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Cabinet04-October, 2012 20:35 IST
Ratification of Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing by India

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

The Nagoya Protocol has been signed by 92 countries. Five countries have also ratified the Protocol. India signed the Nagoya Protocol on 11th May 2011. India is hosting the eleventh CoP to the CBD in October 2012 in Hyderabad. This gives us an opportunity to consolidate, scale up and showcase our strengths and initiatives on biodiversity before the world. As the incoming President of CoP-11, it is expected that India would ratify the protocol before CoP-11.

India is one of the identified megadiverse countries rich in biodiversity. With only 2.4 per cent of the earth's land area, India accounts for 7-8 per cent of the recorded species of the world. India 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, cosmetics etc. Much of the world's biodiversity is found in developing countries, and can thus contribute to their economic and social development,, and also create incentives for their conservation and sustainable use, thereby contributing to the creation of a fairer and more equitable economy to support sustainable development.

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.

India has been a victim of misappropriation or biopiracy of our genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, which have been patented in other countries (well known examples include neem and haldi). It is expected that the ABS Protocol which is a key missing pillar of the CBD, would address this concern.

The Nagoya Protocol would also contribute to the other two objectives of the CBD relating to conservation and sustainable use, since benefits accruing from utilization of genetic resources would act as incentive to biodiversity-rich countries and their local communities to conserve and sustainably use their biodiversity.

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SH/SKS   Cabinet Decision
(Release ID :88149)

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