On the Nagoya Protocol and the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in research and the development of products.
The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
The protocol regulates how the genetic resource is to be obtained, how it is to be used in research and product development, and how profit from its utilisation is to be allocated.
Genetic resources can be plants, animals or parts thereof, such as seeds, spores, sperm as well as yeast cells, viruses and bacteria.
The Convention on Biological Diversity defines genetic resources as “genetic material of actual or potential value” and “every material of plant, animal, microorganism or other original that contains functional units of genetic heritage”.
Genetic resources can be used in the development of products such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and biofuel. A genetic resource can also be used in basic research in, for example, ecology and biomedicine.
They play a key and increasingly prominent role in several economic sectors, such as food production and forestry, as well as in the development of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and bio-based energy sources.
Genetic resources are very important in measures taken to restore damaged ecosystems and biological diversity.
Traditional knowledge possessed by aboriginal peoples and local communities that maintain a traditional lifestyle can provide important clues for scientific discoveries. This includes knowledge, innovations and customs for the preservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
In many cases, this knowledge has been passed from mouth to mouth over generations and can be found in stories, legends, folklore, rituals, songs and laws.
National legislation in different countries differs as regards the definition of traditional knowledge. It is therefore important that users who are uncertain whether their research encompasses traditional knowledge contact the country from which the genetic resource and associated traditional knowledge was obtained.
The ABS Regulation (Access and Benefit-Sharing), EU Regulation 511/2014, encompasses all of the member states of the EU, and
The Regulation does not apply to the human genome nor for genetic resources used within the framework of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources and for pathogens that cause a prevailing or imminent international threat to human health (see also the ABS Regulation).
Illustrations showing how the application of the EU’s ABS Regulation is to take place before and during its use. In a longer perspective, this means the use of the non-registered collections will probably decline.