The Nagoya Protocol negotiated under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) regulates access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation. It underlines the importance of legal certainty, clarity and transparency in the regulations governing access to genetic resources and the fair sharing of benefits. The protocol is not applicable retroactively and does not affect existing provisions concerning intellectual property. It additionally provides guidance on a number of important questions.
Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Switzerland
Switzerland ratified the Nagoya Protocol on 11 July 2014. The Protocol and the associated revision of the Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage (NCHA) entered into force on 12 October 2014. The Federal Council approved the Nagoya Ordinance on 11 December 2015 and it entered into force on 1 February 2016.
The research-based pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland supports the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity and views the Nagoya Protocol as a solid basis for achieving its goals provided it is implemented appropriately. The industry is keen to point out that benefits can only be shared and technology can only be transferred if they are generated by corresponding research. The necessary investments will, however, only be made if they can be refinanced more easily as a result of appropriate legal protection for intellectual property.
Research involving genetic resources in practice
Biopiracy is the term given to the commercial exploitation of naturally occurring biological materials without fair compensation to the countries or peoples on whose territory these materials were originally discovered. The research-based pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland categorically rejects biopiracy. The Interpharma member companies follow the “Guidelines for IFPMA Members on Access to Genetic Resources and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising out of their Utilization”. These guidelines support the principles of the Nagoya Protocol, namely prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms, particularly with respect to balanced and fair access and benefit sharing.