Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol refers to the access and benefit-sharing of non-human genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Academics and researchers at the University of Glasgow have a legal requirement to comply with the Nagoya Protocol, and are requried to undertake due diligence to ensure that such resources have been accessed in line with the legal requirements of the source country.

The Nagoya Protocol applies to both accessing materials and to providing access to materials. 

If you have any queries around the Nagoya Protocol, or think your research may be in scope, contact the Compliance Support Team.

What is the Nagoya Protocol?

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. 

What is covered by the Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol regulations apply when research and development is conducted on genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge (TK), where the genetic resources / traditional knowledge were:

  • Accessed on or after 12 October 2015
  • Accessed from a country that is party to the Nagoya Protocol and has access and benefit sharing (ABS) legislation
  • Not already governed by a specialised international instrument (such as the PIP Framework or the ITPGRFA

The Nagoya Protocol provides the following definitions:

  • Genetic resources: any plant, animal, microbial or material of other origin which contains functional units of heredity and is of actual or potential value. Human genetic resources are NOT covered by the Nagoya Protocol.
  • Traditional knowledge: knowledge that is held by indigenous and local communities and that is relevant for utilisation of the genetic resources.
  • Utlistation: conducting research and development on the genetic and/or biochemical composition of genetic resources.

Due diligence

Where materials are in scope of the Nagoya Protocol, the user of the genetic resource and/or TK is responsible for undertaking due diligence, to ensure that the material is accessed in accordance with applicable legislation of the providing country. The user is also responsible for the submission of a due diligence declaration as required. In the UK, due diligence declarations are required to be submitted to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs). 

The Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (ABSCH) is a platform for exchanging information on access and benefit sharing measures that countries have established, as well as supporting the tracking of genetic resources between provider and user. This should be used as part of the due diligence process.

How do I know if my research is in scope?

The Nagoya Protocol applies at one of two stages:

  1. When researchers receive an award that involves the utilisation of relevant genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge; OR
  2. When researchers are in the final stages of development of a project that was developed via the utilisation of relevant genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge

If your funded project involves non-human genetic resources or traditional knowledge, you will need to assess whether your project is in scope. This means understanding how the resources or traditional knowledge will be utilised and identifying whether the country of origin has legal measures with which you must comply. The University's Compliance Support Team can help you determine whether your project is in scope.

If you think your research may be in scope of the Nagoya Protocol, contact the Compliance Support Team. 


What do I need to do if my research is in scope?

If your research is in scope, you will need to submit a due diligence declaration to DEFRA to evidence that you have followed all legal requirements. This should be done in conjunction with your College Research Office and the Complaince Support Team.

You will also need to keep, and transfer to subsequent users, information on the following:

  • The date and place the genetic resources and traditional knowledge were acquired
  • A description of the items acquired, using unique identifiers where they are available
  • The source from which the items were obtained
  • Whether the items are subject to rights and obligations regarding access and benefit sharing
  • Any decision made regarding the access, as well as the mutually agreed terms of access.

This information must be kept for 20 years following the end of the period of use.