The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing: What is New and What are the Implications for Provider and User Countries and the Scientific Community?


Evanson Chege Kamau
Senior Research Fellow,
Research Centre for European Environmental Law (FEU),
University of Bremen, Faculty of Law, Universitätsallee GW1,
D-28359 Bremen, Germany

Bevis Fedder
PhD candidate, FEU, University of Bremen

Gerd Winter
Professor of public law, Co-director of FEU, University of Bremen


In culmination of the efforts by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) to adopt an international regime to regulate access and benefit sharing, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted at the COP 10 in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, on 29 October 2010. The preceding negotiations aimed to produce a legal tool or regime that would oblige the parties to the Convention as well as resolve the long-standing stalemate between providers and users of genetic resources and traditional knowledge. The entire process leading to the adoption of the Protocol was marked with contention. Many issues remained unresolved until the last minute, when in night-long sessions a bargain was struck between provider and user states. The resulting text therefore abandons many legitimate issues raised by provider states that still existed in the final text of the ICG (Informal Consultative Group) as handed over to the Plenary for adoption. What is new in the Protocol? Who got what? In its current status, is the Protocol able to resolve the stalemate? Should parties adopt it and what are the stakes? This article gives an evaluation of the outcome of the negotiations based on these and other questions and assesses which implications this might have on provider and user states and the scientific community.


ABS Nagoya Protocol, access and benefit sharing, Convention on Biological Diversity, genetic resources, provider states, traditional knowledge, user states.             LEAD Journal - ISSN 1746-5893