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 (CBD).
It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The objective of the Nagoya Protocol is addressed in Article 1. The text of this provision draws from the third objective of the CBD as stated in its own Article 1, and it refers to “the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources” as the main goal of the Protocol. Article 1 clarifies that such benefit-sharing includes appropriate access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, and appropriate funding. Accordingly, benefit-sharing entails more than sharing a certain percentage of the profits when a product is developed on the basis of a genetic resource. Furthermore, it is re-stated that when sharing benefits, the rights over the accessed resources and to the transferred technologies have to be taken into account. Finally, it is highlighted that the Nagoya Protocol aims at contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components.
Non-Aligned Movement recognizes the importance of Strengthening the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and just international regime on access and benefit sharing that respect the sovereign rights, of States over their natural resources and promotes the fair and equitable benefit sharing from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional and local knowledge in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and welcomed the coming into force of the Nagoya Protocol on 12 October 2014. The Movement has encouraged the respective parties, in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to take concrete measures towards achieving the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, and in this regard emphasizes the need to comprehensively address at all levels the difficulties that impede their full implementation.
NAM Member States have actively supported the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. A few examples of such states are mentioned here. Nepal has ratified the Nagoya Protocol Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The endorsement of the protocol is expected to help Nepal establish its rights over genetic resources produced from Nepal. It will also help protect bio-diversity and increase the access of the local community to natural resources, and the ability to forge agreements on sharing of benefits.
South Africa ratified the Nagoya Protocol on 10 January, 2013. South Africa is one of the first countries to regulate the protection and use of indigenous biological resources and associated traditional knowledge. In April 2008, regulations for bio-prospecting, access and benefit sharing came into effect to manage access to South Africa’s bio-resources.
India ratified the Nagoya Protocol on 4 October 2012. India has participated actively and contributed meaningfully in the ABS negotiations which formally started about six years back. The objective of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS is fair and equitable sharing of benefits, arising from the use of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.
NAM Member States recognise the importance of the Nagoya Protocol as it will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by establishing predictable conditions for access to genetic resources, and by helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing the genetic resources.