November 21-25, 2022 the Institute of Genetics and Cytology, NAS of Belarus, hosts the 5th International Scientific Conference “Genetics and Biotechnology of the 21st Century: Challenges, Achievements, and Prospects” marking the 135th Anniversary of an outstanding scientist ― botanist, geneticist, geographer, plant breeder, the founder of the world collection of cultivated plants, Academician Nikolai I. Vavilov.
The National Coordination Centre on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing (ABS NCC) as part of the section “Genetics, Biotechnology and Plant Breeding” presented the report “Development of Legal Regulation on Access to Genetic Resources at the National Level”.
The Republic of Belarus has a variety of genetic resources, both in the wild (about 11.5 thousand species of wild plants and fungi and 30.5 thousand species of wild animals), and in the conditions of culture, as well as in seed banks, collections, herbaria, DNA banks of scientific institutions, many of which have been awarded the status of the objects of the National Heritage of the Republic of Belarus.
At present, the legal bases and institutional frameworks for access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing are defined by international commitments of the Republic of Belarus on 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
The Republic of Belarus has the right to benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, the proper transfer of appropriate technologies, taking into account all rights to those resources and technologies and proper financing, and thus contributing to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.
At the same time, a comparative analysis of the provisions of the Nagoya Protocol and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus revealed an insufficient level of legal regulation of relations when providing access to genetic resources to the stakeholders from other countries, and that was a basis for the development in 2021 of the concept of the draft Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Genetic Resources Management”.
The subsequent development of the aforementioned Law and by-laws will make it possible to comprehensively regulate relations in the field of access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization, determine the principles and establish the legal framework for access to genetic resources, mechanisms for monitoring their utilization, the competence of state bodies and ABS NCC, rights and obligations of subjects of relations in the field of genetic resources management.