Legal uncertainty, lack of clarity and administrative inaction are not a good recipe to facilitate sustainable biodiversity businesses. With the entering into force of the CBD Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, there is a new opportunity to improve the synergies for access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the context of BioTrade, and in turn contribute to legal certainty on this particularly important matter in regards to sustainable use of biodiversity. Though historically BioTrade has moved in the realm of sustainable biodiversity businesses, particularly with biological resources and certain ecosystem services, questions remain regarding when and how genetic resources become part of BioTrade and most importantly, whether ABS policy and legal frameworks are applicable or not.
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing is a new multilateral environmental agreement under the CBD, seeking to clarify definitions, issues of scope and coverage of ABS, and specific actions by user and provider countries of biodiversity resources. The rapid implementation of the Protocol within the European Union and Switzerland is placing considerable pressure on providing countries to adjust, develop and implement effective and efficient ABS frameworks at the national level to be consistent with the Protocol and also benefit from it.