Permits and Contracts and Terms for Biological Specimens/Glossary

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Permits and Contracts and Terms for Biological Specimens › Glossary


ABS Clearing House 
Global information portal ( developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and further elaborated in the Nagoya Protocol (NP) to make information available on national contacts (especially National Focal Points and Competent National Authorities), national legislation and other matters relevant to Access and Benefits Sharing and the Nagoya Protocol
Access to genetic resources or associated trad. knowledge 
The acquisition of genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge from the country that has sovereign right over those resources (providing country). Note that this term may be used differently by some countries or organisations. The EU Regulation defines access as ‘the acquisition of genetic resources or of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources in a Party to the Nagoya Protocol’. Both the → Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and - in more detail - the → Nagoya Protocol (NP) contain provisions for granting access to genetic resources.
Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) 
A system based on public international law that outlines the way in which genetic resources or (where applicable) traditional knowledge associated with such resources is accessed and how the benefits that result from the utilisation of such resources and associated traditional knowledge are shared with the countries and/or indigenous peoples and local communities providing them.
Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) 
An international agreement, currently at the time of writing this glossary in 2022 under negotiation at the United Nations, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The search for potentially valuable genetic data and biochemical compounds in biodiversity for the purpose of developing economically valuable products for different applications (e.g. pharmaceutical, cosmetic, agricultural). The UNDP defined bioprospection “Biodiversity prospecting or bioprospecting is the systematic search for biochemical and genetic information in nature in order to develop commercially-valuable products for pharmaceutical, agricultural, cosmetic and other applications. Bioprospecting activities must comply with the definition of utilization of genetic resources of the Nagoya Protocol or as stated in the national law or policy. The Nagoya Protocol applies to the utilization of genetic resources and their derivatives” (https://www1.​​content/​dam/​sdfinance/​doc/​Bioprospecting%20_%20UNDP.pdf (archived 20220416),
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 
International agreement designed to promote three goals, the “conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” ( The agreement was adopted by the states that participated in the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro; it entered into force on 29 December 1993.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 
International agreement designed to ensure that international trade in wild fauna and flora does not deteriorate the situation of endangered or strongly exploited species. CITES resulted from a resolution by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 1963; it entered into force on 01 July 1975.
Environmental sample 
A collected volume of water, soil, sediment, or any other material containing living our death organisms, or genetic material such as DNA.
Genetic resources (GR) 
Term identified in the → Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and refers to all “genetic material of actual or potential value”, thus encompasses “any material of plant, animal. microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity” that is potentially valuable to humans. Genetic resources can be taken from the wild, domesticated or cultivated. They may be sourced from natural environments (in situ) or human-made collections (ex situ) (e.g. botanical gardens, gene banks, seed banks and microbial culture collections).
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) 
Also referred to as the Plant Treaty or Seed Treaty. International agreement designed to promote the “conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security” ( It entered into force on 29 June 2004.
Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) 
Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) is a contract on benefit-sharing from the utilisation of genetic resources that has been mutually agreed between providers and users of genetic resources in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) including Nagoya Protocol (NP). See typology of Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT).
Nagoya Protocol (NP) 
Short for “The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization”. An international agreement related to the → Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which primarily aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way ( It entered into force on 12 October 2014.
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness framework (PIP) 
International instrument that aims to “improve pandemic influenza preparedness and response” by improving and strengthening a system for the global sharing “of H5N1 and other influenza viruses with human pandemic potential and access to vaccines and sharing of other benefits” ( It was negotiated by Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) and entered into force on 24 May 2011.
Scientific and regulatory frameworks relating to plant health, including the control of plant pests or pathogens.
Prior Informed Consent (PIC) 
A written permission, e.g. given by a government authority of a provider country to a user prior to and allowing access to genetic resources for their utilisation aso.; or for traditional knowledge (approval and involvement of indigenous peoples aso.); or it can also be the leading part of a combined document covering the contents of Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) as well. See typology of Prior Informed Consent (PIC)
The intentional release of a species from captivity (e.g. zoo, botanical garden, seed bank) in an area inside its indigenous range from which it has disappeared.
The intentional movement of a species within its indigenous range to an area where it has disappeared.
Utilization of genetic resources 
To “conduct research and development on the genetic and/or biochemical composition of genetic resources, including through the application of biotechnology” (“biotechnology means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use”) as defined in the → Nagoya Protocol (NP).