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The Principles on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing

In the herbarium, BrazilA framework to help gardens and herbaria develop policies and procedures on access and benefit-sharing.

Background to the Principles

Set out in a one-page document, the ‘Principles’ aim to give guidance on all aspects of botanical institutions’ work related to getting access to material, and sharing benefits arising from use of the material. They were developed by an international group of 28 botanic gardens and herbaria from 21 countries. They provide a framework upon which individual institutions can design their own policies on the CBD – taking into account the particular work that garden does, and the particular laws and regulations of its national government.

The Principles:

  • are wide-ranging and general in their approach
  • apply to all botanical institutions, large and small
  • apply to gardens and herbaria with both living and preserved collections
  • cover how to get prior informed consent for acquiring material from in situ conditions, and from other ex situ collections, for instance through exchange with other institutions
  • outline procedures necessary for the use, exchange and supply of material
  • recommend that institutions develop a transparent commercialisation policy
  • set out obligations to share benefits from the use of material by an institution
  • cover the importance of curation and tracking by an institution as a basis to complying with new obligations under the CBD and national law
  • represent a voluntary commitment by gardens and herbaria

If your organisation is interested in endorsing the Principles then please email

The Principles

Click for Principles on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing developed by 28 botanic gardens and herbaria from 21 countries worldwide (also available in Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).  The list of institutions that have endorsed the Principles can be seen here.

A document providing the Common Policy Guidelines and Explanatory Text to the Principles can be downloaded here (7mb). The explanatory text provides additional information on issues that were raised and discussed during the project and explains why the project participants settled on the language of the Principles and Common Policy Guidelines.