Last week, the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat) in Malaysia’s Parliament passed the Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing Bill 2017. The bill implements the provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity regarding the granting of access to genetic resources that are subject to the country’s sovereignty and the sharing of benefits from the exploitation of such resources.
Among many other features, the bill establishes a national competent authority to administer the access and benefit sharing system, requires the prior informed consent of the authority before a resource is accessed, affords legal protection for the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities, and requires that the authority be notified whenever a patent is applied for on any resource or traditional knowledge accessed through the system.
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Author: Shawn Sullivan