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No ABS Due Diligence for Use of Commercial Plant Varieties in the EU

January 12, Brussels – The European Commission has published a Guidance document on the scope of application of Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 on the compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources (2021/C 13/01). Article 8.4 of the Guidance clarifies cases where breeders are required to provide due diligence declarations under the Regulation.

According to the document, commercial varieties legally placed on the EU market and subsequently used in breeding programs do not fall within the scope of the EU ABS Regulation. Such varieties include: (a) the varieties that are legally protected by a Plant Variety Right in the EU or under any other national PVR regime; (b) the variety registered in a national or common catalogue of varieties of agricultural plant and vegetable species, or in a list or register of forest reproductive material, fruit or vine varieties (incl. the conservation varieties); and, finally, (c) the varieties that have been entered in any other public or private list according to EU legislation and/or international standards, containing officially recognized denomination and description. Breeders are, however, required to provide due diligence declarations in cases where their breeding programs utilize material, for instance, a crop wild relative, landrace or farmer’s variety, that originates from a Nagoya Protocol country with enacted ABS legislation and is accessed after the respective ABS regulation enters into force.

While, as pointed out in the Milieu's Analysis of the EU ABS Regulation in May 2020, many issues surrounding the application and enforcement of the Regulation remain unclear, the Guidance document confirms that the goals of the advocacy effort on behalf of CIOPORA and AIPH members have been achieved. CIOPORA thanks its lawyer member Philippe de Jong (Altius, Belgium) for six years of representation before the European Commission in matters surrounding Access and Benefit Sharing in the EU.


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