zmt Bremen


ZMT Seminar

Complying with "Access and Benefit Sharing" within the academic research sector


Genetic material and biochemical derivatives from plants, animals, and microbes (genetic resources), as well as associated traditional knowledge, can provide significant commercial and non-commercial benefits to humans. In order to reconcile conflicting interests in the use of these resources, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has adopted the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime. Under the ABS regime, states on whose territories genetic resources are found may determine access to those resources, while user states have to oblige their users to share the benefits they derive from utilisation.

Recent legal development

The 2010 Nagoya Protocol (in force: 12th October 2014) substantiates the CBD ABS regulations on access, benefit sharing, and compliance. The Nagoya Protocol was legally implemented by the European Regulation 511/2014. The Regulation transfers the obligation for implementing ABS to the users of genetic resources and therefore establishes a monitoring and control mechanism. An implementation directive and a German law implementing the Regulation are currently in preparation but not yet in place.

Relevance of the seminar for the academic research sector

Institutions and persons - and particularly the academic research sector - need to share the benefits, when using foreign biological material containing or potentially containing genetic material and biochemical compounds and associated traditional knowledge. Due to the complexity of ABS and the latest legal advancements, the implementation and scope of these rules and regulations remain unclear, and there exists the need to unambiguously explain the current and prospective rights and responsibilities for researchers under the system.

Videos of the talks

The talks have been recorded and edited to display speaker and slides. You can access the talks by clicking on the link below.

1. Dr. Bevis Fedder (Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, ZMT) on "Introduction into ABS and the seminar"

2. Prof. Dr. Gerd Winter (Research Center for European Environmental Law, FEU) on the "Principles of Access to Genetic Resources and Sharing of Benefits that arise from their Utilization"

3. Dr. Elisabeth Hasse (Brussels Office of the Leibniz Association) on "The EU Regulation on Access and Benefit Sharing (EU 511/2014): Development and Consequences"

4. Dr. Peter Giere (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, MfN) on "Access and Benefit Sharing in the Use and Exchange of Collection Specimens"

5. Dr. Bevis Fedder (ZMT) on "Good practice for academic research on genetic resources"

Target group and goals

The target audience of the seminar is academic researchers from universities and research institutes that directly or indirectly collect, obtain and use foreign biological material from terrestrial and marine sources and associated traditional knowledge.

The goals of the seminar are:

  1. to raise awareness on the ABS regime within the academic research sector
  2. to convey the necessary understanding and skills to interpret the development of the system and implement its provisions
  3. to provide a forum for critical discussion and reflection of the system

Please register here for the seminar. Registration and attendance are free of charge.

Structure of the seminar

The seminar will be divided into 5 talks held by experts in the field (see also the programme). Talk 1 takes 15 minutes, while talks 2-5 will take max. 30 minutes with 30 minutes discussion.

Talk 1 introduces into the relevance of the topic, the historical processes, and the structure of the seminar.

Talk 2 explains the basic principles of the ABS system with a focus on international processes.

Talk 3 provides the background on current processes in the EU and Germany.

Talk 4 evaluates the role and contributions of collections of genetic resources to the ABS-system, including chances, challenges, and risks.

Talk 5 provides a specific focus on the challenges and approaches for scientists, with a specific focus on the conflict between open access vs. private property.

11am - 4pm


Dr. Bevis Fedder
+49 (421) 23800 - 67

Picture sources (from above): M. Bon, S. Nash (under creative commons licence), H. Reuter