Access to Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge and Sharing the Benefits arising from their Utilization (ABS)

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The regulations on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol (NP) concern all types of research – industrial as well as academic – that make use of genetic resources of plant, animal bacterial  or other origin and/or of traditional knowledge associated to these resources.

Therefore, as an academic scientist doing research with biological material from abroad, you may also be affected by Access and Benefit-sharing requirements. You are obliged to comply with domestic ABS regulations of the country (that is a Party to the CBD, NP) that provides the genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and of the Party where you take the material to be analysed, for instance Switzerland.

If legislation in the country providing the genetic resources is missing, researchers have an ethical responsibility to apply for access to the genetic resources and to share the benefits, as is the custom in Good Scientific Practice. 

Switzerland has ratified the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). Corresponding legislation is in place and applies also to academic research.

As an academic research institution you are responsible that your scientists comply with the ABS requirements.


The ABS website offers:

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An overview of Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing (ABS) and its implications for academic research
Libellule ABS

Good practice

The publication provides advice for scientists and research institutions in planning and executing research projects that include genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. It clarifies requirements of the Convention of Biological Diversity, its Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It also explains the Swiss regulations implementing the Nagoya Protocol.
Bourdon ABS 2016

Agreement toolbox

This manual contains a set of model clauses that enables users and providers of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge to set up a contract that is adapted to the individual academic research situation. If mutually negotiated and agreed upon by the involved partners it ca yield a "Mutually Agreed Terms" ABS contract


Swiss Forum Biodiversity
Laupenstrasse 7
3008 Bern | Switzerland

Tel +41 (0)31 306 93 41


Swiss legal documents (English, German, French, Italian)

Swiss Nagoya Protocol Website

Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing House (ABSCH)