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No 082/11 | Berlin, 24.06.2011

Germany signs UN Protocol against Biopiracy

Yesterday in New York Germany signed the Nagoya Protocol. The Protocol supplements the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). For Germany this is the first important step towards implementing this new instrument of international law.

The Nagoya Protocol aims to bindingly regulate access to genetic resources worldwide. The focus is in particular on access to as yet undiscovered or untapped genetic resources such as still unknown medicinal plants from rain forest regions. The Nagoya Protocol will create an internationally reliable framework geared towards facilitating access to such resources for researchers, companies and other users.

At the same time the Protocol provides for fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of these resources between users and the counties of origin. For this purpose users and the countries of origin will mutually agree binding benefit sharing conditions for both sides, and thus prevent so-called biopiracy at the same time. This could mean profit sharing, sharing of research results or revenues from licenses. The Nagoya Protocol also provides for the protection of so-called traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources held by indigenous communities must only be accessed with the prior and informed consent or approval and involvement of these communities in benefit-sharing.

The Protocol is the result of years of international negotiations; it was adopted at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya (Japan) in October 2010. Germany was joined by other signatories - the EU and other EU member states. Signing constitutes the starting point of a complex implementation process including the transposition of the Protocol commitments into German or EU legislation. The Protocol will enter into force three months after it is ratified by fifty countries.

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