India’s Biological Diversity Act: Beware the Regulatory Maze
For life sciences industries and research organizations that utilize any biological resource from India for research, commercial or other purposes, awareness and regulatory compliance with India’s Biological Diversity (BD) Act, 2002 could mean the difference between success and failure. India became a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a multilateral treaty, in 1994. In order to comply with the CBD’s provisions on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity with fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from utilization of genetic resources, the country enacted the BD Act in 2002, and the corresponding Rules in 2004. In 2012, India ratified the Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the CBD that mainly focused on strengthening the implementation of benefit sharing, and subsequently issued the Guidelines on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in 2014.Under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the implementing system of the BD Act is three-tiered. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is at the central level, the State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) are at the state level, and the Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) are at the local level, with each authority performing specified functions.