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United Nations: Eight Countries Sign Nagoya Protocol

(May 17, 2011) On May 11, 2011, at the 19th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development held in New York, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, and Tunisia signed the Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity. They thereby joined 13 other nations that have already signed the document. (Indonesia and Seven Other Countries Sign Nagoya Protocol, BERNAMA.COM [Malaysian National News Agency] (May 16, 2011).)

The full name of the pact is the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization (ABS), and it is attached as a supplemental agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Text of the Nagoya Protocol, CBD website (last visited May 16, 2011)). According to the CBD website, the Protocol “provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” (About the Nagoya Protocol, CBD website (last visited May 16, 2011)). The Protocol, which was signed on October 29, 2010, will become effective 90 days after 50 nations have deposited instruments of ratification. (Id.)

The Protocol is seen as an instrument to fight bio-piracy while allowing optimal use of genetic resources. Indonesia is considered a key nation in this area, as it is rich in biodiversity. The Indonesian Environment Minister, Gusti Mohammad Hatta, stressed the importance of the agreement, stating that “[w]ith the Nagoya Protocol, biodiversity will serve as the backbone of sustainable development through the concept of green economy. Debates on the contradiction between the environment and economy will be over” (BERNAMA.COM, supra). In order to ratify the Protocol, Indonesia will have to enact legislation on the use of genetic resources. (Id.)