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European Commission


Brussels, 12 September 2013

Statement by Commissioner Potočnik on the outcome of the vote in the European Parliament on the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation

I am pleased with the outcome of the European Parliament's vote today on the important issue of access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their utilization (ABS).

This is a complex issue, but also an important one as it involves implementing international commitments on ABS entered into by the EU in the framework of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

On the one hand, ABS concerns biodiversity conservation and our respect for other countries' sovereign rights, and the rights of indigenous and local communities related to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources; and on the other it has important implications for European innovation and economic growth.

The international negotiations which led to the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing was a lengthy process, and the result struck a fair balance between all the interests concerned. The deadline for ratifying the Protocol is next July, and as ratification is a complex process, we need to work quickly towards an agreement with the other institutions involved in finalising the text of the Regulation.

After today's vote, I am confident that the Trilogues will produce the outcome we need: one that is good for the EU; for its researchers, its businesses, and also of course good for biodiversity.

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