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Cabinet approves ratification of Nagoya Protocol by India

Posted on Oct 05, 01:44PM | UNI

The Union Cabinet today approved the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing signed by India.

The Nagoya Protocol has been signed by 92 countries. Five countries have also ratified the Protocol. India signed the Nagoya Protocol on May 11, 2011. The country is hosting the eleventh CoP to the CBD in Hyderabad this month.

India is one of the identified mega diverse countries rich in biodiversity. With only 2.4 per cent of the earth's land area, it accounts for 7-8 per cent of the recorded species of the world.

It is also rich in associated traditional knowledge, which is both coded as in ancient texts of Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha, and also non-coded, as it exists in oral undocumented traditions.

The genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge can be used to develop a wide range of products and services for human benefit, such as medicines, agricultural practices, and cosmetics.

India is a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which is one of the agreements adopted during the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992.

One of the three objectives of the CBD relates to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and benefits resulting from their use shared by users with countries that provide them.

The CBD prescribes that access to genetic resources is subject to national legislation. Accordingly, India after extensive consultative process had enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD, including those relating to CBD.

However, in the near absence of user country measures, once the resource leaves the country providing the resources, there is no way to ensure compliance of ABS provisions in the country where it is used.

Towards this, a protocol on access and benefit sharing has been negotiated under the aegis of CBD, and adopted by the Tenth Conference of Parties (CoP-10) held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010.

India has participated actively and contributed meaningfully in the ABS negotiations which formally started about six years back.

The objective of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS is fair and equitable sharing of benefits, arising from the use of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.