, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 199–218 | Cite as

Do new Access and Benefit Sharing procedures under the Convention on Biological Diversity threaten the future of biological control?

  • Matthew J. W. CockEmail author
  • Joop C. van Lenteren
  • Jacques Brodeur
  • Barbara I. P. Barratt
  • Franz Bigler
  • Karel Bolckmans
  • Fernando L. Cônsoli
  • Fabian Haas
  • Peter G. Mason
  • José Roberto P. Parra
Forum Paper


Under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) countries have sovereign rights over their genetic resources. Agreements governing the access to these resources and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use need to be established between involved parties [i.e. Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)]. This also applies to species collected for potential use in biological control. Recent applications of CBD principles have already made it difficult or impossible to collect and export natural enemies for biological control research in several countries. If such an approach is widely applied it would impede this very successful and environmentally safe pest management method based on the use of biological diversity. The CBD is required to agree a comprehensive Access and Benefit Sharing process in 2010, in preparation for which the IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants) Global Commission on Biological Control and Access and Benefit Sharing has prepared this position paper. Here, we first describe the practice of biological control in relation to the principles of ABS, illustrated extensively by case studies and successes obtained with biological control. Next, we emphasise the very limited monetary benefits generated in biological control when compared to other fields of ABS such as the collection of germplasm for development of human drugs, chemical pesticides or crop cultivars. Subsequently, we inform the biological control community of good ABS practice and challenges, and we hope to make clear to the community involved in ABS under the CBD the special situation with regard to biological control. Finally, based on the non-commercial academic research model, we make recommendations which would facilitate the practice of collection and exchange of biological control agents, propose a workable framework to assist policy makers and biological control practitioners, and urge biological control leaders in each country to get involved in the discussions with their national ABS contact point to take their needs into consideration.


Biological control Access and Benefit Sharing Convention on Biological Diversity History Monetary Non-monetary Genetic resources, biological control agent 



Augmentative biological control


Access and Benefit Sharing


Biological control


Biological control agent


Classical biological control


Convention on Biological Diversity


Conference of Parties


International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants



The authors would like to thank the following for their inputs, while noting that the use to which the information has been put in the report is the responsibility of the authors: Mic Julien, Bill Palmer and Ben Phillips (Australia), Antoni Bellotti (Colombia), Ding Jianqing (China), Phyllis G. Weintraub (Israel), Alvaro Toledo and Kim-Anh Tempelman (Italy), Johannette Klapwijk, Markus Knapp and Antoon J.M. Loomans (The Netherlands), Simon Fowler, Richard Hill and Hine-wai Loose (New Zealand), Josep Jacas and Alberto Urbaneja (Spain), Rebecca Murphy and Rob Tanner (UK), Robert H. Cowie and Lincoln Smith (USA), Marco d’Alessandro, Esther Gerber, Gitta Grosskopf, Patrick Häfliger, Tim Haye and Urs Schaffner (Switzerland), and the many other friends and colleagues around the world who have shared their views and given advice. The report to FAO from which this paper was developed was prepared with financial support from FAO and in-kind support from CABI and IOBC.

Supplementary material

10526_2009_9234_MOESM1_ESM.doc (622 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 623 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. W. Cock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joop C. van Lenteren
    • 2
  • Jacques Brodeur
    • 3
  • Barbara I. P. Barratt
    • 4
  • Franz Bigler
    • 5
  • Karel Bolckmans
    • 6
  • Fernando L. Cônsoli
    • 7
  • Fabian Haas
    • 8
  • Peter G. Mason
    • 9
  • José Roberto P. Parra
    • 7
  1. 1.CABI Europe-SwitzerlandDelémontSwitzerland
  2. 2.Laboratory of EntomologyWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institut de recherche en biologie végétaleUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.AgResearch LimitedInvermay Agricultural CentreMosgielNew Zealand
  5. 5.Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ARTZurichSwitzerland
  6. 6.Koppert B.V.Berkel en RodenrijsThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Departamento de Entomologia e AcarologiaESALQ/USPPiracicabaBrazil
  8. 8.IcipeNairobiKenya
  9. 9.Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaOttawaCanada

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