The Nagoya Protocol (NP) is an international agreement which establishes a legal framework designed to ensure benefits arising from the use of genetic resources are shared fairly while protecting biodiversity and promoting conservation. EU regulation 511/2014 establishes compliance measures from the NP for EU users of genetic resources. In certain cases, UK researchers who use genetic resources such as plants, animals, microbes, biomass and even food waste in R&D are now legally obliged to follow a number of steps in terms of permits, permissions, record-keeping and due diligence declarations. See https://www.cbd.int/abs/doc/protocol/factsheets/policy/ABSFactSheets-Biotech-web.pdf for an overview of how this relates to industrial biotechnology research. Full guidance on ABS implementation is available from The Office for Product Safety and Standards, BEIS at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/abs
Researchers should be aware that some countries have domestic ABS legislation which must still be followed even if they are not a Party to the NP and/or the genetic material being used doesn’t fall under the scope of the EU Regulation. Full details of individual countries with respect to their domestic legislation and whether they are Parties to the NP are available at https://absch.cbd.int/
- The HVCfP Network has compiled a number of resources to help researchers manage their access and benefit sharing (ABS) obligations which are available from the resources panel.
- The HVCfP Network has developed bespoke training materials and can deliver a free, 3 hr interactive introduction to ABS legislation and user’s obligations at your Institute or Company if there is sufficient interest – contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
- The HVCfP Network can provide basic support to members on a case by case basis – contact us if you need help to determine whether a proposed research activity is in scope of EU Regulation 511/2014 or have other questions about your ABS obligations.
An online platform for the submission of due diligence declarations, called DECLARE, is now operational and can be accessed here. New users of the system will be required to create an account. A Q&A document prepared by the EU Commission to support the submission of declarations and navigating the DECLARE system can be downloaded from the resources panel on the left. The Office for Product Safety and Standards specifically request that all recipients of research funding (in the form of a grant) involving the utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge submit a due diligence declaration as required.