Ex-situ collections can be involved in the implementation of ABS regulations in different ways and at different levels. These are summarised here:
Obligations of collections to include material in the collection
If ex situ collections include genetic resources from another country in their collection, they are initially obliged to comply with the ABS regulations in force in that country. This means that if they wish to include material from a Nagoya Protocol State Party in their collection, they may need to obtain the necessary permits (PIC and MAT).
Collections in their role as users under EU Regulation
If employees of a collection carry out research and development with the collection material, the collection may potentially be a user within the scope of the EU-ABS Regulation and must fulfil due diligence obligations.However, if collections themselves do not use the material in the sense of the EU-ABS Regulation, i.e. they only receive, store and/or pass on material to third parties, this does not fall under the definition of use under the EU-ABS Regulation. Thus, the collection does not have to fulfil any due diligence obligations for these activities within the meaning of Articles 4 and 7 of the ABS Regulation.
Collections as intermediaries between country of origin and user
If collections pass on material from a country of origin to third parties (users), they almost automatically assume a kind of mediating role between the country of origin of the resource and the subsequent user. In this respect, in the interests of best practice, it would make sense for the collection to collect and pass on to the user the information relating to the genetic resource that the future user needs for the due diligence declaration.
In addition, collections can also officially perform a service function for users: According to Article 5 of the EU-ABS Regulation, collection holders can register their collections or parts thereof with the EU Commission. By registering, they undertake to provide the registered material to users only with the necessary information in accordance with the EU-ABS Regulation.