Benefit-sharing at the heart of the Nagoya Protocol debate
The debate was wide-ranging, but the sharing of benefits from genetic resources of biodiversity was the most prominent item, on August 13th, in the webinar “The Ratification of the Nagoya Protocol”, which brought together professor Bráulio Dias, from the University of Brasília ( UNB), and Ana Paula Viana, Natura’s Regulatory Area Manager, at the event organized by ABPI’s Technology Transfer and Franchising and Biotechnology Study Committees, moderated by coordinators Luiz Ricardo Marinello and Alex Gonçalves de Almeida.
In force since the end of 2014, today with the accession of 126 countries, the Protocol is a multilateral agreement accessory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, elaborated during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Eco-92). The National Congress recently approved Brazil’s ratification of the Protocol, which is now pending presidential sanction.
In his presentation, Professor Dias noted that, in comparison with more than a hundred existing international agreements related to biodiversity, the sharing of benefits was the great novelty brought by the Nagoya Protocol. For him, given that the Protocol recognizes the sovereignty of countries over their natural and genetic resources, national legislation should, therefore, prevail concerning the sharing of benefits. He also claimed that, even so, there is the possibility of legal questioning, involving, for example, the issue of ownership. Dias noticed that about half of Brazilian biodiversity and even traditional knowledge borders other countries. “Eventually, a neighboring country can claim its rights and companies must prepare for it”.
According to Viana, companies ought to look at the sharing of benefits not as a problem, but as an opportunity to make sustainable use of this system, always bearing conservation in mind. She explained that, in Natura’s case, with a presence in more than a hundred countries, the exploitation of biodiversity shall be linked to compliance with the rules of the Nagoya Protocol. “We are going to look at these countries strategically to define which biodiversity assets we are going to research”, she clarified. “Countries with more mature environmental commitments will be able to participate in the company’s strategy for the development of ingredients, that is, the legal framework might indicate what the company is going to choose to manufacture its product”.
Watch the full webinar on ABPI’s Channel on Youtube.