A view of the Nagoya Protocol

13 May 2013 | News story

Alejandro Lago Candeira, Director of the UNESCO Cathedra of Planning and the Environment at Rey Juan Carlos University and GEF ABS LAC project consultant inform how countries are preparing for access to genetic resources and its protection, while ratifying the Protocol.

“The Nagoya Protocol has a new approach in the international framework and its compliance issues as well as setting penalties to countries users, who violate the law of a country that provides the genetic resources” said Lago. He added that this will create challenges in the national legislations since it is not possible to incorporate into legislation what is regulated in the worldwide legal framework.

But how can countries fill this gap, while the Nagoya Protocol entries into force? The proposal is to establish Control Points that will be in charge of monitoring and generating information whether a genetic resource was given in a legal or illegal way. Currently, Alejandro Lago said that no country had done research on this topic, not even “Costa Rica, which has defined the penalties for illegal access, had carried an inspection to establish whether it has been a violation on the access system”.

For Lago, Control Points would encourage the implementation of the ABS legal framework and it will generate a preference of users to access to a country that provides them legal security that will avoid substantial penalties or fall into biopiracy.

Alejandro Lago warms that “the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol is an opportunity to review the internal legal system of each country and make it balanced and consistent with Genetic resources themes and associated traditional knowledge. Countries tend to be restrictive in access terms because there was uncertainty about how to protect their resources once they are outside of their jurisdiction. However, “the Protocol generates international security. Therefore, countries should find ways to encourage a real appraisal of genetic resources and not a merely potential one” he mentioned.

As for the Protocol ratification, Lago indicates that the decision is now a political issue rather than a technical one, so it is necessary to transmit the importance of it.

Alejandro Lago Candeira is conducting a round of visits to the countries that are part of the project to provide them with legal assistance on the existing doubts within national legislation for ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.

The GEF UNEP IUCN Regional Project ABS LAC aims to ensure that the principles of conservation, sustainability, equity and justice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in regards to access and benefit sharing and the protection of traditional knowledge.

Further information about the project: arturo.mora@iucn.org