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Before the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol in 2010, the Initiative aimed to develop relevant capacities to negotiate Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in various international forums.

Since 2010, the focus has shifted to implementing ABS regulatory frameworks at the national level.

Key to achieving these aims is the so-called Elevator Approach and its underlying participatory paradigm.

Over the years, the ABS Initiative has been working in a virtual ABS building in which the four main floors are inhabited from top to bottom by:

  • the UN,
  • the three regional intervention zones (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) and their sub-regions,
  • nation states and
  • local entities.

Each floor has ABS instruments tailored to specific target groups.

The Initiative acts as building manager and concierge. It organizes workshops, trainings, high level meetings and exchange opportunities while ensuring that various stakeholders entering the building find their way to the event which best suits them. The ABS Initiative successfully links the different levels by acting as an elevator that brings people to the floor they want to go.

The ground floor - accessible to anyone - accommodates an ABS library rich in technical papers, research results, studies, assessments and reports. These are available through the knowledge center on this website.

An important note: While the ABS Initiative manages the building, YOU, and the rest of the ABS community, are the landlord. You are both the Initiative's target group and ABS co-creators and contributors. Hence ABS Initiative activities are guided by the following principles:

  • Cooperating with research institutes, think tanks and others in developing and industrialized countries.
  • Creating and expanding networks of partners to co-develop the national enabling environment.
  • Cooperating closely with German and other national development and technical cooperations' bilateral and regional projects.
  • Linking up with financial institutions for support of ABS capacity development by other initiatives and organizations.
  • Sharing capacity development experiences for use by other stakeholders.