Access and benefit sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol

The EVA-GLOBAL community supports fair and equitable benefit sharing as conceived in various United Nations frameworks. The consortium is actively implementing a CBD/Nagoya Protocol compliance strategy.

The consortium stands behind the principles of the three goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity and is actively improving information needed by users to determine their due diligence obligations pertaining to the distribution of virus and virus-related material from the EVA catalogue collection and information needed by countries to ensure transparency, trust, and fairness.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) is an international agreement that aims at the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization (research and/or development) of genetic resources (and/or traditional knowledge associated to them). Since coming into force on the 12th of October of 2014, the Nagoya Protocol has been implemented in stages as countries continue to either ratify or become a party to the Protocol. Compliance obligations under the Nagoya Protocol are implemented and regulated in the European Union through the EU ABS Regulation 511/2014 and aim at establishing clear obligations and legal certainty for both users and providers of genetic material.

The EVA GLOBAL consortium is currently developing and implementing a compliance strategy for all of its partners to help our users fulfill Nagoya Protocol obligations, primarily under the legal context of the EU ABS regulation 511/2014. (Note that under the EU regulation collection holders themselves, if they do not engage in utilization, do not have due diligence obligations.) This proactive compliance will greatly enhance the usability and legal certainty of the viruses and products in the EVA-GLOBAL catalogue for our users, for providers, and for the broader scientific community. EVA-GLOBAL members commit to a significant effort to become Nagoya-compliant, to the best of their respective capabilities, over the project period and to make this information available in the public catalog.

Compliance efforts will focus on ensuring retroactive compliance of existing material in the EVA-GLOBAL catalogue and on-going and future compliance through standard procedures for new material acquisition. Because many EVA-GLOBAL consortium members are actively involved in viral outbreak situations and on the “front lines” in-country, the consortium takes an active role in supporting Nagoya compliance obligations for these consortium members where and when new outbreaks occur. In addition, the catalogue will be continuously updated and maintained with temporal and geographical information and benefit sharing documents over the funding period.

The EVA-GLOBAL consortium is also actively engaged in capacity building and outreach to viral collections in countries with less developed economies where viral outbreaks have a particularly acute and devastating role. The consortium is extending its network to countries where virus biobanking is poorly developed and to Developing Countries (DC), by association with institutes to help them to start, develop and maintain a virus collection. There is a mutual benefit in this objective as independence of each endemic country for the control of emerging viral disease relies on its capacity to access to viral strains, but also to viral sequence, to rapidly design efficient diagnostic tools, and to have access to reference material, to assess their diagnostic and surveillance capacities or to develop research program in biology and control of infectious diseases, etc. Providing this capacity to those institutes will constitute a shared benefit. It will also help towards the creation of an adequate work environment for local scientists to perform research in their own countries. For EVA-GLOBAL, the goal is to extend the diversity of the resource offered in our catalogue by integration of new institutes from countries where major virus outbreaks already occurred and in those where the probability of emergence is high.

Workpackage 7 of the EVA-GLOBAL project is the team leading the compliance strategy for all material on offer on the EVA catalogue collection.

On 1st of June 2020 and since January 2020 the consortium already had made available 833 COVID-19 related products to 88 countries ( list countries here* ) and continues to use science to support coronavirus detection, research, and development in an on-going way throughout the pandemic.

We appreciate the global sense of urgency and are pleased that international cooperation has led to a silver lining and spirit of teamwork around the world. Here is a letter from the Government of Guatemala that exemplifies this cooperation.