Acronyms and Short Names


ABS or ‘access and benefit-sharing’ ‘access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their utilisation’ or ‘access and benefit-sharing’ as conceived in Articles 1 and 15 of the CBD
AHWG-ABS or ‘Working Group’ CBD Ad-hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing
Bonn Guidelines Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising Out of Their Utilization (2002)
Cartagena Protocol Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nairobi, 2000)
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio, 1992)
CHM Clearinghouse Mechanism of the CBD
CAN competent national authority (on ABS matters, unless otherwise stated)
COP Conference of the Parties (of the CBD unless stated otherwise)
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid
GEF Global Environment Facility
IGC WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore
ITPGRFA International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Rome, 2001)
MAT Mutually Agreed Terms
MLS The ‘Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing’ created under Part IV (Articles 10-1) of the ITPGRFA
MOP Meeting of the Parties
MTA Material Transfer Agreement
NFP National Focal Point1
PIC Prior Informed Consent
SCBD Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
SMTA Standard Material Transfer Agreement, adopted in 2006 by the governing body of the ITPGRFA
TRIPS Agreement Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement
UPOV International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant (Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales)
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
WSSD World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002)
WTO World Trade Organization

Other Terms Used in Part I

In attempting to discuss ABS issues, the authors of Part I have frequently been stymied by the fact that many terms are used imprecisely. For example, the common mode of discussing ABS relationships is to use three terms ‘user,’ ‘provider country’ (or ‘country providing genetic resources’) and ‘country of origin.’ These terms are defined in ways which, in many cases, would not be precise enough to enable a court or other legal expert to determine clearly when those terms apply. The authors therefore felt that is appropriate to introduce some clarity into our own terminological choices by spelling out the precise way we are using terms within this book. The usage of the key terms of ABS within this book is therefore set out in the Glossary, found at page 169 and the reader is referred to this Glossary in case of any questions over terminological issues.


1 Within the CBD, each Contracting Party is expected to designate at least one national CBD focal point. In addition, the Bonn Guidelines recommend that each Party designate a national ABS focal point. If they choose not to identify a separate NFP for ABS, the country's CBD NFP will fill both roles, receiving all ABS related information and inquiries.

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