Update on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) for collection holders

In early July the ABS stakeholder workshop met to discuss the draft EU ABS Guidance Document for Collection Holders. This Guidance document for collection holders is meant to help users, as well as competent national authorities, to establish whether activities carried out fall within the scope of the EU Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation. It also aims to assist users in identifying their due diligence obligations and in concluding how these should be met.

In the context of this Guidance document collection holders include genebanks, culture collection holders, biobanks, Biological Resource Centres (BRCs), botanic gardens, zoos and aquaria, and natural history museums. Their main activities include ex situ conservation of biodiversity, long-term national and international resources to support biological research (for instance in taxonomy, ecology, morphology, genomics, biochemistry, fisheries, agriculture, both in the private and public sectors), biodiversity management including under the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and commercial R&D. Collections may also be held in situ or on-farm. In some cases collection holders may not be involved directly in any research but exist for purely economic reasons as suppliers of genetic resources or extracts to others. Collection holders are primarily engaged in upstream activities in the user chain rather than in product development. Some types of collection holders (e.g. botanic gardens) are often integrated in universities or research institutes, while others (e.g. zoos) are usually independent entities.

The consultants are happy to accept further comments on the Guidance Document. Comments should be sent to ABS.guidance@milieu.be . Please also copy in martin.brink@wur.nl, bert.visser@wur.nl and Suzanne.Sharrock@bgci.org  by 15 August.

Draft guidance for consultation