Regulating access to genetic resources

The Convention on Biological Diversity affirms the sovereign right of nations to regulate ac-cess to genetic resources, and many countries are now beginning to develop legislation and regulations to put that right into practice. Genetic resource 'source' countries face a number of common issues in developing access regulation laws and policies:

  1. Countries must establish the rules by which those seeking to collect genetic resources may do so, including provisions governing where, when and how collection may be carried out, information that must be provided by the collector, steps that must be taken to obtain the informed consent of local communities in collection areas, and the like.
  2. Countries must establish regulations on benefit sharing and technology co-operation which at least specify minimum requirements in these areas. Regulations in these two areas might be very specific - spelling out mandatory royalty percentages, for example - or they might only set minimum standards, leaving parties to negotiate individual contracts within certain legislative limits. In either case, however, governments must establish or designate the institution that will serve as the regulatory authority, and develop its rules of procedure.