Access and beneft sharing: Status of CGN collections

The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands manages under a mandate of the Ministry of Economic Affairs collections of plant genetic resources. Regarding access to and benefit-sharing arising from the use of genetic resources binding agreements have been made in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT). As a result of these agreements conditions are set for access by users of the collections of CGN, which form part of the public domain. In agreement with the Ministry, this position statement specifies the conditions set to such access.

CGN distinguishes three categories of germplasm in relation to its legal status:

  • Genetic resources of crops listed in Annex 1 of the International Treaty (Trb. 2002, 134, herein after referred to as IT). These collections form part of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-Sharing of the IT. Access to these collections is provided under a Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) which is adopted by the Governing Body of the IT after entering into force of the IT. CGN has adopted this SMTA.
  • Genetic resources that have not been listed in Annex 1 of the IT, and that have been acquired by CGN after the entering into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Trb. 1992, 164 en 1993, 54; herein after referred to as CBD) at 1 January, 1994. These resources are subject to the national sovereignty of the country of origin. CGN will impose on the user the conditions set by the country of origin to the use of said resources. Where appropriate, CGN will adapt the SMTA, mentioned above under point 1, to incorporate additional conditions set by the country of origin, provided that such additional conditions are in agreement with the IT, the CBD and international agreements on intellectual property, such as the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Trb. 1962, nr. 121; herein after referred to as UPOV).
  • All other genetic resources, that have not been listed in Annex 1 of the IT, and that have been acquired by CGN before 1 January, 1994. The status of this germplasm regarding access and benefit-sharing is not covered by international agreements. In principle, CGN will provide this germplasm to the user under conditions identical to those stated in the SMTA of the IT, including additional conditions - if appropriate - required by the country of origin, provided that such additional conditions are in agreement with the IT, the CBD and international agreements on intellectual property, such as UPOV. The SMTA to be adopted will be used as a basis. This implies that where possible the rules for exchange of germplasm under this category will be in line with those of the germplasm in the Multilateral System of the IT.