unctad.org | BioTrade and Access and Benefit Sharing: From concept to practice. A handbook for policymakers and regulators
BioTrade and Access and Benefit Sharing: From concept to practice. A handbook for policymakers and regulators
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Since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted in 1992, a new paradigm relatingto the planet’s natural capital has emerged. Contrary to the widely accepted legal precept that biodiversity is a “common heritage of humanity”, individual States can now fully assert their exclusive entitlement to regulate and set up conditions for the access and use of their biodiversity, particularly their genetic resources through “access and benefit sharing” (ABS) regulations.

The adoption of the CBD’s Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (Nagoya Protocol), detailing the ABS and compliance obligations relating to genetic resources, and associated traditional knowledge (ATK), has only fortified this new ethos. The challenge now is how the Parties develop and implement the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol so that legal, regulatory and administrative measures contribute to and fulfil the objectives of the CBD while facilitating the emergence and scale up of BioTrade.

This handbook addresses some of the practical opportunities and challenges regarding ABS in two ways.

Firstly, by presenting the story of BioTrade and UNCTAD’s role, and how, since the creation of the concept 20 years ago, it has emerged as a concrete practical model for identifying and bridging the gap between stakeholders (from the grassroots to the regulatory level) and the public and private sector, as well as enabling the implementation of the CBD’s objectives, namely conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use and benefit sharing.

Secondly, it offers a practical and easy way to understand some of the key issues policymakers and regulators may need to consider when developing and implementing ABS and BioTrade measures, and projects, in compliance with related international frameworks.

The handbook has been structured to highlight key issues and challenges with suggestions at the end of each section for both regulators and policymakers. A distinction is made between a regulator (i.e. a person who mainly applies a law or regulation) and a policymaker who basically develops the rules and frameworks – often these two roles coincide.

Comprising nine sections, the handbook provides a glossary, a series of annexes with relevant case studies and two sets of checklists to guide policymakers and regulators. Boxes and tables further illustrate practical examples and complementary information which will assist regulators in deciding and policymakers in developing policies and frameworks.

Although some analysis is provided throughout the handbook, the idea is that it may serve a more practical purpose and assist countries in their efforts to find positive synergies and complementarity between ABS and BioTrade.


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Charlie Hebdo