The implementation of the Nagoya ABS Protocol for the research sector: experience and challenges

  • Gurdial Singh NijarEmail author
  • Sélim Louafi
  • Eric W. Welch
Original Paper


Over the years, researchers in public institutions and universities have accessed genetic materials from a variety of sources, freely exchanged them with fellow researchers and institutions and shared their research results with foreign and local collaborators. The 2010 Nagoya Protocol regulating access to genetic resources is set to change this scenario. This treaty requires country parties to put in place enhanced ABS measures regulating access to their genetic resources and to provide for the sharing of benefits arising from their utilization. These measures include minimum access standards, mandatory prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities, compliance with the domestic laws or requirements of the provider country and monitoring the utilization of genetic resources. This is aimed at commercial research. Non-commercial public research which contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is encouraged, particularly in developing countries, through simplified measures. There are undoubtedly practical challenges in operationalizing this provision without impeding research in the sector most potentially affected by ABS measures. This article presents the results of a survey of the practices of such researchers in one developing country, namely Malaysia. It examines the potential implications for the national implementation of the Protocol. Given country specificities, this study highlights and shows the importance of increasing knowledge about existing practices for an efficient design and implementation by developing countries of a complex legislation such as the Nagoya ABS Protocol.


Nagoya Protocol Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Convention on biological diversity (CBD) Genetic resources Malaysia Researchers 



Access and Benefit Sharing


Association of Southeast Asian Nations


Biological resources


Convention on biological diversity


Conference of the Parties


Forest Research Institute Malaysia


Genetic resources


Intellectual Property Rights


Malaysian Agricultural Research Institution


Material Transfer Agreement


Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization


Prior informed consent


Sarawak Biodiversity Centre


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity Law (CEBLAW), Law FacultyUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Centre International de Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)Montpellier Cedex 5France
  3. 3.Centre for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies (CSTEPS)PhoenixUSA

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