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HTML Document Existing instruments, guidelines, codes of conduct and tools addressing ABS

Different types of genetic resources (e.g.: animal, plant, microorganisms) are used by different types of users (e.g.: botanic gardens, academic researchers, private companies) for different purposes (research, commercialization) in a variety of sectors (e.g.: agriculture, pharmaceutical, horticultural, cosmetics, biotechnology). The following provides an overview of instruments, guidelines, codes of conducts, policies and other tools developed for different types of users of genetic resources to assist with the implementation of the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the Convention by responding to the particular needs of their constituents.

Release date 31/05/2012
Geographical coverage Global,
Keywords Access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing, genetic resources,

Agricultural sector

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is an international agreement with the overall goal of supporting sustainable agriculture and global food security. The Treaty, which entered into force in 2004, allows governments, farmers, research institutes and agro-industries to work together by pooling their genetic resources and sharing the benefits derived from their use. Facilitated access is granted for the first time at the international level through its Multilateral System and its Standard Material Transfer Agreement to 35 food crops as well as 29 genera forages listed in the Treaty. The fair sharing of benefits arising from the use of these resources is also granted in a multilateral way thanks to the Funding Strategy and the financing of small scale projects, particularly in developing countries.

International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer The International Code of Conduct for Plant Germplasm Collecting and Transfer aims to promote the rational collection and sustainable use of genetic resources, to prevent genetic erosion, and to protect the interests of both donors and collectors of germplasm. Among other elements, it sets out minimum responsibilities of collectors, sponsors, curators and users of collected germplasm, in the collection and transfer of plant germplasm. The Code is addressed primarily to governments and is to be implemented in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity and other legal instruments protecting biological diversity or parts of it. The Code, a voluntary one, was adopted by the FAO Conference in 1993, and negotiated through what is now the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which also has the responsability to oversee its implementation and review.

Botanic gardens

Online resource for access and benefit sharing between botanic gardens around the world The site has been developed in conjunction with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN) and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). It contains among others information on how to develop an ABS policy, features the Principles on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing for Participating Institutions developed by a number of botanic gardens and herbaria, as well as some case studies.

Principles on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing 28 botanic gardens and herbaria from 21 countries developed a common approach on access and benefit-sharing that includes Principles on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing for Participating Institutions; Common Policy Guidelines; and an explanatory text. The Principles promote the sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources acquired prior to the entry into force of the Convention, in the same manner as for those acquired thereafter.

International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN) and its Code of Conduct for botanic gardens governing the acquisition, maintenance and supply of living plant material The IPEN was established by European botanic gardens in order to comply with the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the CBD. It covers the noncommercial exchange of plant material between botanic gardens. Botanic gardens that want to join the network must adopt the IPEN Code of Conduct and use its common existing-instruments-guidelines-codes-of-conduct-and-tools-addressing-absuments for plant material transfer. It covers acquisition, maintenance and supply of living plant material by the gardens as well as benefit-sharing.

Micro-organisms culture collections

Micro-organisms Sustainable Use and Access Regulation International Code of Conduct (MOSAICC) With respect to microbial genetic resources, the MOSAICC was developed by the Belgian Coordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM) in 1997, with the support of the European Commission. It is a voluntary code of conduct which covers the terms of access to microbial genetic resources, including the terms of agreement on benefit-sharing, access to and transfer of technology, scientific and technical cooperation as well as technology transfer.

Academic research community

German Research Foundation - Guidelines for Funding Proposals Concerning Research Projects within the Scope of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) The Guidelines for funding proposals concerning reasearch projects within the scope of the CBD were drafted by the ABS-Working Group of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). These guidelines aim to enable scientists to comply with the principles of the CBD when designing research projects in order to avoid problems later during implementation, as well as to promote transparency and trust. Since 2008, adherence to these guidelines is a prerequisite for DFG funding.

Access and Benefit-sharing – Good Practice for academic research on genetic resources In 2006, the Swiss Academy of Sciences published a brochure to create awareness among the academic research community to the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the CBD entitled "Access and Benefit-sharing - Good Practice for academic research on genetic resources". The brochure contains information on the ABS system, case studies and step-by step procedures. The brochure is available in English, French and Spanish. It can be downloaded at the ABS website of the Swiss Academy of Science. The site also offers checklists, and updates on current international policy developments.

CETAF, the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities, is a networked consortium of non-commercial scientific institutions in Europe formed to promote training, research and understanding of systematic biology and palaeobiology. Together, CETAF institutions hold very substantial biological (zoological and botanical), palaeobiological, and geological collections and provide the resource for the work of thousands of researchers in a variety of scientific disciplines.

As a response to Article 20 in the Nagoya Protocol, and Articles 8 and 13 of the European Regulation on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation in the Union CETAF has developed and adopted a Code of Conduct for Access and Benefit-Sharing, together with the annexed Best Practice. Also annexed is a ‘Statement of Use of Biological Material’ to provide clarity on how CETAF members use and treat samples of biological material.

Professional societies or organizations

A number of professional research societies in fields such as anthropology, ethnobiology, pharmacognosy and ecology have developed existing-instruments-guidelines-codes-of-conduct-and-tools-addressing-absuments to articulate ethical values embedded in research and set standards for best practice. These existing-instruments-guidelines-codes-of-conduct-and-tools-addressing-absuments are variously referred to as codes of ethics, voluntary codes, codes of practice, statements on ethics, guidelines and research protocols. Elements of these codes of ethics and research guidelines generally address, inter alia, prior informed consent, research behaviour including benefit-sharing and the publication and distribution of data. Examples of these include: Society of Economic Botany (SEB): Guidelines of Professional Ethics International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE): Code of Ethics Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA): Ethical and Professional Responsibilities

Private sector

Guidelines for BIO Members Engaging in Bioprospecting These guidelines are a set of general principles and practices that BIO believes are appropriate to follow when an entity engages in bioprospecting activities. They identify certain "best practices" that can be followed by companies that elect to engage in these activities. They also direct BIO members to identify any applicable requirements to follow in any specific jurisdiction in which they engage in bioprospecting. Also see BIO's Model MTA

Guidelines for International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Association (IFPMA) Members on Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising out of their Utilization The IFPMA is a non-profit, non-governmental organization representing national industry associations and research-based pharmaceutical, biotech and vaccine companies from both developed and developing countries. Its Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising out of their Utilization lists certain “best practices” to be followed by companies engaging in the acquisition and use of genetic resources.

Other tools applicable across sectors

ABS Management Tool (ABS-MT) The ABS-MT is a best practice standard and a handbook that provides guidance and tools on ABS practice to help companies, researchers, local and indigenous communities, and governments ensure compliance with the Bonn Guidelines and ABS requirements under the CBD. It provides users and providers of genetic resources with a structured process for participating in – and making decisions about – ABS negotiations and the implementation of ABS agreements for access to and agreed use of genetic resources.

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