The regulation of country-to-country circulation and access to genetic resources is an international obligation that member countries of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and its 2010 Nagoya Protocol must address through the development of appropriate national policies, laws and programmes. In so doing, these international agreements also require all member countries to ensure that a workable mechanism is created for both providers and users of genetic resources to share the benefits that arise from the utilisation of genetic resources, including biodiscovery research.

Following the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, Nepal, which is a biodiversity-rich South Asian least-developed country, has entered into a series of debates about how to regulate access to genetic resources in accordance with international laws. In recent years, debates in Nepal have focussed more on (1) exploring the potential of using the access and benefit sharing law for biodiscovery; (2) understanding the relationship between access and benefit sharing and intellectual property rights (patents, plant breeders’ rights, trade and certification marks, etc.); (3) assessing the likely impacts that the regulation of access might have for national stakeholders such as indigenous and local communities, farmers, breeders, scientists, traders, etc.; and (4) identifying measures to protect the rights of the custodians of genetic resources such as local, indigenous and farming communities.   

Realising the need for Nepal to develop an appropriate access and benefit sharing regime that complies with international laws and at the same time addresses local needs, the ARC Laureate Project “Harnessing Intellectual Property to Food Security” in the TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland is organising a series of capacity building workshops in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, and Sydney from 15-21 March 2018. The objective of these workshops is to enable Nepali policymakers (1) to better understand the socio-legal aspects of genetic resources and intellectual property; (2) to gather important insights from the experiences of Australia and other Asia-Pacific countries; and (3) to design and implement an access and benefit sharing law that utilises international legal frameworks to address their local needs. 

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Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Sydney