The regulations on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol (NP) concern all types of research – industrial as well as academic – that make use of genetic resources of plant, animal bacterial or other origin and/or of traditional knowledge associated to these resources.
Therefore, as an academic scientist doing research with biological material from abroad, you may also be affected by Access and Benefit-sharing requirements. You are obliged to comply with domestic ABS regulations of the country (that is a Party to the CBD, NP) that provides the genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and of the Party where you take the material to be analysed, for instance Switzerland.
If legislation in the country providing the genetic resources is missing, researchers have an ethical responsibility to apply for access to the genetic resources and to share the benefits, as is the custom in Good Scientific Practice.
Switzerland has ratified the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). Corresponding legislation is in place and applies also to academic research.
As an academic research institution you are responsible that your scientists comply with the ABS requirements.
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
Dr. Franziska Bosshard