The Nagoya Protocol and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

Wellcome Sanger Institute Approach

The Wellcome Sanger Institute ensures that the use of genetic resources undertaken as part of research on site is carried out in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol and applicable Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations, through the Research Governance office within the Legal, Research Governance and Policy team.

Please contact for both internal and external queries.

The Nagoya Protocol and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

Avenue at Wikimedia Commons
Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for the effective implementation of its third objective to enable the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources – it works to enforce compliance to the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations of its member states, and raise awareness to those in place within those who are not.

The Nagoya Protocol entered into force on 12th October 2014, was adopted by European legislation through ‘Regulation (EU) No 511/2014’ and was subsequently implemented into UK law though the Statutory Instrument ‘The Nagoya Protocol (Compliance) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018‘ and associated guiding ‘Commission Notice’. Within the UK, the Protocol is enforced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and regulated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The Protocol ensures a global, legal framework for access to, and subsequent utilisation of, non-human genetic resources for research (and development purposes) from its Parties. It also obliges the monitoring of this use, and the compliance of users, within each country.

Wellcome Sanger Institute - Compliance and 'Best Practice'

Employees and associated staff of the Wellcome Sanger Institute commit to, and comply with the following best practice guidelines on working within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol and global Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations:

  • Abide by, and comply with, international and national laws and regulations relating to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
  • If genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge is obtained from indigenous and local communities, to strive to ensure that the position of these communities is reflected in the Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT)
  • Acquire genetic resources under written agreements in the form of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) where applicable, provide full and clear explanations of the purpose and way in which the genetic resource will be utilised to the best of our knowledge at the time of acquisition, and to record all documentation for a minimum of 20 years
  • Utilise the genetic resource only according to the terms and conditions set out in the associated permitting documentation
  • Transfer genetic resources in compliance with the terms under which those resources were acquired only, and with copies of all relevant documentation
  • Honour all agreements entered into with the provider countries

Use of Overseas Genetic Resources - Nagoya Protocol. Image credits: James Gathany/CDC PHIL, Toby Hudson/Wikimedia Commons, and Dave Goulding/Wellcome Sanger Institute



Catherine McCarthy, Compliance Officer - Nagoya Protocol, at the Sanger InstituteCompliance Enquiries

Catherine McCarthy, Compliance Manager


Hayley Clissold, Policy Manager, Sanger InstituteDSI Enquiries

Hayley Clissold, Policy Manager