The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It was agreed by the Parties to the Convention in 2010, and came into force on 12th October 2014.
The Nagoya Protocol has been put in place to enable the countries which ratify it to monitor compliance with ABS regulations by users under their jurisdiction. Thus, a UK scientist who collects specimens in another party to the Protocol will, under circumstances set out in the EU regulation, need to demonstrate that the specimens were obtained and are being used in compliance with the law of the country where they were collected.
In order to achieve this, the Protocol sets out responsibilities for countries that provide access (i.e. exert their sovereign rights of their biota though legislation or regulations) and countries where Genetic Resources or associated Traditional Knowledge are utilised. These responsibilities apply only to countries which have ratified the Protocol (‘Parties’).
Its intent is to create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources. In doing this, it is hoped that it will create incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.
An important point about the Nagoya Protocol s that it applies not only to Genetic Resources but also the Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources.
Background and other information on the Nagoya Protocol can be found on the CBD website. Further information, and a growing number of resources, can be found on the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing House of the CBD.
A useful guide to the Nagoya Protocol has been produced by the IUCN - Greiber et al, 2012, An Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing