Benefit Sharing in ABS: Options and Elaborations

Subramanian, Suneetha M. and Pisupati, Balakrishna (2009). Benefit Sharing in ABS: Options and Elaborations. United Nations University.

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  • Author Subramanian, Suneetha M.
    Pisupati, Balakrishna
    Title Benefit Sharing in ABS: Options and Elaborations
    Publication Date 2009-07-25
    Place of Publication Yokohama
    Publisher United Nations University
    Pages 30
    Language eng
    Abstract The third objective of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) to ensure “the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources...” has taken centre stage now with negotiations in full swing to develop an international regime on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) by the year 2010. While some progress has been achieved on negotiations related to access regulations, discussions on benefit sharing are still evolving. The provisions of the CBD and its Bonn Guidelines on ABS (Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilization) provide direction to the measures that countries may implement to achieve fair and equitable sharing of benefits among the different stakeholders. Other international instruments, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGR) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) through its Inter-Governmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), also address issues related to the implementation of benefit sharing measures. Despite developments in deliberations on benefit sharing in such fora, countries are found to be cautious to implement measures related to benefit sharing. Based on the experiences of implementing provisions of the international instruments and national measures, an attempt has been made to assess and analyse the issues related to benefit sharing, the entry points for discussions on the issues and the possible considerations that national implementing authorities should make before deciding on benefit sharing principles and policies. The principles are discussed under five topics in the order of a typical scheme in a bio-prospecting exercise: (i) Defining ownership over resources and related knowledge; (ii) By-products/Derivatives; (iii) Benefit sharing; (iv) Third Party Transfer of research results; and (v) Intellectual Property concerns. Issues that need to be considered under each context in addition to distinct and suitable examples have been quoted highlighting potential scenarios that national implementing agencies will be faced with. This therefore provides a framework for nations to assess their options of dealing with such issues. It is also important to account for and reflect on the differences in benefits, costs and approaches to benefit sharing between various prominent sectors that use biological resources for their research and development ventures such as pharmaceuticals, botanicals/nutraceuticals, food and agriculture, natural personal care and cosmetic products as well as academia. As such, any particular scenario related to ABS is specific to sectors, locations, scales and policies, which highlights the need for an integrated approach by stakeholders at various levels to ensure effective implementation of ABS provisions. This requires the active participation of experts from multiple disciplines and different ministries at the national level to devise comprehensive policies and administrative procedures. It also necessitates appropriate and sufficient support from global mechanisms to implement the provisions of the Bonn Guidelines while strengthening efforts to adopt and implement an international regime on ABS.
    Copyright Holder United Nations University
    Copyright Year 2009
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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