Governments demonstrate their commitment to fair and equitable use of the planet’s genetic resources

18 July 2014 | News story

A critical mass of 51 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has now ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) - a new international regime which aims to ensure fair access to the planet’s genetic resources, while making sure that benefits derived from their use are properly shared across the globe. This achievement will bring the Protocol into force on 12 October 2014.

Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources is one of the Convention’s key objectives. The aim of the Nagoya Protocol is to set an international, legally binding framework to promote a transparent and effective implementation of this objective at the regional, national and local level in the future.

“This is one of the most important multilateral environmental treaties adopted in recent years,” says Thomas Greiber Senior Legal Officer, IUCN Environmental Law Centre. “It means that we now have a strong basis for achieving greater legal transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources.”

The entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol also means a big step forward in achieving target 16 of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020, which envisages that by 2015, the Nagoya Protocol “is in force and operational, consistent with national legislation”. The target was agreed by most of the world’s governments in 2010.

IUCN has a strong track record of consulting governments and building their capacities on ABS issues for nearly two decades. The ratification and entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol was supported through the IUCN Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol which was developed by the Environmental Law Centre in collaboration with the Global Policy Unit. The guide – now available in English, French, Spanish and Chinese – aims to facilitate a clear understanding of the ABS concept. Other IUCN activities, such as the IUCN-UNEP/GEF Project on ABS Capacity Building in the Latin American and the Caribbean Region, have contributed to the ratification process.

The first meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol will be held from 13 to 17 October 2014, concurrently with the second week of the 12th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

For more information, please contact

Thomas Greiber Thomas.Greiber@iucn.org and Sonia Peña Moreno Sonia.PenaMoreno@iucn.org