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ABS Project

ABS –assessing challenges and opportunities for benefit sharing from non-commercial research

Objectives.  There are two main objectives:  One is to highlight concrete benefits derived from basic (non-commercial) research of projects funded by DFG, in biodiversity rich countries (mainly the Andean-Amazonian region) and the constraints and interests of basic research in different scientific communities that are affected by ABS regulations. This should help to identify factors inhibiting facilitated access and promote properly simplified measures for basic research. The second objective is to support the DFG Senate Commission on Biodiversity Research in promoting the interests of basic research in the further development and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. 


ABS, Access and Benefit Sharing (access to genetic resources and sharing of the benefits derived from their utilization), is the third and most innovative objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), one of the Rio conventions adopted in 1992. The idea was to give property rights to the owners of valuable genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, thus allowing biodiversity rich countries to reap benefits from biodiversity, which in turn would result in an own interest of these countries in conserving it.

Preliminary ABS-regulations failed to attain these goals and instead, in several cases, restricted basic natural science. Though basic (non-commercial) research does not lead to monetary benefits, non monetary benefits such as capacity – building or technology transfer, may, in turn, be valuable contributions and help better in protecting biodiversity in the countries of origin. This is true for example for results from taxonomy and systematics, population biology, ecology, functional ecology, biogeography, conservation biology, biological control, pharmaceutical biology or traditional knowledge..

In 2010, the Biodiversity Convention adopted the Nagoya Protocol, to put in place the mechanisms to implement ABS worldwide. In addressing specifically non-commercial research, the NP stated that countries should (a) Create conditions to promote and encourage research which contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, particularly in developing countries, including through simplified measures on access for non-commercial research…”.

In view of the difficult demarcation of basic and commercial research it is a challenge to find proper elements of simplified measures. Building trust and ensuring recognition of benefits from research collaborations will be decisive for identifying a roadmap towards facilitated access for both, provider countries and German researchers, therefore facilitating the access of basic science to genetic resources.
The support to the German Research Foundation (DFG) will primarily come through promoting the interests of basic research on the German, EU and international level, in the ABS-regulations as well as the ideas of ABS in the scientific community in close cooperation with the DFG Senate Commission on Biodiversity Research.

Start Date: August 2012 End Date: July 2015
Duration: 36 months Status: in progress
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller
Cooperations: Commission for Biodiversity Research to the Senate of the DFG (SKBDF)
Contact Person: Dr. Lily Rodriguez




Last Updated: Friday, December 02, 2016