The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993, introducing the concept of protecting traditional knowledge and biodiversity. The CBD agreement is applicable at the national and international levels. India has adopted this agreement that takes into account various aspects of biological diversity.

Main Objectives:
  • The conservation of biological diversity
  • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
  • The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

Articles related to the above objectives of CBD are:

  • Article 1 - fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of technologies, considering all rights over those resources to technologies and appropriate funding.
  • Article 8(j) - provision to encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from utilization of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local community embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

The Biodiversity Act, 2002

This Act enforced the prior approval of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) before applying for any kind of intellectual property rights based on any research or information on a biological resource obtained from India. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 at Chennai to implement India's Biological Diversity Act (2002).

The NBA exempts the use of biological resources for carrying out research. It is mandatory to seek the permission of the NBA before obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for research or for commercial utilization.

Salient features of the NBA

The objectives of the NBA are provided as follows:

  • Section 6 provides that anybody seeking any kind of intellectual property rights on research based on biological resources or knowledge obtained from India needs to obtain a prior approval of the NBA. The NBA may impose benefit-sharing conditions.
  • Section 18(iv) stipulates that one of the functions of the NBA is to take measures to oppose the grant of any intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such a biological resource.
  • For ensuring equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological resources and associated knowledge, Sections 19 and 21 stipulate prior approval of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) before their access. While granting approval, NBA may impose terms and conditions that secure equitable sharing of benefits.
  • Section 36(iv) provides protection to the knowledge of local people relating to biodiversity through measures such as registration of such knowledge and the development of a sui generis system.

Transfer of biological resource or knowledge

According to Section 20,

  • No person who has been granted approval under Section 19 shall transfer any biological resource or knowledge associated thereto which is the subject matter of the said approval except with the permission of the National Biodiversity Authority.
  • Any person who intends to transfer any biological resource or knowledge associated thereto shall make an application in a form as prescribed to the National Biodiversity Authority.
  • On receipt of the application, the National Biodiversity Authority may grant approval after making enquiries, subject to certain terms and conditions, including the imposition of charges by way of royalty or for reasons to be recorded in writing, reject the application. No such order for rejection shall be made without giving an opportunity of being heard to the person affected.
  • The NBA gives a public notice of the approval granted under this section.

Access to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge

For seeking prior approval to access, use and/or transfer biological resources for research or commercial purposes, the following application forms are to be filled and submitted at NBA, Chennai, India.

Forms Description/Category Fees (INR)
Form I

Application for access to biological resources and associated

traditional kowledge

10,000
Form II Application for seeking prior approval of the National Biodiversity Authority for transferring the results of research to foreign nationals, companies, NRI's, for commericial purposes 5,000
Form III Application for seeking prior approval of the National Biodiversity Authority for applying for Intellectual Property Right 500
Form IV
Application form for seeking approval of the National Biodiversity Authority for third party transfer of the accessed biological resources and associated traditional knowledge
10,000

 

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