About this website

In the recent years, the landscape regarding ABS legislation and obligations applicable on European and international level has changed significantly. This may have an implication for the day-to-day work of breeders.

With the view to assist breeders observing their possible new obligations and with the intention to inform the public about the best practices and other efforts of the plant breeding sector to comply with ABS obligations, Euroseeds has developed this specific website.

About ABS

Plant breeding is all about generating biodiversity. All plant breeding starts with the breeder bringing together desirable characters in new combinations in diverse plant populations and selecting from these the varieties that are best suited to our needs for food, feed, fuel and fibre. Sometimes plant breeders look in the wild or in genebanks for plants with attributes that they want to bring into their varieties, perhaps for pest and disease resistance, nutritional content or flavour. When they do this, they have to comply with international and national rules that set out how those plants (genetic resources) can be accessed and how any benefits should be shared that come from the use of those genetic resources in their breeding programs.

In the context of plant breeding, access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising out of their utilization is regulated by two international instruments: the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol on the one hand and the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on the other.

About the tools

Besides general information on ABS, this website also presents some tools to breeders aimed at facilitating understanding the EU legal framework applicable to ABS as well as providing assistance in complying with potential new obligations.

You will find three tools made available on this website:

The Euroseeds Recommendations

The Euroseeds Recommendations is a step-by-step guide containing a series of practical recommendations for plant breeders with the aim of assisting them to follow the rules of the EU ABS Regulation. It has been prepared by the Euroseeds working group on biodiversity and being an industry guidance document, it has no legal value.

The Euroseeds EU ABS Navigator

The Navigator is an interactive, click-through tool which allows breeders to heck whether a genetic resource that they intend to use would fall under the scope of the EU ABS Regulation and, if yes, what obligations they have to comply with under the Regulation. The Navigator is also an industry-developed tool and therefore only provides a first estimation about the applicability of the EU ABS Regulation, it is not to be taken as legal advice.

The Euroseeds ABS law database

The ABS law database is a small database containing a limited overview of ABS legislations that have been adopted in the Member States of the EU with regard to implementing the EU ABS Regulation as well as other aspects of the Nagoya Protocol in the given country. The database is a dynamic tool trying to follow new developments in the national legislations to the extent possible.

EU legal framework

The Nagoya Protocol is an international convention on access and benefit-sharing which entered into force on October 12, 2014. It provides for a framework on access to genetic resources and on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such resources.

The European Union, as signatory to the Nagoya Protocol, decided to transpose only the compliance provisions of the Nagoya Protocol into EU law thereby creating a harmonized legal environment for compliance checks within the EU. Access and benefit-sharing is not regulated at EU level, it is an area where Member States may decide to set up their own rules. The EU legal framework implementing the Nagoya Protocol consists of the following:

ABS Glossary

access and benefit-sharing
prior informed consent
mutually agreed terms
standard material transfer agreement
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing House
Convention on Biological Diversity
National Focal Point
Nagoya Protocol
Genetic Resource