Folder Access and Benefit Sharing


The Convention on Biological Diversity recognises the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention therefore have the authority to determine access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties also have the obligation to take appropriate measures with the aim of sharing the benefits derived from their use. This is one of the three fundamental objectives of the Convention.

Genetic resources whether from plant, animal or micro-organisms may be used for different purposes (e.g. basic research, commercialisation of products). Users of genetic resources may include research institutes, universities and private companies operating in various sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture, horticulture and biotechnology.

Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on genetic resources, the transfer of technologies which make use of those resources, participation in biotechnological research activities, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialisation of products based on genetic resources. One example of monetary benefits could be the sharing of royalties arising from patented products based on genetic resources.

At its fifth meeting, in 2000, the Conference of the Parties established the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (a subsidiary body of the Conference of the Parties) with the mandate to develop guidelines and other approaches to assist Parties with the implementation of the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the Convention.

The Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilization were adopted in 2002 to assist Parties when establishing administrative, legislative or policy measures on access and benefit-sharing and/or when negotiating contractual arrangements for access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. Click here for further information.

Further to the call for action by Governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the Conference of the Parties mandated the Working Group on ABS to elaborate and negotiate an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing with the aim of adopting an instrument/instruments to effectively implement the provisions in Article 15 and 8(j) of the Convention and the three objectives of the Convention.


For more information and the COP decisions on this subject:

Text source: Convention on Biological Diversity

PDF dossier-protocole-abs.pdf Download Item only translated in French
PDF themadossier-abs.pdf Download Item only translated in Dutch

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