The Nagoya Protocol
The 2010 Nagoya Protocol is a key element in the global framework for sustainable development. It enhances legal certainty and transparency for users and providers of genetic resources. It thus supports the implementation process of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) on the national level and the achievement of the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Despite the final success, the road leading to this international agreement was long.
By July 2014, over 50 states had ratified the Nagoya Protocol which ensures its entering into force. Subsequently, in October 2014, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) took place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.
The CBD was adopted at the 1992 World Summit in Rio de Janeiro, featuring ABS prominently as its third objective. Eight years later, the same Parties agreed on the Bonn Guidelines. These guidelines were of voluntary nature and therefore did not fulfill the expectations of many developing countries who wished to exploit the potential of ABS to contribute to conservation, sustainable development and poverty eradication. In addition, few regulatory frameworks were formulated that would enable indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to claim fair and equitable compensation for the utilization of "their" genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
It was two years later, at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, that political leaders called for real negotiations to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of generic resources. Several meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COPs) and Working Groups on ABS (WGABS) followed. In 2010, during the 10th COP (COP-10), the results of these negotiations found their way into the Nagoya Protocol.
In July 2014, over 50 states had ratified the Nagoya Protocol which ensures its entry into force. Subsequently, in October 2014, the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP 1) took place in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, as it is officially called, enhances legal certainty and transparency for users and providers of genetic resources. It does so by providing mechanisms and measures that assist in:
- Creating predictable conditions for accessing genetic resources and the traditional knowledge associated with them;
- Ensuring adequate benefit sharing when genetic resources leave the territory of the provider country and associated traditional knowledge is being utilized;
- Supporting mechanisms to monitor and ensure stakeholder compliance with mutually agreed terms (MAT) and national Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulatory frameworks.
The Protocol reiterates the sovereign rights of states over their natural resources and stipulates that Prior Informed Consent (PIC) with the custodians of the genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge is a prerequisite for adequate access. Before access is granted, MATs between the parties need to be agreed upon based on clear rules and procedures.
National ABS Focal Points (NFP) and Competent National Authorities (CNAs) are important parts of the institutional framework, ensuring that Access and Benefit Sharing is implemented according to the given rules and procedures. Their task is to inform about national access requirements, grant PIC and enter into MAT.
Furthermore, the Protocol calls for international and national Compliance Mechanisms with two aims: to prevent misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and to ensure that benefit sharing agreements are actually enforced. National checkpoints along the ABS based value chains are one example of these.
The Protocol also establishes an international ABS Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) for the purpose of sharing information relevant to the implementation of ABS. This information needs to be made available by each Party and contains legislative, administrative and policy measures on ABS, the contact details of NFPs and CNAs and permits issued for PIC and MAT.
According to the Protocol, all Parties are obliged to monitor the ABS process and ensure transparency.
The ABS Capacity Development Initiative is supporting a series of activities to facilitate the exchange of experiences with ABS implementation and to support the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. For more Information, pleace click here.