Genetic resources

The Nagoya Protocol is an international supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity on the access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation. The contract came in force on 12 October 2014. In Finland, it entered  into force on 1 September 2016. The Nagoya Protocol covers all biological material containing units of heredity except those of human origin. The University of Turku natural history museum acts in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol.

The Nagoya Protocol

The objective of the Nagoya Protocol negotiated to supplement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is to advance access to genetic resources of the world, as well as promote equitable benefit sharing between providing and utilizing countries. The main principal, however, is to guarantee each country its rights to its own genetic resources, and therefore, the right to make decisions on which conditions genetic resources are given for research and further development purposes. The legislation covers material of plant, animal and microbe origin, provided they have been acquired for research and development purposes. Thus, the Nagoya Protocol covers all genetic resources except those of human beings. It is valid in all geological areas of signatories except in the Antarctica and high seas. The agreement also includes obligations toward the access and the benefits related to the traditional knowledge of indigenous people.

Finnish national legislation

Finland put in force the Nagoya Protocol and EU regulation 511/2014 with Act on genetic resources (394/2016). The use of Finnish genetic resources is free to the domestic users as well as to the foreign ones. In other words, one needs no prior consent from authorities in order to have access to Finnish genetic resources. In case the utilization of genetic resources concerns using the Sami people’s traditional knowledge, a prior consent is needed. If genetic resources to which the Nagoya Protocol applies are imported to Finland for research purposes, the user must notify a competent authority (SYKE/Luke) within a month of importing. The import notifications can be made in the Finnish genetic resource registry.

Importing genetic resources from abroad

In the event that foreign genetic resources are intended to be utilized for research or further development, the user of genetic resources should find out if the providing country will require a prior informed consent. In case it does, the before mentioned consent (PIC) has to be procured prior to obtaining the genetic resource. If necessary, the mutually agreed terms (MAT) have to be set before obtaining the genetic resource. In the scope of mutually agreed terms, it is possible to agree the conditions and limits concerning the use of genetic resources, as well as the sharing of benefits arising from the use. In fact, the mutually agreed terms should be agreed upon every time when acquiring genetic resources in order to avoid possible disputes. Finland’s national act on genetic resources requires that the user of genetic resources or related traditional knowledge, to which the Nagoya Protocol applies, must notify a competent authority through the Finnish genetic resources registry within a month of importing. Information regarding the laws and regulations concerning acquisition of genetic resources in different countries with the competent national authorities’ contact addresses can be found from the international access and benefit sharing clearing-house (ABSCH).