User checks and IT systems for ABS and compliance
7th Meeting of the GNP HuB Network
Our 7th Stammtisch was held online on the 30th of June 2022. Participants shared experiences about information technology (IT) solutions in the area of ABS and compliance and how user checks are carried out by the German national authorities.
User checks – what to expect, how to prepare?
In Germany, user checks are carried out by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) to verify compliance with the EU ABS regulation.
Ellen Frederichs from BfN pointed out that research institutions have to store ABS documentation (including details of sampling and utilization of the material) to prove compliance during a user check. The activities with the material have to be documented and systematized. Mrs. Frederichs showed an example on how to systematize the documentation required for user checks using an Excel table. A figure of this example can be found in the Stammtisch report.
Setting up IT systems for ABS and compliance.
The panelists shared their experience on systematizing documents needed for user checks and difficulties if done manually. Both panelists and participants highlighted the need to develop databases and automatized systems where researchers can deposit all ABS relevant documents (permits, email corresponds, due diligence declarations, etc) and that these documents have to be easily searchable and accessible. The establishment of compliance officers at an institutional level also showed to facilitate the compliance process as they are trained and competent contact points for researchers to understand any potential obligations with providing countries. However, more awareness about the practical implications of non-compliance for institutions (for example: fines or confiscation of material) is needed at an institutional level to encourage the creation of these positions.
It is important to highlight that before starting the research, it is mandatory to obtain the necessary ABS permits from the countries where the material was collected.
Our next Stammtisch will be held online on October 19th from 3 to 5 pm CET and will be about International policy updates on ABS. We look forward to your participation!