Full house ICC conference elucidates new EU ABS Rules

  • 7 January 2015
ICC Piracy

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted a conference in Paris on 24-25 November which shed some light on the new European Union (EU) regulation regarding Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS).

Featuring a panel of high-level speakers representing government agencies and the private sector, the sold-out event was the occasion for executives and policymakers to discuss how the new regulation affects their daily operations and best practices for compliance.

The two-day conference brought together over 120 participants from 16 countries representing a wide variety of sectors including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, plant and animal breeding, collections and museums as well as representatives of government agencies. The first day of the event featured an overview of the new EU ABS regulation covering topics such as scope and due diligence requirements under national and international regimes. Discussion panels were led by representatives of the European Commission Alicja Kozlowska, Policy Officer – ABS, Global Sustainability, Trade and Multilateral Agreements, and Hugo-Maria Schally, lead EU negotiator for the Nagoya Protocol and Head of the Eco-Innovation and Circular Economy Unit, Directorate-General for Environment.

Ms Kozlowska said: “It is very important to get to know better the new EU regulation as it may affect any professional involved in the manufacturing, development and distribution of genetic resources. The conference was a unique opportunity to throw some light on the scope of the obligations flowing from the regulation, such as temporal application or types of genetic resources, which fall under the Nagoya Protocol, requirements and which actors are concerned by the rules.

It is very important to get to know better the new EU regulation as it may affect any professional involved in the manufacturing, development and distribution of genetic resources

Participants also learned more about how the utilization of genetic resources will be monitored and verified along the supply chain. It truly addressed professionals’ need for better training and greater guidance on the new regulation.”

The second day of the event featured a programme of technical workshops on the tools to facilitate compliance, as well as commercialization and transactions with customers and licensees inside and outside the EU. Afternoon sessions highlighted industry best practices with panelists who shared their sectorial challenges and shared their know-how with other companies in order to fully grasp how to best implement the new regulation.

Jasmina Muminovic Susic, Genebank curator, Monsanto, Spain shared her insights about how to manage public and private internal collections of plant or other genetic resources. She said: “The diversity of attendants’ profiles allowed for rich and interactive discussions from multi-sectorial perspectives. This conference was an excellent way to learn more about the rules as it featured some of the most respected ABS experts in Europe and sessions that combined theoretical and practical content. The conference also served as a great communication spot, where the critical need for guidance and further clarification of compliance measures was emphasized to the European Commission.”

Through its Commission on Intellectual Property, ICC actively contributes to discussions on the links between intellectual property, genetic resources and traditional knowledge in several forums including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization. The commission’s IP Roadmap and other initiatives help raise awareness of policy issues and of the contribution the intellectual property system makes to economic, social and cultural development.

ICC Commission on Intellectual Property

The ICC Intellectual Property Roadmap: Current and Emerging Issues for Business