Issue Brief: Biodiversity Conservation in China
From the perspective of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)
As one of seventeen mega-biodiversity countries in the world, China harbors nearly 10% of all plant species and 14% of animals on earth. Biodiversity not only helps maintain the productivity of the ecosystem, but also supports food security, helps humans adapt to the climate change, and provides important resources for medicine. Important as it is, the rapid social-economic development in China has put its biodiversity, and the genetic resources (GR) found within, under increasing pressures.
In China, as well as in other countries, ethnic minorities and local communities that reside in remote areas have accumulated the knowledge associated with local species and their genetic resources through generations. In today’s society, the traditional knowledge and preserved genetic resources are not only benefitting the local communities but also the whole society at large, as the traditional knowledge and the genetic resources are used in research and for commercial purposes. While the rest of the society enjoy the benefits, the local communities rarely obtain financial or other benefits from such exploitation.
“Access and Benefit sharing (ABS)” and the “Nagoya Protocol" advocate for the sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, thereby contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of its components. The issue brief discusses the challenges and opportunities and the way forward for adaptation of ABS in China.