Cross Cutting Issues
Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing

Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their utilization

The Convention on Biological Diversity recognises the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention therefore have the authority to determine physical access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties also have the obligation to take appropriate measures with the aim of sharing the benefits derived from their use. This is one of the three fundamental objectives of the Convention.

Genetic resources whether from plant, animal or micro-organisms may be used for different purposes (e.g. basic research, commercialisation of products). Users of genetic resources may include research institutes, universities and private companies operating in various sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture, horticulture and biotechnology.

Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on genetic resources, the transfer of technologies which make use of those resources, participation in biotechnological research activities, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialisation of products based on genetic resources. One example of monetary benefits could be the sharing of royalties arising from patented products based on genetic resources.

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