Benefit-sharing and biodiversity Equitable access and benefit-sharing
Ensuring fair access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of the profits from their use is a key issue addressed in the Convention on Biological Diversity (External link) of 1992. An international legal framework for this Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) was created in the Nagoya Protocol (External link) of 2010, which Germany ratified in 2016.
The ABS agreement is designed to benefit both developing and developed countries. The developing countries, which are often the providers of genetic resources, receive just compensation for their biological treasures – in the form of money or services, such as technology transfer. This enables them to invest in conserving their natural resources and using them sustainably and to improve their domestic research capabilities.
In their turn, the users of genetic resources – who are usually based in industrialised countries – obtain reliable access to the resources on the basis of a valid trade agreement and are no longer open to accusations of bio-piracy. National laws implementing the Nagoya Protocol provide more legal and investment certainty for private industry.
The need for support
Many of the partner countries of German development cooperation require assistance to protect their traditional knowledge effectively and enforce their intellectual property rights. The areas in which support is needed include:
- Enabling small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives to access national and international markets
- Establishing biodiversity-based value chains
- Developing an ABS-compliant legal framework for wild and agricultural genetic resources and developing the corresponding administrative and negotiating capacities
- Developing user-friendly digital schemes for ABS approvals and for monitoring ABS agreements
- Regional coordination and exchange of experience
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports the scientific and political process at international level in order to promote the principle of equitable benefit-sharing. In addition, the BMZ has since 2008 promoted implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in 24 bilateral, regional and supraregional projects which have included work with India, Mexico, Morocco, the Central Africa Forests Commission (Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale (External link), COMIFAC) and the Central American Integration System (Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (External link), SICA).