The union cabinet Thursday approved ratification of the Nagoya Protocol for fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.
The cabinet nod comes ahead of India hosting the 11th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) later this month in Hyderabad.
Hosting the COP summit, also called the Rio + 20 CBD conference will give India "an opportunity to consolidate, scale up and showcase our strengths and initiatives on biodiversity before the world. As the incoming president of CoP-11, it is expected that India would ratify the protocol before CoP-11," a statement said.
The Nagoya Protocol has been signed by 92 countries. Five countries have also ratified the Protocol. India signed the Nagoya Protocol on 11th May 2011.
"India is one of the identified megadiverse countries rich in biodiversity. With only 2.4 per cent of the earth's land area, India accounts for 7-8 per cent of the recorded species of the world. India is also rich in associated traditional knowledge, which is both coded as in ancient texts of Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha, and also non-coded, as it exists in oral undocumented traditions.
"India is a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which is one of the agreements adopted during the Rio Earth Summit held in 1992. One of the three objectives of the CBD relates to Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and benefits resulting from their use shared by users with countries that provide them. The CBD prescribes that access to genetic resources is subject to national legislation," the statement said.
"The objective of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS is fair and equitable sharing of benefits, arising from the use of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.
"India has been a victim of misappropriation or biopiracy of our genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, which have been patented in other countries (well known examples include neem and haldi). It is expected that the ABS Protocol which is a key missing pillar of the CBD, would address this concern."