Agreement for Access and Benefit Sharing: A Breakdown for the Layman
Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a critical component of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It is an approach that seeks to create a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits that come from the use of biological resources. In this article, we will take you through the basics of ABS and the Agreement for Access and Benefit Sharing.
What is ABS?
ABS refers to the way in which benefits generated from the use of genetic resources are shared between the provider or country of origin and the user or country of development. Genetic resources refer to any material of plant, animal, fungal, or microbial origin containing functional units of heredity that have actual or potential value.
Why is ABS Important?
Genetic resources play a significant role in our lives. They are used in the development of medicines, cosmetics, agriculture, and many other products and services. ABS ensures that the benefits generated from the use of these resources are shared fairly and equitably between the provider and the user. It is also an essential tool for protecting biodiversity and preserving traditional knowledge and practices.
The Agreement for Access and Benefit Sharing
The Agreement for Access and Benefit Sharing is a legally binding international agreement under the CBD that outlines the terms and conditions for access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their utilization. It was adopted by the Conference of Parties in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, and currently has 129 signatories.
The agreement provides a framework for the implementation of ABS, including:
1. Access: The agreement outlines the procedures for obtaining access to genetic resources, including prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms.
2. Benefit-sharing: The agreement provides for the sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. This includes financial and non-financial benefits such as technology transfer, research collaboration, and capacity building.
3. Compliance: The agreement requires parties to establish legal frameworks for implementing ABS and enforcing compliance.
The agreement also recognizes the importance of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources and provides for the protection of this knowledge.
The Agreement for Access and Benefit Sharing is an essential tool for promoting the fair and equitable utilization of genetic resources. It is a critical component of the CBD and plays a vital role in protecting biodiversity and traditional knowledge. As the world continues to face environmental challenges, ABS provides a necessary framework for the sustainable management of genetic resources.