Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and its flaws


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBD, Nagoya Protocol

Mains level: Threats of ABS

A special instrument for access to crop genetic resources, i.e. Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) system, is fraught with challenges.

What is ABS?

  • The Nagoya Protocol sought to ensure commercial and research utilization of genetic resources led to sharing its benefits with the government and the community that conserved such resources.
  • The Nagoya Protocol deals with Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • It is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • It sets out obligations for its contracting parties to take measures in relation to access to genetic resources, benefit-sharing and compliance.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Which one the following is associated with the issue of control and phasing out of the use of ozone-depleting substances?

(a) Bretton Woods Conference

(b) Montreal Protocol

(c) Kyoto Protocol

(d) Nagoya Protocol

A deviation from its purpose

  • The CBD was created with wild biodiversity in mind, especially medicinal plants where the source of a particular genetic resource and associated traditional knowledge can often be established easily.
  • The situation is different with respect to genetic resources for food and agriculture, including crops and livestock.
  • Humans have modified these in an incremental manner and in many different geographical locations far from where they were originally domesticated.

India at loss

  • India was a victim of misappropriation or bio-piracy of our genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, which were patented in other countries.
  • Well-known examples of this include neem and turmeric. It was expected that the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, a key missing pillar of the CBD, would address this concern.

Threats to livestocks

  • Animal genetic resources composed of breeds and strains of domesticated animals that humans have developed out of 40 wild species in the past 10,000 years were placed under the purview of the Nagoya Protocol.
  • India is a key repository of genetic resources related to animals and holds a rich diversity of distinct livestock breeds. It is, therefore, essential that these breeds are protected.
  • The impending and on-going implementation of the Nagoya Protocol at national levels, therefore, creates some urgency for the animal genetic resource sector to engage with these questions.

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