UK regulation on ABS – Approved in March 2015

UKflagWhen looking into different EU members, we can see that there are different approaches. For example, France developed a detailed legal framework based on the EU regulation but redefining some of the aspects with regards to access to the Genetic Resource. While Norway or UK did no revamp the EU regulation but used it as the basis and defined what they had to define to adapt the EU regulation to their own country’s processes. (Read here the EU memo on its ABS regulation)

So the UK regulation took the EU regulation as it is and defined in its regulation key components for the implementation of the EU regulation in UK. Potter Clarkson (legal firm) wrote an article explaining the key components of the EU and UK regulations. For example, the UK regulation details how the UK will apply the EU regulation: competent authority, inspection processes, applicable sanctions, etc. all this is based on the due-diligence mechanism defined in the EU regulation.

“Those Regulations allow for civil sanctions to be applied if a user does not, for example, exercise due diligence, transmit the relevant information to a subsequent user, or make the necessary declarations regarding due diligence.  It also provides powers for an “inspector” to enter, search and seize material from a premises to ascertain whether any breach of the Protocol has occurred.  Penalties for non-compliance include fines and a “stop-notice”, which, whilst poorly specified, could prohibit a user from undertaking acts, presumably associated with the genetic resource, such as marketing a product, selling a product or conducting research, until corrective action is taken.  Also provided for are criminal sanctions, including imprisonment for up to three months, if the user does not comply with the requirements of the civil sanctions.

The penalties for non-compliance are, at least on paper, serious.  However, at this time it is difficult to predict how the Protocol will be enforced, especially in the early days during which it is unclear how a user is meant to behave.”

Source: Lexology

Read here the full UK Regulation.

What interests me in this article, is that they promote and advise, as I am doing, the fact that Companies doing Research and Development based on biodiversity should anticipate the upcoming local legislation and to start showing due diligence for the ingredients used in R&D since October 2014 (date of the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol).

However, as we know there are still pending questions (Read here my previous post on Learnings and pending questions on NP implementation) that do not ease the anticipation process. But working together we can find solutions and practices as a starting point to our journey towards ABS practices and compliance. Let’s continue to work together to better understand the ins and outs of this journey.