Norway signs Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity


The Norwegian government believes the Nagoya Protocol, if ratified, will strengthen efforts to protect biological diversity and be a financial benefit to developing countries. Photo by Glenn Eriksen

Norway has signed the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the most important global environmental agreement since the turn of the millennium.

“I am very pleased that the international community has succeeded in reaching agreement on this protocol. It regulates important environmental issues of global concern,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre.

The protocol will strengthen efforts to protect biological diversity and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The protocol reaffirms the sovereign rights of states over their genetic resources and helps provide legal certainty for users and providers of such resources. The protocol also contains provisions regarding traditional knowledge.

“The protocol will better enable developing countries to obtain benefit-sharing agreements. It is easy to imagine how crucial it will be for poor countries in Africa, South America and Asia to secure a part of the profit when large corporations use their genetic resources to develop medicine and cosmetics. This is a billion-dollar industry,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

Marine bioprospecting is an important priority in the government’s High North Strategy, and regulations relating to access to Norwegian genetic resources and other issues are being drawn up. The protocol will also help ensure that Norwegian rules concerning our genetic resources will be respected abroad. The Nature Management Act already contains provisions governing the use of foreign genetic resources in Norway. This means that Norway is in the forefront in this area.

The protocol was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Oct. 29,  2010, in Nagoya, Japan. It took six years to reach agreement on the protocol. Norway has been pushing for the adoption of the protocol and was actively involved in the negotiations, which started in 2004. Solheim was one of four facilitators in the final stage of negotiations, which took place in Japan.

Norway is the 19th party to sign the protocol. The signing took place at a ceremony in New York on May 11, 2011, and the ratification process is under way. The protocol will enter into force after it has been ratified by 50 parties to the convention.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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