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ABS Policies in Canada

The Key Challenge of ABS: Fostering a Common Approach

For ABS policies to contribute to the policy goals set out in Section II and to address the policy questions noted in Section IV a common or complementary approach is required. This means integration with other ABS-related policy areas and the elaboration of consistent measures across jurisdictions:

1) Coherence and Integration with ABS-related Policies

Establishing a common approach to ABS should be done through improved policy coherence and deeper integration of ABS policies with other life sciences strategies funded by governments and universities. ABS can also benefit from, and contribute to, the harmonization of natural resources management policies among jurisdictions by bringing together resource managers to elaborate management methods for genetic resources. Finally, finding the best approach to meeting ABS objective may mean developing policy coherence between key policies including sustainable development, intellectual property, and foreign policies.

2) Consistent and Complementary Legislative Measures
    across Relevant Jurisdictions, and with a Possible
    International ABS Regime

Relevant jurisdictions in Canada need to ensure the consistency and complementarity of measures in order for ABS to be effective yet not administratively burdensome. This does not mean that the same measures or policies need to apply across different jurisdictions. Rather, a common approach seeks to ensure consistency in the application of ABS policy principles in meeting the often unique circumstances of different jurisdictions across Canada.

In pursuing this common approach, the following questions will serve as a guide in implementing ABS measures as required:

  • Whose jurisdiction would a particular measure fall within?
  • Is there a regime in place that provides the basis for new measure?
  • If not, what is required to close any gaps?
  • How is duplication minimized?

At the same time, because negotiations on an international ABS regime under the Convention on Biological Diversity will likely include some legally-binding elements, some additions to existing laws in various jurisdictions may be needed to support compliance with the ABS policies/laws of other Parties to the Convention. Canada should seek to ensure that this international framework is consistent with Canadian values, Canada's strategic economic and trade interests, and Canadian leadership on global environmental challenges.