Use of Overseas Genetic Resources - Nagoya Protocol

Use of Overseas Genetic Resources - Nagoya Protocol

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

The Nagoya Protocol on the Access to Genetic Resources, and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity came into force on 12th October 2014. It requires the countries that have signed up to the Protocol, to monitor the utilisation of their genetic resources, and to make its access and benefit sharing measures readily accessible to users.

The UK is Party to the Nagoya Protocol and therefore has a legal responsibility to implement and regulate it. In the EU, it was adopted into European legislation through Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014, and implemented into UK law through No. 821 'The Nagoya Protocol (Compliance) Regulations 2015. It is enforced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and regulated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

This is not affected by the current position of the UK with regard to the EU.

Wellcome Sanger Institute - Compliance and best practice

Employees, partners and associates of the Wellcome Sanger Institute commit to following best practice on the access and benefit sharing of genetic resources as outlined here.
The below applies to non - human genetic resources that are accessed from a provider country that is Party to the Nagoya Protocol, post-implementation and that has relevant access measures in place.
Sanger researchers are required to ensure that they:

  • Abide by international and national laws and regulations relating to Access and Benefit Sharing
  • 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 using written agreements in the form of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT), 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 record all documentation for a minimum of 20 years
  • Utilise the genetic resource only on the terms and conditions of those set out in the associated PIC and MAT.
  • Transfer genetic resources in compliance with the terms under which those resources were acquired, and with copies of all relevant documentation
  • Honour all agreements entered into with the provider countries.

Requests for advice regarding the Nagoya protocol can be made to

Related Sanger Institute Policy Responses and Statements