Signing a contract

International instruments

Access and Benefit-Sharing are governed by three important international agreements.

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)
  • The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization (Nagoya Protocol) under the CBD.

EU Regulation 511/2014 on compliance measures is of particular relevance to users in the European Union. This regulation applies to all use of genetic resources in the EU, and lists obligations on users of genetic resources in the EU.

CBD, ITPGRFA and Nagoya Protocol

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into force in December 1993. Its objectives are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources. To further advance the implementation of the third objective of the CBD, benefit-sharing, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002) called for the negotiation of an international regime, within the framework of the Convention, to promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilisation of genetic resources. The ITPGRFA (in force since June 2004), the CBD and its Bonn Guidelines (adopted in April 2002), and the Nagoya Protocol (in force since October 2014) form part of this international regime on Access & Benefit-Sharing (ABS). New instruments may extend the international regime in future.

EU Regulation on the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol

In May 2014 the European Union Regulation 511/2014 to implement the Nagoya Protocol in the EU and to enable EU-wide ratification of the Nagoya Protocol came into force. This Regulation is applicable from 12 October 2014, when the Nagoya Protocol entered into force. It applies to all use of genetic resources in the EU, and lists obligations on users of genetic resources in the EU.