3.3.6 Uganda: Access Permits and Agreements
Under the Ugandan legislation an applicant to access genetic resources will require the following permits and agreements: an accessory agreement; an access permit; a Prior Informed Consent (PIC) document; and, a material transfer agreement.
Under Rule 2 of the National Environment (Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing) Regulations, 2005 an accessory agreement means any facilitating agreement relating to a prior informed consent, and includes a letter of exchange, a memorandum of understanding, or an academic or research agreement. An access agreement is entered into between the applicant and a lead agency, local community or owner of genetic resource, before prior informed consent is given (Rule 12(3)). While the agreement may contain such terms as may be agreed between the parties (12(4)), it must be in a prescribed form. An accessory agreement does not entitle any person to access the genetic resources. It merely enables the applicant to proceed with the application for an access permit (Rule 12(5)).
An access permit is a permit issued to authorise a person to access biological or genetic resources (Rule 2). The permit is issued by the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), which is the competent authority. The permit is issued after a material transfer agreement is concluded, and it is issued in a prescribed form (Rule 19(1)). It authorises the holder to access or export the genetic resource, subject to such conditions as may be imposed. Where the access permit is to be used for export purposes, other licences maybe required depending on the nature of the biological or genetic resource (Rule 4(3)). At the same time, for the export documentation to be complete, a material transfer agreement must be entered into according to Rule 14(1). This is not to mean that if export is not intended that a material transfer agreement shall not be required. Under the regulations (Rule 24) the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in collaboration with the NCST and other agencies may issue further guidelines for the export of genetic resources and benefit sharing.
Under the Ugandan regulation PIC means prior acceptance of a collector by the lead agency and the concerned local community or owner, to access genetic resources (Rule 2). It is a material condition for access that the applicant must obtain a written prior informed consent from the lead agency, community or owner of the genetic resource. The form of application for PIC is in a prescribed form and where granted, the same is equally granted in a document which is a prescribed form (Rule 12 (2)). Like an accessory agreement, a PIC document is only an enabler for the applicant to proceed with the application for an access permit. According to Rule 12(6), it is after PIC is obtained that an applicant enters into an accessory agreement, and thereafter a material transfer agreement culminating with the issuance of an access permit (Rule 19(1)). A PIC document is therefore the first document that an applicant is issued with in the access process.
A mentioned in the paragraph above, a material transfer agreement is the document that precedes an access permit in the access process. Under Rule 2, a material transfer agreement means an agreement between the Government or its representative and a collector, setting out the terms under which genetic resources can be transferred from one party to another. From Rule 14, the government representative in the material transfer agreement is the lead agency, a term that is defined in the principal legislation. A material transfer agreement is an integral part of the access process. It is usually granted in a prescribed form nd its stipulations are provided in the law (Rule 15). A salient feature of the material transfer agreement is that it is the document that contains provisions on benefit sharing. Among the stipulations it must contain include information on the manner of benefits arising from intellectual property rights accruing from genetic resources and provisions on participation of Ugandans in research, development, management and utilisation of genetic resources accessed at all stages of access.
Next section: 4. Benefit Sharing