Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I look to find help with obtaining collecting permits?

National ABS Focal Points can be contacted for help with obtaining collecting permits. Focal points for each country can be found on the ABS Clearing-House, see these pages for more info.

Note that not all countries have a Focal Point in place, and that the Focal Points only have responsibility for providing information about ABS permits and agreements.

If you a consult a Focal Point, make sure to document the conversation and link this information to the specimen records within your data management system as permit information.

How should researchers deal with situations where there is no way to get a legal permit?

If you cannot get a proper permit, you should not engage in the activity. For some countries, obtaining a written communication is almost impossible. It is recommended that researchers look to the Focal Points listed in the ABS Clearing-House for guidance. If you cannot find a contact in the ABS Clearing-House, then contact the ABS Clearing-House directly.

Make records of your attempts to get a permit. It may be helpful to the overall permitting process and function of a country’s clearing house to have feedback about the challenges of gaining permits and other aspects of compliance.

How do I get PIC and MAT for biodiversity inventories (where I don’t know in advance what species will be sampled)?

Each country develops PIC and MAT based on their unique laws and regulations. As a result, PIC and MAT for biodiversity inventories must be negotiated with the provider country. We recommend the National Focal Point as the best place to start with this request. This also applies to permitting.

Does benefit sharing apply only where there is a move to commercialize a genetic resource collected under a permit?

No. Benefit-sharing includes non-monetary benefits and can be a significant element of non-commercial agreements. The Nagoya Protocol has an annex with a list of possible monetary and non-monetary benefits, which might be listed in a MAT.

What are the possible ‘benefits’ to be shared  in an ABS procedure?

The monetary and non-monetary benefits, as outlined by the Annex of the Nagoya Protocol:

Monetary benefits may include, but not be limited to:

(a) Access fees/fee per sample collected or otherwise acquired;

(b) Up-front payments;

(c) Milestone payments;

(d) Payment of royalties;

(e) License fees in case of commercialization;

(f) Special fees to be paid to trust funds supporting conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;

(g) Salaries and preferential terms where mutually agreed;

(h) Research funding;

(i) Joint ventures;

(j) Joint ownership of relevant intellectual property rights.

Non-monetary benefits may include, but not be limited to:

(a) Sharing of research and development results;

(b) Collaboration, cooperation and contribution in scientific research and development programs, particularly biotechnological research activities, in the Party providing genetic resources;

(c) Participation in product development;

(d) Collaboration, cooperation and contribution in education and training;

(e) Admittance to ex situ facilities of genetic resources and databases;

(f) Transfer to the provider of the genetic resources of knowledge and technology under fair and most favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms where agreed, in particular, knowledge and technology that make use of genetic resources, including biotechnology, or that are relevant to the conservation and sustainable utilization of biological diversity;

(g) Strengthening capacities for technology transfer;

(h) Institutional capacity-building;

(i) Human and material resources to strengthen the capacities for the administration and enforcement of access regulations;

(j) Training related to genetic resources with the full participation of countries providing genetic resources, and where possible, in such countries;

(k) Access to scientific information relevant to conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, including biological inventories and taxonomic studies;

(l) Contributions to the local economy;

(m) Research directed towards priority needs, such as health and food security, taking into account domestic uses of genetic resources in the Party providing genetic resources;

(n) Institutional and professional relationships that can arise from an access and benefit- sharing agreement and subsequent collaborative activities;

(o) Food and livelihood security benefits;

(p) Social recognition;

(q) Joint ownership of relevant intellectual property rights.

Where can I find the answers to more FAQ?

Please contact VLIR (Filip Colson) directly, and we may add your question to this list.

Another great starting point may be the extensive FAQ available on the website of Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.