ABS stands for "Access and Benefit-Sharing", which means access to genetic resources and the compensation (to the provider country) for the advantages resulting from their use. ABS was envisioned in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and continued in the Nagoya Protocol and aims to create economic incentives for conservation and sustainable use by exploiting biodiversity.
Each Party to the CBD and Nagoya Protocol is sovereign in its decision whether to grant free access to its genetic resources or related traditional knowledge or to grant access only after prior authorisation (PIC) and to regulate the compensation of the benefits of use on the basis of contractual agreements (MAT).
The Nagoya Protocol is implemented in the European Union by Regulation (EU) No. 511/2014 which came into force on October 12, 2014, the implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1866, and the German Implementation Act, which came into force on July 1, 2016.
The Nagoya Protocol has created a framework under international law that regulates the implementation of the objectives of the UN CBD. In concrete terms, this means that any biological resource, i.e. plants, animals or parts thereof, microorganisms or even only DNA, belongs to the country from which it originates. Only human samples are excluded from this rule. Appropriate permits from the country of origin are required for the collection, export and use of resources. This explicitly applies not only to commercial use, but also to scientific or non-commercial use. Further information is available on the website of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the national contact point in Germany: http://abs.bfn.de.