Access and benefit sharing (ABS) refers to the process by which genetic resources are accessed and the benefits that result from their use are shared between those who provide the resources (providers, i.e. States, communities within those States) and those who use them (users, i.e. researchers, industries). It also relates to the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities (ILCs) associated with those genetic resources. ABS has the potential to enable States and their ILCs to conserve and sustainably use their biological diversity and to be rewarded for such efforts. More broadly, ABS works as an incentive for valuing, sustainably using and conserving biodiversity and as a possible instrument for greening the world economy. However, due to the complexity of the concept and the number of different and sometimes opposing interests at stake, putting ABS into practice is often a challenge.
Currently, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre and Global Policy Unit are developing an Explanatory Guide to the recent Nagoya Protocol on ABS to help States understand and implement the Protocol. The IUCN Regional Office for South America is implementing a GEF ABS capacity-building project in 8 countries.
Building on this, training on ABS is proposed. The aim is to enhance participants´ knowledge on ABS-related issues, e.g. on the development of ABS laws and regulations of provider and user countries which put the Nagoya Protocol into practice, the negotiation of contractual benefit-sharing arrangements, the development of common pools for transboundary genetic resources, as well as questions surrounding human rights, rights of traditional knowledge holders, social equity and conservation in general. Engagement of and interaction with the audience of this event will be ensured through a role-play which builds on fictitious ABS scenarios that help participants to understand the different types of obstacles and hurdles encountered by ABS stakeholder groups.