will need to be compliant with national regulations.

Many countries have developed or are in the process of developing appropriate laws and regulations to manage their sovereign rights over their genetic resources. GGBN expects that researchers working on behalf of GGBN Member institutions follow national laws wherever they work. The regulations of provider countries may carry obligations that apply after samples have left the country, such as restrictions on use, third party transfer, and tracking of any shared benefits. These obligations place demands on a GGBN Members’ internal documentation of compliance, data, and research procedures.

Open access to biodiversity research data and corresponding specimens in repositories is vital for basic, non-commercial biological science and essential to support the objectives of the CBD. GGBN Member institutions commit themselves to acquiring, using and managing genetic resources in compliance with international conventions and national laws and regulations. Accordingly, GGBN has developed Material Transfer Agreements, Code of Conduct, and Best Practice guidance documents for Members’ use. It is recommended that GGBN Members provide information on the provenance of samples when providing or transferring material (this may be required under national law, as in all EU Member States). Downstream monitoring and tracking of utilised genetic resources is a recognized challenge that must be met. In response to this challenge, GGBN has developed a permit vocabulary as part of the GGBN Data Standard that helps to standardize the tracking of permit information associated with genetic resource records across GGBN Member institutions and beyond. By 2020 it is mandatory that all GGBN Member institutions providing data to the GGBN Data Portal link associated information on permits and compliance agreements to specimens collected on or after 12 October 2014.

See the GGBN Access and Benefit Sharing Fact Sheet and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for further background.

Guidance for Curators

Guidance for Researchers

  • When collecting new samples in the field, obtain Prior Informed Consent and establish Mutually Agreed Terms if required by national law (e.g. PIC might be granted by the national or state government or by local communities, MAT might be negotiated with the relevant government contact or with communities or scientific partners).
    • The providing country's Competent National Authority (CNA) will issue a permit or its equivalent to the user, or may issue evidence that the user obtained PIC as required (e.g. from local communities). (Note: other non-ABS permits may still be necessary!). Any collection permits etc. might need to be secured as usual.
    • National ABS Focal points for both parties and non-parties to the Nagoya Protocol can be contacted for help with obtaining collecting permits. Focal points for each country can be found on the ABS Clearing-House. Note that not all countries have a focal point in place. It must be noted that this applies to collecting samples in any country, not just parties to the Nagoya Protocol.
  • When requesting use of samples from a GGBN member, review and understand all legal or rights information associated with the sample before signing a Material Transfer or Loan agreement.
  • Be proactive about benefit sharing opportunities with sample providers when conducting research projects and publishing results. For a list of possible monetary and non-monetary benefits, see GGBN's ABS Fact Sheet and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on ABS.
  • Cite voucher information associated with the genetic samples used for research in publications.

Other Codes of Conduct, Best Practices and Learning Tools

  • Access and Benefit Sharing Information Forum (note that this is a work in progress, developed by Natural History Museum London, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh): http://nagoyaprotocol.myspecies.info/

GGBN Document Library as an ABS Resource

The GGBN Document Library curates resources pertaining to ABS and the Nagoya Protocol, including Codes of Conduct, Best Practices and use cases. To obtain an account or ask for help with finding a specific resource, contact library@ggbn.org