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The International Centre of Microbial Resources (CIRM), yeast collection in Grignon. © INRA, MAITRE Christophe

Genetic and biological resources

Rules and Regulations for accessing and using genetic resources

The exchange and use of biological materials is governed by rules and regulations at international, regional and national level: the Convention on Biological Diversity, health and safety regulations, biological security, etc.

By Communications Department, translated by Inge Laino
Updated on 06/04/2018
Published on 06/13/2013

In 2011, Cirad, INRA and IRD established guidelines to help researchers and their partners better understand these rules and ensure their irreproachable application.
Document (PDF) Cirad, INRA, IRD, September 2011, 60 pages, in French.

The Nagoya Protocol: using resources sustainably

Since 2011, the Nagoya Protocol on fair and equitable access and benefits-sharing was ratified by France, who in turn implemented a new legislative framework in tandem with the August 2016 law for reclaiming biodiversity, which governs access to national genetic resources. Implementing the Nagoya Protocol means rising to the challenge of using genetic resources sustainably without jeopardising diversity or compromising the efficiency of research. In France, domestic animal, plant and forest genetic resources as well as those used for animal and plant health benefit from specific measures and overseas regions can also set up specific monitoring.

Moreover, European regulations have been in force since 2015 to guarantee that all research and development activity based on genetic resources, no matter the origin, carried out in the European Union is in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol. Of key importance is to ensure that access to resources is in line with legislation of the provider country. The scope of application of the European regulation is the subject of framework documents that are currently being validated. Until now, no European country has defined measures to make domestic or cultivated genetic resources accessible.  

For plant genetic resources, compliance with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is consistent with compliance with the Nagoya Protocol at global level.

The Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) published a step-by-step guide to fair and equitable access and benefits-sharing available on its website (French only).


When it comes to INRA’s BRCs, their traceability practices and resource documentation coupled with the maturity of the Institute’s collections puts it in an ideal position to come up with model tools and documents that guarantee compliance with Nagoya. This is the subject of a project launched in 2018 with the support of the scientific interest group IBiSA (Infrastructures in Biology, Health and Agronomy).

Lastly, INRA is committed to ensuring that its researchers respect the Nagoya Protocol in all aspects of their studies, and is preparing a framework of support to do just this.  

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Plant Biology and Breeding
Associated Centre(s):

Find out more

Reference bodies

Rules and regulations

CDB, Convention on Biological Diversity and the Cartagena Protocol

CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

ECPGR, European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature
French Committee of the IUCN

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture  (FAO)


DREAL, French regional agencies for environment, planning and housing

DEAL Guadeloupe

DEAL French Guiana

DEAL Martinique

DEAL Réunion Island

French Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition

French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation


Bioversity International

CIRAD, French Agricultural Research and International Cooperation Organization
> Gene-PI: Cirad tool for drafting contracts governing biological resource transfers (open access)

FRB, Foundation for Research on Biodiversity


IRD, Institute of Research for Development