Published: 20 May 2022  (Updated: 20 May 2022)

Defra Guidance on the Application of the ABS Regulations

On 17 May 2022 the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), published updated guidance from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) on the provisions and implementation of the UK’s Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulations.

The UK previously had to comply with the European Union’s Regulation on Access to Genetic Resources (ABS Regulation) which applies to products placed on the EU market which contain genetic resources and/or are based on traditional knowledge associated with the genetic resources.  This Regulation implements the Nagoya Protocol.

The Nagoya Protocol provides a framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.  It recognises that benefits derived by users of genetic resources should be shared with those who provide them, with the ultimate objective being the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.  Each Party to the Nagoya Protocol is required to implement National legislation.

The Nagoya Protocol (ABS) Regulations 2015 is the UK Statutory Instrument which puts in place enforcement measures within the UK to implement the EU ABS Regulation.  These designate the Competent Authority in the UK and establish penalties for non-compliance.  Defra is the UK Competent Authority providing on the ground enforcement.

The Defra guidance breaks down the regulation and provides information on best practice including:

  • scope of the ABS;
  • user obligations;
  • sector specific issues; and
  • additional advice to stakeholders to aid compliance

Find the guidance and more information on the UK ABS Regulation here.

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