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Fair sharing of biodiversity: The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), enters into force this week. The Protocol is an international environmental agreement intended to ensure that those, who share access to genetic resources and associated traditional and aboriginal knowledge, benefit fairly from their use. 51 countries have ratified the Protocol to date.

Canada, with its large aboriginal population, has neither signed nor ratified this Protocol.

The fair and equitable sharing of benefits from genetic resources is one of the three main objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity. The other two are the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its environmental components.

Fair and equitable sharing of benefits is to be achieved through benefit sharing agreements much like those that have been developed for mining and similar resource projects. They are to feature full disclosure and prior informed consent.

The full text of the Nagoya Protocol is available at: www.cbd.int/abs/doc/protocol/nagoya-protocol-en.pdf. The list of signatories of the Nagoya Protocol is available at: www.cbd.int/abs/nagoya-protocol/signatories.

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