CABI has stepped up measures to ensure its research with genetic resources from around the world can be shared with others to improve yields in global agriculture while at the same time supporting the conversation of biodiversity.

CABI, in complying with the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) has created a team of CABI ABS ‘Champions’ in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America to liaise with host countries so CABI can carry out its work in compliance with local needs.

The Nagoya Protocol was adopted in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and came into force in October 2014. It aims to create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources and helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing such resources.

Speaking of the publication of CABI’s ABS policy, Dr David Smith, Director Biological Resources, said, ‘CABI works with genetic resources such as plants, invertebrates and microorganisms, and uses them in its research. The tools they provide are used to improve production and reduce losses in global agriculture.

‘We recognise that we must share the benefits from such use with the provider countries and we have operated in compliance with the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since its inception in the early 1990s.

‘The countries Party to the CBD negotiated the Nagoya Protocol to formalise the equitable sharing of benefits in order to support conservation of biodiversity. CABI is aligning its practices in the conservation and use of genetic resources to ensure that it complies not only locally but globally with the Nagoya Protocol’.

‘The CABI Development Fund supported activities to develop CABI policy, best practices and information resources and to raise awareness not just in CABI staff but reaching out to partners, stakeholders, funders and policy makers.’

Of CABI’s 49 member countries 10 have ratified the Nagoya Protocol, 8 have signed and 13 are Party (31 of the 48 have engaged). All organisms sourced and used must be in compliance with the Protocol and all planned projects must assess provider country requirements for access and benefit sharing. Additionally, all CABI staff will be aware of their responsibilities in complying with the protocol.

Dr Smith added, ‘CABI currently works on several projects where classical or augmented biological control is being developed to reduce the impact of pests and diseases on crop and commodity yields.’

‘If we cannot access the natural enemies in countries where an invasive species originated or where these organisms are present then biocontrol would not be possible and huge losses would continue.’

To date the CABI ABS ‘Champions’ have contacted 28 countries of which 10 have indicated that they have no current access controls and are happy for CABI to collect, and utilise resources in line with its policy and best-practice procedures. Negotiations continue with other countries.

Additional information

You can view CABI’s Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy, including all appropriate references, here.

CABI also works with the Global Commission on Biological Control and Access and Benefit Sharing of the International Organization for Biological Control:, and contributed to key documents: FAO report (pdf), BioControl paper and additional material (pdf).

Read more about the Nagoya Protocol here.

Relevant paper

CABI scientists Dr David Smith, Dr Hariet Hinz, Dr Joseph Mulema, Dr Philip Weyl and Dr Matthew Ryan co-authored a paper published in Biological Science and Technology ‘Biological control and the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing – a case of effective due diligence.’ DOI: 10.1080/09583157.2018.1460317

It is available as an open access document here.


An article about the paper has been published on The CABI Blog which can be read here.