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
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.