The ABS comcept combines conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity with academic and commercial pursuits by balancing the interests users and Providers of genetic resources, and thereby is a tool that promotes sustainable development.
For many developing countries and emerging economies, ABS is a realistic opportunity to boost biodiversity conservation, generate value from biodiversity, support the domestic research landscape and create new value chains benefitting the well-being of the population.
At present, national ABS strategies and regulations are developed or undergoing revision. Many companies from the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and biotechnology sectors must contend with ever-changing market conditions such as shifting consumer demands – be it, for example, due to ageing populations or increased considerations of ethical and sustain- ability criteria in buying decisions.
Companies, as users of genetic resources, eventually find answers to these challenges when operating in ABS compliant value chains: Marketing benefits are linked to responsible sourcing. Legal certainty through binding ABS contracts secures access to these resources and investments in production.
For non-commercial users (e.g. universities and research institutions) whose academic research contributes to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity the Protocol provides simplified measures for access to genetic resources. Establishing regulatory and institutional ABS frameworks has several advantages for the provider side (e.g. governments, IPLCs, cooperatives, gene banks and research institutes): roles, rights and responsibilities are clearly defined, actual providers are better integrated in value chains and benefits such as transfer of technology and know-how or shares of profit are properly negotiated and agreed in ABS contracts.