ABS Introduction

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, envisages the ABS mechanism as a legal framework. This regulatory framework has been put in place in the Act to regulate activities of commercial utilization, research, bio-survey and bio-utilization of biological resources occurring in or obtained from India.

ABS is one of the most important areas of emerging biodiversity jurisprudence. Access and Benefit Sharing is a mechanism which secures fair and equitable share in the benefits arising out of access and utilization of biological resources for commercial purposes.

The benefits thus secured are channeled to the benefit claimers and for the conservation of biological diversity.

India’s experience on ABS

Even though ABS has emerged very recently, it has significantly helped communities in shaping ABS till date. Moreover, India is the only country that has dealt with more than 100 ABS agreements and over six hundred ABS applications till date.

One of such example is the case of Kani tribe from Kerala, who shared their traditional knowledge on the anti-exhaustion potential of Arogypacha plant with the researchers from the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) formerly known as the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI), Kerala. The Institute developed a drug called Jeevani from Arogypacha plant and it then allowed a company to manufacture and distribute Jeevani in exchange for royalties. Now the Kani tribes share licensing fee and part of royalties on the sale of wonder drug Jeevani derived from the magical Arogyapacha plant.

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