Press Release

Board View

The ABS Guideline for Biological Resource Centers for Utilization of Genetic Resources Published

▷ Dealing with compliance issues to be considered for acquiring and transferring genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol

▷ Offering strategies for 251 biological resource centers nationwide in implementation of their ABS policies

National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) announced that the "ABS Guidelines for Korean Biological Resource Centers in Compliance with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)* Requirements" will be released on 20 August 2020.

※ ABS (Access and Benefit-Sharing) is a principal concept established under the Nagoya Protocol that refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed and shared equitably. Users who seek to access genetic resources from a foreign country, must get permission from the country, and share the benefits arising from their use with the provider country.

Biological resource centers (BRCs)* include research institutes, universities, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums that secure, preserve, loan genetic resources such as natural materials, seeds, microorganisms, pathogens, etc. 

※ To date, there are 251 BRCs in Korea designated by Ministry of Environment; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Ministry of Science and ICT; Ministry of Health and Welfare; Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries; and Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. 

This book presents a step-by-step guide in each situation for BRCs to more efficiently manage their genetic resources in implementation of national ABS laws and the Nagoya Protocol. 

This includes requirements to identify the country of origin, providing country of the genetic resources, and check if that country is party to the Nagoya Protocol when collecting and transferring the resources. Prior Informed Consents (PIC) for access to genetic resources and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) for sharing of benefits, compliance declaration, and specimen loan policies are also explained.

The Nagoya Protocol entered into force in October 2014. Since then, 126 countries have ratified the Protocol, and 76 nations established national legislation to protect their genetic resources.

Republic of Korea enacted the Act on Genetic Resources* in August 2017. To use domestic and foreign genetic resources, the first and foremost step is to identify national ABS rules and procedures, and then comply with them.

※ Act on Access to and Utilization of Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing  (Abbreviated: Act on Genetic Resources) (No. 16016/2018)

Accordingly, BRCs that provide their genetic resources to academia, research institutions and industries must ensure such resources are legitimately and legally acquired and transferred. In this regard, BRCs are required to provide internal ABS policies that are making depositors and users of genetic resources comply with the Nagoya Protocol.

Genetic Resource Information Center of NIBR will distribute the book to BRCs and stakeholders nationwide in accordance with Government Innovation Policy that aims to provide customized services and information for the general public in a pre-emptive manner. 

The book is also available on the center's website ( in a PDF format. 

Bae, Yeon Jae, president of NIBR said: "We hope this book can help address challenges that BRCs experience when implementing the Nagoya Protocol. To this end, we will continue to assist them with up-to-date information on ABS, so that they are able to smoothly and legally access and utilize genetic resources at home and abroad".