Conclusion: Comparing Access and Benefit-Sharing in Europe

Brendan Coolsaet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of access and benefit-sharing (ABS) grew out of the emergence of the global governance of genetic resources during the second half of the twentieth century. The evolution of environmental ethics, of international environmental law, of North–South relations, and of international cooperation for scientific research all nourished an international regime, which eventually led to the Nagoya Protocol. The Protocol thus is the product of a series of international legal doctrines, as exposed in the introduction of this book. Likewise, the implementation of the Protocol will need to build on a series of existing legal principles and rules, which are currently governing issues related to access and benefit-sharing. As illustrated throughout the chapters in the first part of the book, these issues are numerous and differ from country to country, including inter alia property regimes, market regulation and access, industrial policy, health, international development, legislation related to environmental matters and nature conservation, agriculture, research & development traditional knowledge, administrative laws, and private international law. In addition , the imple mentation will have to complement and/or further a plethora of quasi-legal instruments, best practices and private standards, all of which may or may not have been designed with ABS or the Nagoya Protocol in mind. Finally, European ABS instruments will also converge at the European level, where an EU-harmonised approach on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol was adopted in April 2014.1 The story of the Nagoya Protocol thus can be said to be one of legal confluence: born out of a union of legal doctrines, it gathers a large range of legal fields extending far beyond environmental law only, and combines (or will need to combine) existing legal regimes, numerous actors, both public and private, and a multitude of policy and private initiatives. The confluence of these different streams into a functional ABS regime is of paramount importance for the EU, in particular for its biotechnology sector and its non-commercial biodiversity research sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImplementing the Nagoya Protocol
Subtitle of host publicationComparing Access and Benefit-sharing Regimes in Europe
EditorsBrendan Coolsaet, Fulya Batur, Arianna Broggiato, John Pitseys, Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789004293212
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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