Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, Reckenholzstrasse 191, CH-8046 Zürich

Does the convention on biological diversity impede biological control?

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was established in 1992 with three objectives: 1) conserve nature, 2) sustainably use biodiversity and 3) ensure access and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising form the use of biodiversity. It also ascertains that countries have sovereign rights over their genetic resources. Agreements governing the access to these resources and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use need to be established between involved parties (Access and Benefit Sharing ABS). This also applies to species collected for potential use in biological control. Recent applications of CBD principles have already made it difficult or impossible to collect and export natural enemies for biological control research in several countries. If such an approach is widely applied it would impede this very successful and environmentally safe pest management method based on the use of biological diversity. The CBD is required to agree a comprehensive Access and Benefit Sharing process in 2010. In collaboration and with financial support of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Organisation for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants (IOBC) has prepared a position paper on Access and Benefit Sharing for Biological Control that has been published recently as an FAO report ( The report makes recommendations which would facilitate the practice of collection and exchange of biological control agents, propose a workable framework to assist policy makers and biological control practitioners, and urge biological control leaders in each country to get involved in the discussions with their national ABS contact point to take their needs into consideration.

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