Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finally, National Biodiversity Authority issued Access and Benefit Sharing Guidelines(ABS)

Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board (MPSBB) has sent notice(s) to the various companies in State under section 7 of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, to deposit  i.e. 2% of gross sale or gross revenue on the financial year basis towards the benefit sharing in Biological Diversity Fund of the State Biological Diversity Board as access and benefit sharing as described under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.

Companies (Som Distilleries Pvt. Ltd., Dabur India Ltd., Mount Everest Breweries Ltd, Ruchi Soya Industries and many others) approached and filed appeals against such notice(s) to the National Green Tribunal, Bhopal. Companies have raised many issues as how an authority can decide such percentage in absence of guidelines in place. Companies prayed for interim relief, looking to the facts and circumstances of the case, the respondents (MPSBB/NBA) were restrained from taking any coercive action against the applicant(s) including prosecution in case.  Interim relief was granted by NGT. 

In its order, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has highlighted the importance with regard to the finalization of the guidelines for Access and benefit Sharing (ABS) to enable tribunal to decide the matter(s). Therefore, NGT has directed respondents (MPSBB/NBA) to file their reply along with guidelines to decide the matter accordingly.

NBA’s counsel has requested 4 months’ time (till July 2014) to record such guidelines. NBA was not able to do so in requested time and further requested an extension of time of four months for finalising the Access and Benefit Sharing Guidelines by Respondent (National Biodiversity Authority) through the MoEF for preparation, finalisation and to be notified as provided under Section 64 of the said Act, as it requires the same to be placed before the Parliament and then notified for being implemented. NGT has granted extension of four month time.

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 64 read with sub-section (1) of section 18 and sub-section (4) of section 21 of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 (18 of 2003), hereinafter referred to as the Act, and in pursuance of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity dated the 29th October, 2010. The Union Cabinet of India has approved the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Finally, on 21st November 2014, the National Biodiversity Authority has issued Guidelines on Access to Biological Resources and Associated Knowledge and Benefits Sharing Regulations, 2014.These guidelines will surely give momentum to the cases (especially in NGT) related to access and benefit sharing

Please contact to writer (onkar.singh9999@gmail.com) for any clarifications related to this post.

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