Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing, which was negotiated within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, regulates access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation. It therefore supports the implementation of the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and contributes towards the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. Switzerland has ratified the Nagoya Protocol on 11 July 2014. The Protocol and the amendments of the Natural and Cultural Heritage Protection Act came into force on October 12, 2014. The Federal Council passed the Nagoya Ordinance on 11 December 2015. It came into force on 1st February 2016.
1. A brief introduction
- Genetic resources are essential components of biological diversity. For example, they form the basis for each plant and animal variety in agriculture, and at the same time they contain active substances for the development of medicaments and cosmetics. This means they are utilised in a variety of sectors, most notably in agriculture and in the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and biotechnology industries.
- One of the aims of the Nagoya-Protocol is to ensure that those who provide access to genetic resources or related traditional knowledge can enjoy a share in the benefits that arise from their utilisation.
- The Protocol also defines how access to genetic resources is to be regulated, and thus facilitates access to these resources for companies and research institutions.
- It contains provisions aimed at ensuring that those who use genetic resources or related traditional knowledge comply with the access and benefit-sharing regulations in the providing countries.
- The Protocol is also intended to strengthen the degree of legal security in the use of genetic resources and related traditional knowledge. This is necessary so that companies and science invest in research and development.
- The provisions of the Nagoya Protocol are addressed to the signatories, who are obliged to implement them at the national level.
The goals of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing are to secure the implementation of the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources, and thus to contribute towards the global preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. It contains provisions that regulate both access to genetic resources and fair sharing of the benefits arising from their utilisation. Users who seek access to a genetic resource in another country (for example, to a medicinal plant for the purpose of carrying out research on its active substances or the production of a medicament) are obliged to comply with the relevant national access regulations in the country providing the resource in question. In addition, an agreement has to be drawn up that ensures that the provider of the resource enjoys a fair and equitable share of the benefits (e.g. profits, technologies, know-how) arising from its utilisation. Genetic resources are often closely associated with the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities, and in view of this the Protocol also contains provisions concerning access and benefit-sharing when such traditional knowledge is utilised.
3. Situation in Switzerland
Switzerland has ratified the Nagoya Protocol on 11 July 2014. Its implementation in the Natural and Cultural Heritage Protection Act came into force for Switzerland on October 12, 2014. The amendments in the Natural and Cultural Heritage Protection Act are published in the annex of the Federal decree on the approval of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation (Nagoya Protocol) and its implementation (Natural and Cultural Heritage Protection Act). The legal amendments are available in a non-official English translation.
The Federal Council passed the Nagoya Ordinance on 11 December 2015. Together with the Nagoya Protocol and the provisions in the Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage it forms the basis for the legal use of genetic resources from other countries. The ordinance also regulates the access to genetic resources in Switzerland. The Nagoya Ordinance substantiates the provisions in the Nature and Cultural Heritage Act for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Switzerland and thus ensures greater legal certainty. It came into force on 1st February 2016.
4. Competent authority and National Focal Point to the Nagoya Protocol
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Dr. Franziska Bosshard
National Focal Point to the Nagoya Protocol
tel.: +41 58 463 92 68
Dr. Min Hahn
Erläuterungen zur Nagoya-Verordnung (PDF, 415 kB, 11.12.2015)In German, also available in French and Italian
FAQ Nagoya Verordnung (PDF, 250 kB, 17.02.2021)in German, also available in French
Formular für die Meldung eines Zugangs zu genetischen Ressourcen im Inland laut Nagoya-Verordnung (NagV) (DOC, 59 kB, 26.07.2016)in German, also available in French
Last modification 04.12.2020