Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nagoya Protocol Enters into Force

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization will entered into force on October 12, 2014, providing the world with a mechanism to ensure that access to and the sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources, and associated traditional knowledge, happen in a context of transparency and with equity.

Natural Justice, and other organisations that have worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition.  In July, the requisite number of ratifications was attained, and the stage set for its entry into force. Ever since its founding, Natural Justice has been supporting communities in exploring how biocultural community protocols can assist them to engage with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) according to their values. This is in addition to the technical advice that NJ has constantly availed at all levels, from the sub-national to the international.

The fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources is one of the three main objectives of the CBD, with the other two being the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing provides a legal framework to ensure that the access and utilization of genetic resources coming from plants, animals, bacteria or other organisms for commercial, research or other purposes, be created on the basis of access and benefit-sharing agreements between providers and users which entail prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms. Benefits received in exchange for access to genetic resources can be monetary or non-monetary, including, for instance, technology transfer, joint research or capacity-building activities. Allowing Parties to fully benefit from their genetic resources generates new opportunities and incentives for conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.

The Protocol also addresses issues related to access to and benefit-sharing from the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources held by indigenous and local communities. In this regard, Parties are to take measures to ensure prior informed consent and fair and equitable benefit-sharing with these communities, keeping in mind community laws and procedures as well as customary use and exchange. Read the full press release here.

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