Codes of Conduct and Best Practices

Codes of Conduct and Best Practice

Codes of Conduct and Best Practices set out how an organisation approaches and manages ABS issues. The Code of Conduct sets out the broad principles, and the Best Practices how these might be implemented. An aim is to ensure that there is guidance on how to manage all issues relating to ABS compliance.

In addition to the value of the documents to organisations implementing them in terms of management, the fact that an organisation is using best practices can make provider countries – where we might be seeking permission to collect – more confident in issuing permits. This has been stated in a number of meetings on the Nagoya Protocol.

The European Regulation on ABS includes an article encouraging user to develop and implement Best Practices, and to submit these to the European Commission for Recognition. This recognition may be used by Regulators in the Member States in their ‘risk-based approach’ to working with users.

For staff in the NHM, Kew and Edinburgh there are three sets of Best Practices that are of particular significance: those produced by CETAF, GGBN and BGCI. NHM is currently implementing the CETAF Code of Conduct.

Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities Code of Conduct and Best Practices adjusted for the United Kingdom
Following the exit of the UK from the EU the CETAF Code of Conduct and Best Practices was not recognised by the UK Government. To address that CETAF members in the UK set up a small working group reviewed and made suitable necessary small adjustments to the CETAF Code of Conduct and Best Practices to ensure it meets the requirements of the UK ABS legislation. The amended Code of Conduct and Best Practices have now been recognised under the UK ABS legislation on the 4th May 2022. The letter of recognition is here.

Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF) Code of Conduct and Best Practice for Access and Benefit-Sharing This is Recognised by the European Commission under Article 8 of the EU ABS Regulation. It is the first and to date only Best Practices to be so recognised. The formal notification is here.  The Code of Conduct and Best Practices were developed by the CETAF Legislations and Regulations Liaison Group and accepted by CETAF members, who include NHM, RBG Kew and RBG Edinburgh. NHM and othr CETAF members are currently implementing it. 

Global Genome Biodiversity Network (GGBN) Best Practice for Access and Benefit-Sharing and Code of Conduct for ABS. These have been developed by GGBN's Policies and Practices Task Force, and are modelled closely on the CETAF documents. NHM, RBG Kew and RBG Edinburgh are all members of GGBN. Links to these and other ABS resources can be found on the GGBN site here.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) Results of the Pilot Project for Botanic Gardens – Booklet sets out all aspects of developing policies and procedures on ABS for botanic gardens. It was created before the Nagoya Protocol was finalised, but with a great deal of international engagement, so is a valuable resource.  BGCI also has a resource page with links to its own and external tools. 

For culture collections there are other resources:

Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI) Best Practice Manual on Access and Benefit Sharing

World Federation of Culture Collections TRUST - TRansparent User-friendly System of Transfer, implementing the Nagoya Protocol in microbiology. The TRUST system comprises 4 elements:

1. Updated MOSAICC features with administrative workflows adapted to the structure of the Nagoya Protocol.
2.  Refined Material Accession Agreement (MAA) and Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) models with standardized definitions.
3.  An automated powerful integrated data management and processing system able to provide for any information related to microbial material: the ground breaking Global Catalogue of Microorganisms (GCM).
4.  Cooperative structures within the WFCC where culture collections
        make use of the latest ICT technology.
        conduct and facilitate research in genomics and functional genomics, thus develop capacities of storage and processing of genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic information.
        conduct their efforts in networks, in conformity with NP provisions on Technology Transfer, collaboration and cooperation.
Guidelines and a handbook are downloadable.

Swiss Academy of Sciences Good Practice Guide for Access and Benefit-sharing can be found here.  The guide offers comprehensive information to assist scientists and research institutions in planning and performing research projects that use genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge from abroad.

Other Codes of Conduct and Best practices can be found on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) website page on Codes of conduct, guidelines and best practices and/or standards.

A very helpful guide for DNA Barcoding is provided by Davis & Borisenko, 2017, Introduction to Access and Benefit-Sharing and the Nagoya Protocol: what DNA barcoding researchers need to know. DOI: 10.3897/ab.e22579  See also Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph (2021). The Global Taxonomy Initiative 2020: A Step-by-Step Guide for DNA Barcoding. Technical Series No. 94. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, 66 pages.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith