The Nagoya Protocol (NP), a legal framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), formalises fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from biological diversity. It encompasses biological samples and associated indigenous knowledge, with equitable return of benefits to those providing samples. Recent proposals that the use of digital sequence information (DSI) derived from samples should also require benefit-sharing under the NP have raised concerns that this might hamper research progress. Here, we propose that formalised benefit-sharing for biological data use can increase willingness to participate in research and share data, by ensuring equitable collaboration between sample providers and researchers, and preventing exploitative practices. Three case studies demonstrate how equitable benefit-sharing agreements might build long-term collaborations, furthering research for global benefits.
Keywords: Nagoya Protocol; benefit sharing; biological data; data access; data sharing; digital sequence information.
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