The Nagoya Protocol

What is the Nagoya Protocol?

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.



A summary of information about the Nagoya protocol (ABS) from the website is below. For further information on compliance responsibility, guidance on how to comply and other resources please click here.


The Nagoya Protocol entered into force in October 2014 and acknowledges that benefits derived by users of genetic resources should be shared with those who provide them, with the ultimate goal being the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Those conducting research and development, users of genetic resources, are required to exercise due diligence to demonstrate that genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge (aTK) are accessed and used in accordance with applicable legislation of the providing country.


Scope of the legislation

A genetic resource is any plant, animal, microbial or material of other origin which contains functional units of heredity and is of actual or potential value. The regulations apply when research and development is conducted on genetic resources and / or aTK.

A variety of sectors conduct activities that are in scope of the regulations in the UK, which apply to both commercial and non-commercial research. Those sectors include:

  • animal breeding
  • bio-control
  • biotechnology
  • pharmaceutical
  • plant breeding
  • research institutions
  • collections
  • cosmetic and personal care
  • food and feed

Human genetic resources are not covered by the Nagoya Protocol.


Further Information

Guidance on compliance measures for users (European Commission)

Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (ABSCH)

Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (Convention on Biological Diversity)


Regulations in force in the UK

Nagoya Protocol (Compliance) Regulations 2015

Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014: compliance measure for users

Regulation (EU) 2015/1866: register of collections, monitoring user compliance and best practices