Access and Benefit Sharing

Commissioned by Lead Executing Agency
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
State Biodiversity Board of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.
Lead Implementing Agency Duration
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH November 2017- April 2020


India is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world. With just 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India’s biological richness is spread across a vast range of habitats and ecosystems. These support 7 per cent of globally recorded species, including over 45,000 plants and 91,000 animal species—out of which many are keystone and charismatic species. India’s rich biological heritage coexists with over 1.2 billion people and about one-sixth of the world’s livestock population. For millions of Indians, therefore, biodiversity supports their very livelihoods and way of life. Thus, protecting and maintaining India’s rich biodiversity and natural resources is essential for achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

India gained prominence as one of the leading countries, which signed the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 and further adopted the Nagoya Protocol in 2014. This led to an early setup of a legal framework to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from utilisation of biological resources. The Indian Parliament enacted the Biological Diversity Act (BDA) in 2002 which is being implemented nationwide by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) as well as through decentralised institutional structures like the State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) and the Biodiversity

Management Committees (BMC) at local level. The NBA notified the ‘Guidelines on Access to Biological Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge and Benefits Sharing Regulations’ in 2014 which prescribe the procedures for access to biological resources and guides the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of biological resources with providers of the resources. However, the potential of legal framework on ABS to secure benefits from use of biological resources has not fully been explored.

This limits the range of economic and social benefits that are channelled back to the communities. Tapping the provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, with ABS supporting its implementation, can significantly contribute in conserving and promoting sustainable utilisation biological resources. It holds enormous potential for economic development of local communities.



The ABS Partnership project aims at strengthening the capacity of the National Biodiversity Authority, selected State Biodiversity Boards, Biodiversity Management Committees, as well as creating awareness amongst commercial users of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge for the effective implementation of ABS mechanisms under the Biological Diversity Act 2002, in keeping with India’s commitments under Nagoya Protocol on ABS.



The project is implemented at the national level in partnership with the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), at the state level, with the three State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) of Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu, and at local level with Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) in all three states. The project employs the following approaches:

  • Awareness-raising, communication, and stakeholder dialogues across different actors and stakeholder groups on creating a better understanding about the Biological Diversity Act 2002, ABS Guidelines and the Nagoya Protocol on ABS
  • Development of good practices on benefit-sharing among communities based on utilisation of biological resources for commercial or research purposes
  • Development of an IT-enabled ABS monitoring system for the NBA for effective monitoring of the use of biological resources in ABS processes



  • The project has directly engaged with over a thousand people across various stakeholder groups in three states. These include the officials from forest department and other government line departments such as agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RDPR), biodiversity based businesses and members of BMCs
  • A communication strategy developed by the project was launched at a COP13 side-event organised by ABS Capacity Development Initiative, GIZ Germany
  • The project led a side-event at COP13 titled “India’s insights from head starting the implementation of Access and Benefit sharing and launch of an online course on ABS” with support from other ABS implementing projects in India. These were UNEPGEF, Indo-Norwegian Centre for Biodiversity Policy and Law, UNDP ABS Global Project and United Nations University – Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS)
  • The project has undertaken studies to support the pilot SBBs in establishing ABS compliant value chain and to elucidate traceability in bio-resources trade to ensure benefit sharing with BMCs at source locations
  • Development of an IT- monitoring tool, for the NBA, to track the use of Indian biological resources in patent applications and research is currently underway
  • Stakeholder consultation was held with Indian experts to develop good practices of benefit sharing


The ABS project supports the Indian partners in achieving the SDG 15 to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through securing fair and equitable access and benefit sharing of biological resources. The project shows various interlinkages throughout the Agenda 2030 and therefore mirrors the integrated and indivisible spirit of the SDGs in the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. Read more here.


All brochure and movies of this project can be accessed via the Resources section on this website, by selecting the topic "Access and Benefit Sharing".