Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation and management of biological diversity

Project description

Title: Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation and management of biological diversity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mexico
Partner organisation: National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO)
Overall term: 2013 to 2017

Mexico. Market scene © GIZ


Mexico is among the countries with the greatest biological and cultural diversity in the world. In May 2012 it ratified the Nagoya Protocol, an international environmental agreement on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits, thereby becoming one of the first countries to commit itself to implementing the agreement at national level.

The Nagoya Protocol is intended to ensure implementation of the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity – fair sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources (Access and Benefit Sharing, ABS) – and thus contribute to global conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of its components. The Protocol stipulates that countries with high biological diversity, and their populations, must share in the profits arising from the use of their genetic resources, for example when new drugs based on plant ingredients are developed and marketed.

Internationally appropriate legal and institutional rules and agreements on access and benefit sharing need to be developed. Such rules are binding both on the countries that use the resources and on those in which the resources originate. Traditional knowledge relating to the use of genetic resources also needs to be protected and governments of signatory states are responsible for taking appropriate statutory, administrative and political measures in this respect.

For Mexico, ABS involves more than simply complying with the terms of the Nagoya Protocol. The country is not just a source of biological and genetic resources: increasingly, it is also generating demand for these resources as a user. Its value creation capacity therefore needs to be boosted, existing knowledge must be utilised and innovations need to be applied.


Key stakeholders apply rules and guidelines on access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge, ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising, and thus create incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.


The project is one of the first bilateral projects to address the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from biodiversity use. This highlights Mexico’s innovative role, including at international level.

The project focuses on developing capabilities and resources to facilitate implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. It further aims to create incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, thereby contributing to biodiversity conservation.

The project strengthens indigenous peoples and local communities, thus enabling them to gain an equitable share of benefits and profits.

The project’s services are also intended to benefit government and state institutions, organised civil society and the academic and private sectors. Capacity building of these stakeholders enables them to be involved in implementation of the Protocol.

The methodological approach is the structured exchange of knowledge between relevant groups and stakeholders at international, regional and national level. Good practices are recorded and systematised; strategies for cascading capacity development on an inclusive basis are drawn up and implemented. The project operates in the areas of ABS governance, in-situ conservation and incentives for sustainable use.

The project works mainly with the following Mexican partners:

  • Secretariat of Foreign Affairs SRE (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores)
  • Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources SEMARNAT (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales)
  • National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y el Uso de la Biodiversidad)
  • National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples CDI (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas)
  • National Commission of Natural Protected Areas CONANP (Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas)
  • National Forest Commission CONAFOR (Comisión Nacional Forestal)
  • Mexican Institute of Industrial Property IMPI (Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Industrial)
  • Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food SAGARPA (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación)
  • Secretariat of Health SSA (Secretaría de Salud).

Results achieved so far

Although Mexico has ratified the Nagoya Protocol (2012), implementation of benefit-sharing at national level is not yet far advanced.

The project has encouraged active dialogue between the key government agencies, the academic sector and representatives of civil society. For example, via training events, the exchange of experience and specific studies, advice on developing a shared understanding and on implementation steps has been provided to bodies including SEMARNAT, CONABIO, CONANP, CDI, IMPI and SAGARPA (see above for full titles).

Mexico. Diversity of products at the market  © GIZ

Three events on the subject of biocultural community protocols and similar instruments have been held. Biocultural community protocols are sets of rules drawn up by indigenous peoples or local communities. They are used to engage in dialogue with third parties. The protocols are based on the values of their authors and on customary, national and international rights and duties.

The events were attended by representatives of government bodies, scientists and local stakeholders such as non-governmental organisations and members of the local and indigenous population. Implementation of suitable instruments will be promoted on a model basis in future.

Working with representatives of relevant state bodies, capacity-building needs were identified at the end of 2013 and the foundation for an action plan on capacity development was laid.

Additional information