The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS), which entered into force in October 2014, is an international agreement that supplements the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The agreement aims to ensure that benefits arising from research and development of genetic resources (plant, animal, microbial materials) are shared in a fair and equitable way. By promoting the use of such resources and the sharing of benefits, the Nagoya Protocol will incentivise the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components.
In line with UK ABS legislation, where a researcher in the UK is planning to use a genetic resource in a research programme, they will need to put in place a process to comply with the due diligence obligations set out under the EU ABS Regulation. This means that those accessing the material from a country that is Party to the Protocol will need to gather evidence to help demonstrate compliance, including that the material has been accessed in line with the legislation of the providing country.
Regulatory Delivery with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for implementation of ABS legislation in the UK and is working with researchers, companies and institutions to support their understanding and compliance.