Colombia is the first country to sign the Nagoya Protocol on biodiversity at an environmental conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Spanish newspaper ABC reports.
The environmental treaty, which was drafted in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010, provides a legal framework to permit access to genetic resources, share the benefits arising from their use, and cooperate with one another in allegations of misuse.
By signing the protocol, Colombia wants to sends “a political signal” to the international community about the importance of responsible practices when utilizing global biodiversity, Colombia’s presidential advisor on environmental issues Sandra Bessudo told the Spanish news agency EFE.
“It is an invitation for other countries to come, sign and ratify this protocol as soon as possible, which is fundamental for security and everything related to bio-prospecting and genetic resources,” Bessudo said to EFE.
Bessudo explained that the protocol provides the first comprehensive framework for the utilization of biodiversity in industries such as medicine, cosmetics and biotechnology.
In developing countries with high biodiversity, such as Colombia, the new regulations will enable more effective action against bio-piracy and the exploitation of indigenous people, and allow developing countries to benefit equitably from their resources.
It is expected that countries like Brazil and Yemen will also sign the treaty at the conference in New York. Fifty countries must sign the treaty before it can be enforced.