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National Policy on Access to Biological Resources, sustainable Use and Benefit Sharing

The need for a National Policy

Sri Lanka is reputed as a country rich in biological diversity. As a country Sri Lanka is threatened by the over exploitation and bio piracy.

It has become very difficult to stop the over exploitation and export of the biological resources without proper authorization due to lack of legislative support in the country. In order to get the benefits arising from the biological and genetic resources the access should be granted by a legally accepted agreement.

To fulfil the requirement of the country a Draft Material Transfer Agreement has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. But since a Material Transfer Agreement cannot also contain the rules, principles, and procedure by which it is to be developed and administered, there should be a clear policy on Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing.

Many of the above aspects do not appear to be covered by the existing legal framework. If the Government of Sri Lanka wishes to regulate access, it may then need to consider how the above issues are to be addressed. The two obvious options are through a framework law or through regulations made under one or more existing laws.

The national policy on Access to Biological Resources and Benefit Sharing renews the commitment of Government to conserve the biological Resources for the benefit of the present and future generations, while assuring the sustainable use of this resource for education commercial and research in a transparent manner.

The national policy that will bind all relevant parties concerned with the conservation and sustainable use of the biological resources and will act as an umbrella policy in managing access and benefit sharing of biological resources.

This policy will be used to guide all relevant authorities managing the biological resources to regulate the resources to gain the maximum benefit to the country.



Biological resources: Those components of biodiversity of direct, indirect or potential use to humanity.

Sustainable use The use that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Conservation: The wise use and management of biological resources for their inherent value and for the benefit of society, bearing in mind those future generations have as much right to those resources as our own.


The National Policy

Goal:  to ensure conservation and sustainable use of biological resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from them.


·  To conserve the biological resources, through protection, study, sustainable use and sharing the benefit for the wellbeing of present and future generations.

·   To guide relevant authorities to establish and manage an efficient and effective system to regulate the access to biological resources and to ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of these resources.

·   To ensure sustainable use of biological resource and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the direct and indirect use of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.

·    To develop a mechanism for sharing benefits arising from monitory and non monitory uses of biological resources.

·    To describe the right and obligations, procedures, timing of benefits and distribution of benefits etc.

·    To promote co-operation and coordination among relevant stakeholders to achieve above mention objectives.

·    To ensure the protection of traditional knowledge associated to biological diversity.


i.     Ensure national sovereignty over Sri Lanka’s biological resources.

ii.    Ensure the conservation of Sri Lanka’s biological resources.

iii.   Facilitate access to and promote sustainable use of Sri Lanka’s biological resources for the benefit of the country.

iv.    Recognize the rights and needs of farmers and local communities in terms of biological resources.

v.     Access should be done only with Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and on mutually agreed terms.(MAT)

vi.    Ensure the implementation of efficient & effective legislative mechanism to regulate the access to biological resources and benefit sharing.

vii.   Ensure that the benefits arising from the biological resources and associated traditional Knowledge is shared with the people and communities who have protected it.

viii.  Ensure that the transfer of technologies will take place in a sustainable manner in all research and commercial activities related to access to and use of biological resources.

ix.    Ensure that  patent or other intellectual property rights obtained, either jointly or otherwise, as a result of research of biological resources shall  not prevent the customary use of any biological resources and knowledge utilised in  development of the product or process for which a patent or any other intellectual property right is obtained.

x.     Biological resources of the country will be assessed and monitored on a regular basis in order to address any threat to them. In case of a threat, immediate measures will be taken to conserve them in-situ and ex-situ.

xi.    Promote research, education and awareness regarding access and benefit sharing aspects of biological resources.



1.            Develop and maintain appropriate policy and legal measures that regulate the access and sustainable use of biological resources. And fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of them.

2.            Develop & implement a mechanism to share the benefits of biological resources with the grass root level community to encourage conservation.

3.            Confirm and promote the harmony between Sri Lanka and other countries in obtaining useful biological resources for Sri Lanka’s needs, especially for food and agriculture.

4.            Encourage the communities to identify valuable biological resources for conservation, and to provide them with appropriate technology.



Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 08:58