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Ratification by Uruguay (above) allowed the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of its benefits to enter in force on October 12th, 2014, that is 90 days after the reception of this 50th ratification. This date is the day before the first Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity which was held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from October 13 to 17.

With its complete name, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization aims, as it names says, at a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, through adequate and timely compensation to holders of resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies. This mechanism seeks to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. It was adopted by the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting, on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. Each country specifies the procedures for access to genetic resources, under the principles of the Protocol. In March 2014, the European Parliament finally approved the regulation to ratify and implement the Nagoya Protocol in the European Union.

The definition of genetic resources and the degree of constraint for the different types of players (companies, research laboratories, institutions, etc.) were at stake in recent negotiations.

Any research on elements of local biodiversity, such as plant extracts, oils or molecules for the development of new drugs or cosmetic ingredients, or any use or reference to traditional knowledge enters the scope of the Nagoya Protocol, making compulsory a request for voluntary access and benefit sharing (ABS), under terms defined by mutual agreement.

From this multilateral framework, signatory countries must implement the laws and regulations defining the scope and procedures of the APA in their territories. The European settlement was approved in March 2014, after more than a year of discussion. Centered on the concept of “due diligence” of users of genetic resources in the European Union, it relies on companies and institutions responsible for ensuring the compliance of the use of genetic resources and traditional knowledge with the rules ABS defined by the supplier country.

With the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, companies and research and development laboratories deriving their ingredients from components of biodiversity (plants, organic compounds …), or based upon traditional knowledge, will have to follow changing national laws and regulations on ABS and adopt best practices. These will be subject to verification by the checkpoints based in the Member States of the European Union, among others. This requirement is of concern to many company departments or institutions. Our ABS consulting service can help your organization to prepare its to the new requirements.

For information about the relationship between businesses, biodiversity and indigenous knowledge in the food and cosmetic industry, you can read our book (in French), watch this conference (in English) or contact us for specific questions.



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