New rules from EU Parliament

The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted new rules on access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits resulting from their utilization (also known as ABS) in the European Union. The European Parliament also granted its consent for the European Union to be legally bound by the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, an international agreement under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The decision constitutes the 30th ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, bringing it one step closer towards its expected entry into force in October 2014. The EU rules on ABS aims to monitor and support compliance with ABS requirements around the world. Laws and regulations in biodiversity rich countries such as Brazil, South Africa, and India already include requirements on how to access biological material for research and development and how to share the monetary and non-monetary benefits resulting from new information, innovations or products. In particular, EU rules on ABS establish due diligence requirements, applicable to research and development conducted on biological material accessed once the Nagoya Protocol enters in force. Companies involved in biodiversity-based research and development must seek, keep and transfer information such as on the date and place of access; their source and any subsequent users, and the relevance and compliance with any ABS requirements. When there are uncertainties around ABS compliance, they must obtain relevant permits or discontinue utilization. In turn, EU Member States will establish different checkpoints, including during final stages of product development, for companies to declare compliance with due diligence requirements.