Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

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Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a new international treaty adopted under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan in October, 2010, after six years of intense negotiations. As a megadiverse country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, and with a rapidly advancing biotechnology industry, India has contributed effectively in ABS negotiations. The objective of the Nagoya Protocol is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies. The Nagoya Protocol provides a transparent legal framework on how researchers and companies can obtain access to genetic resources, and how benefits arising from the use of such material or knowledge will be shared. India has signed the Nagoya Protocol on 11 May 2011 and ratified it on 09 October 2012. The number of signatories to the Protocol is 92, and so far nine countries have ratified the Protocol. These are Seychelles, Rwanda, Gabon, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mexico, India, Fiji and Ethiopia.

There have been several instances of misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge from the country, despite having taken necessary action at the national level. Once the Nagoya Protocol enters into force, the user country measures enshrined in it would oblige all Parties to provide that users of genetic resources within their jurisdiction respect the domestic regulatory framework of Parties from where genetic resources have been accessed, thereby addressing the concerns of misappropriation.