Main Issue

The development of compounds from a particular tree species in the Malaysian rainforest may lead to a treatment for certain types of cancer. But who owns the trees? And who has the right to benefit from its genetic properties?

Through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and its accompanying Nagoya Protocol, the international community seeks to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

The GEF builds capacity of governments and other stakeholders to determine the access to genetic resources, and to ensure that the benefits arising from their utilization, are shared in a fair and equitable manner (ABS, for short). The genetic resources are contained within all organisms (plants, animals or microorganisms), and may be used for different purposes, including basic research and commercialization of products. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF supports national and regional implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and, if still required, targeted capacity building to facilitate ratification and entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol. As such, the GEF supports the following core activities to comply with the provisions of the protocol:

  1. Stocktaking and assessment. The GEF supports gap analysis of ABS provisions in existing policies, laws and regulations, stakeholder identification, user rights and intellectual property rights, and assessments of institutional capacity including research organizations.
  2. Development and implementation of a strategy and action plan for the implementation of ABS measures (e.g. policy, legal and regulatory frameworks governing ABS, National Focal Point, Competent National Authority, Institutional agreements, administrative procedures for Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT), monitoring of use of genetic resources, compliance with legislation and cooperation on trans-boundary issues).
  3. Building capacity among stakeholders (including Indigenous and local communities, especially women) to negotiate between providers and users of genetic resources. This may include institutional capacity building to carry out research and development (R&D) to add value to their own genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. 

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Since 2003, the GEF has invested more than US$60 million to build capacity of countries to implement activities in support of access and benefits sharing (ABS) from genetic resources. These funds have leveraged a further US$120 million from more than 100 countries.

Before the Nagoya Protocol was adopted, we helped 22 countries assess their capacity to implement ABS measures. Through national and regional projects, we also built the capacity of governments in 42 countries to meet their obligations under the convention, and to engage with stakeholders such as Indigenous Peoples.

With the protocol’s adoption in 2010, the GEF continued to invest in capacity building through multiple projects to accelerate ratification and to set up pilot agreements between providers and users of genetic resources. Read more+