The Convention on Biological Diversity is a multilateral treaty with 193 parties, including Australia.
The three objectives of the convention are:
- the conservation of biological diversity
- the sustainable use of its components, and
- the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
Australia ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity on 18 June 1993. More information can be found at the Convention on Biological Diversity website.
The Nagoya CoP10 logo - Life in harmony, into the future depicts the convention's commitment to safeguard our precious biodiversity for the next generation.
The Nagoya Protocol
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (the Protocol) is a global agreement that implements the access and benefit-sharing obligations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Genetic resources from plants, animals and microorganisms are increasingly valuable in the development of specialty enzymes, enhanced genes, or small molecules. These can be used in many areas, including crop protection, drug development, the production of specialized chemicals, or in industrial processing.
The fair and equitable sharing of these benefits is a priority for biodiversity-rich countries and the international community.
The Nagoya Protocol was adopted by the CBD in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. Australia is not currently a party to the Nagoya Protocol, however Australia’s existing domestic measures are consistent with the Protocol.
What are the benefits?
The Nagoya Protocol establishes a framework that helps researchers access genetic resources for biotechnology research, development and other activities, in return for a fair share of any benefits from their use. This provides the research & development sector with the certainty they need to invest in biodiversity-based research.
Indigenous and local communities may receive benefits through a legal framework that respects the value of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.
Access to biological resources in Australian jurisdictions
Australia has both national legislation, through the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and its associated regulations, and state and territory legislation in place which align with the obligations under the Nagoya Protocol.
Australia’s access and benefit-sharing laws and processes depend on the location where biological samples are collected. The type of permit(s) you may need also depends on where the samples are collected.
Part 8A of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 regulates access to biological resources in Commonwealth areas. Permits are required to access biological resources in these areas and further information can be found at: Permits – accessing biological resources in Commonwealth areas.
Sub-national jurisdictions of Australia (States and Territories) have their own procedures through State and Territory legislation. For information on access to biological resource in states in territories, including key contacts, see: Access to biological resources in States and Territories.
Permits for genetic resources issued by Australian jurisdictions are recognised as evidence that those resources were accessed with prior, informed consent, and on mutually agreed terms.