Submitted to: Microbial Biocontrol of Arthropods, Weeds and Plant Pathogens: Risks, Benefits and Challenges
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Researchers and implementers of biological control are confronted with a variety of scientific, regulatory and administrative challenges to their biological control programs. One developing challenge will arise from the implementation of provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) concerned with Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). Nearly all of the world’s countries have now signed the international Convention on Biological Diversity, which entered into force in December 1993 at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, and is designed to protect the indigenous genetic resources of all countries as well as the rights to derivative benefits from these resources. Deliberations on a process for governing ABS of genetic resources were finalized at a conference in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. Although much of the discussion has focused on resources that can be commercialized, it is clear that the new guidelines (which are still being formulated) will also cover the collection of natural enemies for importation (classical) biological control programs typically conducted by public agencies for the public good. Exploration, collection and export of natural enemies are already problematic in some countries due to restrictions on export of genetic resources, and there is the potential for new ABS processes to increase the scope of restrictions in ways that will impact the biological control community. To address this issue, an International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants (IOBC) committee prepared a position paper for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and followed with companion articles in the journals BioControl, Biocontrol News and Information, and Nature. The committee made recommendations for facilitating the collection and exchange of biological control agents: (1) Governments should support the existing multilateral practice of free exchange of natural enemies for biological control; (2) ABS regulations should support the biological control sector by facilitating the multilateral exchange of biological control agents; (3) Countries are encouraged to have a single point of contact for advice on compliance with ABS regulations and to facilitate surveys, collections and taxonomic support; (4) ABS in relation to biological control should be based on non-financial forms of benefit sharing such as capacity building, shared research and/or technology transfer; (5) Best practices for ABS in relation to biological control should be prepared and disseminated, and biological control organizations would be expected to follow these guidelines; and (6) Free access to database information on biological control agents should be supported.