Intellectual Property

Encouraging ABS Agreements and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources

  • 11 December 2018
Encouraging ABS Agreements and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources

Encouraging ABS Agreements and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources

Encouraging ABS Agreements and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources

The three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) —conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the utilisation of genetic resources—are mutually supportive.

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Their attainment requires the collaboration of all actors in the conservation and use of genetic resources.

The third objective is no exception. To give it effect and to fulfil its important role in encouraging conservation and sustainable use, practical and workable access and benefit-sharing frameworks and a collaborative working relationship between government and business and other users is essential.

By working together to build an environment that supports innovation and the creation of societal and other benefits which can then be shared, governments, business and other stakeholders will be able to contribute more effectively to the goals of the CBD and to the UN SDGs.

To help advance such collaboration, ICC has developed this booklet to promote a better understanding of what is required to build practical and workable access and benefit sharing (ABS) frameworks that would encourage and support ABS partnerships and sourcing by businesses.

The publication addresses the following themes:


Governments and users share a common aim: to create benefits from the sustainable use of genetic resources while ensuring their conservation.

Such benefits—whether in kind, monetary, or societal—are generated through innovation using genetic resources. A proactive approach to encourage and facilitate sourcing and partnerships will help support the innovation necessary to create benefits to be shared.

Innovation requires research and development—a form of sustainable use of biodiversity which may lead to the creation of new knowledge, technologies, products and services. These outcomes can contribute to all three objectives of the CBD as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Promoting conservation and building local capacity through other measures and collaborations within the ABS framework is also important to achieving the CBD’s aims. Countries can move up the value chain by developing local expertise and skills that can help unlock the potential and value of genetic resources.

To achieve agreements that are mutually beneficial and workable, expectations and requirements on both sides have to be realistic. To facilitate this, a better understanding of the constraints and needs of all parties should be developed.


Governments play an essential role in providing the appropriate framework and incentives for innovation utilising genetic resources, while businesses provide the necessary investment and expertise and bear the risks and costs of research and development.

By working together, governments and business users can help support innovation and the creation of societal and other benefits that can then be shared.

Opportunities for the building of local capacity and incentivising conservation can also be created during the sourcing and research and development process through a proactive approach and supportive measures.

ICC hopes that these insights into the characteristics of practical and workable ABS regimes that enable sourcing and innovation with genetic resources will help businesses and governments to collaborate more effectively to incentivise conservation and promote the innovation and benefit creation necessary to achieve the aims of the CBD and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.