The implementation of the Nagoya ABS Protocol for the research sector: experience and challenges

Gurdial Singh Nijar, Sélim Louafi, Eric W. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Over the years, researchers in public institutions and universities have accessed genetic materials from a variety of sources, freely exchanged them with fellow researchers and institutions and shared their research results with foreign and local collaborators. The 2010 Nagoya Protocol regulating access to genetic resources is set to change this scenario. This treaty requires country parties to put in place enhanced ABS measures regulating access to their genetic resources and to provide for the sharing of benefits arising from their utilization. These measures include minimum access standards, mandatory prior informed consent of indigenous and local communities, compliance with the domestic laws or requirements of the provider country and monitoring the utilization of genetic resources. This is aimed at commercial research. Non-commercial public research which contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is encouraged, particularly in developing countries, through simplified measures. There are undoubtedly practical challenges in operationalizing this provision without impeding research in the sector most potentially affected by ABS measures. This article presents the results of a survey of the practices of such researchers in one developing country, namely Malaysia. It examines the potential implications for the national implementation of the Protocol. Given country specificities, this study highlights and shows the importance of increasing knowledge about existing practices for an efficient design and implementation by developing countries of a complex legislation such as the Nagoya ABS Protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-621
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
  • Convention on biological diversity (CBD)
  • Genetic resources
  • Malaysia
  • Nagoya Protocol
  • Researchers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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