EU adopts regulations on biodiversity based R&D

European Parliament adopts new rules on access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits resulting from their use

The European Parliament has adopted new rules on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits resulting from their use (known as ABS) in the European Union.

“With the new EU rules, persons or organisations conducting biodiversity based research and development in the European Union – including companies from sectors such as plant breeding, cosmetics, food and beverage, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals – must ensure that the resources and any associated traditional knowledge utilised comply with applicable ABS rules in the provider country,” said María Julia Oliva, Senior Coordinator for Policy and Technical Support at the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT).

Companies involved in biodiversity based research and development will be required to seek, keep and transfer information such as the date and place of access of biological material, their source and any subsequent users and the relevance and compliance with any ABS requirements. When there are uncertainties around ABS compliance, UEBT explained, they must obtain relevant permits or discontinue utilisation. In turn, EU member states will establish different checkpoints for companies to declare compliance with due diligence requirements.

Companies