Initiatives: Information


Access and benefit-sharing

Access and benefit-sharing (ABS) related to genetic resources is a vital part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The first concrete work to implement Article 15 of the CBD, entitled «Access to Genetic Resources», led to the adoption in 2002 of what are known as the Bonn Guidelines, a voluntary set of provisions to help countries implement the access and benefit-sharing sections of the CBD.

However, the guidelines are not easy to interpret or implement, particularly for non-State users and providers such as research organizations, private companies, communities and indigenous peoples' groups, who urgently need this help.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is now working with the Canadian group Stratos Inc. - Strategies to Sustainability - on an ABS Management Tool in a project supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The Tool offers a set of performance standards and process recommendations designed to help clarify good ABS practice and guide its implementation, particularly through prior informed consent. The project sets out to obtain structured feedback and self-testing of its tool by industry, indigenous peoples, governments, researchers and NGOs.

Information from Mark Halle, Director, Trade and Investment, IISD, Geneva