Collection and research of genetic resources

Companies, research institutions and others who want to collect and utilise genetic resources in Greenland must apply for access [LINK] to these, as well as enter into a profit-sharing agreement on commercial utilisation.

Parliament of Greenland Act No. 3 of 3 June 2016 on the utilisation of genetic resources and activities in connection with these, regulates access to and the allocation of benefits with respect to the use of genetic resources. The Act is defined to include genetic resources and relaxes the former Greenlandic legislation from 2006, which included all biological resources.

The Greenlandic legislation is based on the principles of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources, as well as fair and just allocation of the benefits arising from their utilisation. The purpose of the Greenlandic legislation is to ensure that a fair share of the proceeds from the utilisation of genetic resources goes to Greenland.

Access to genetic resources

The main principle of the Greenlandic legislation is that provided companies/researchers, etc., want to carry out research on Greenlandic genetic resources, they must apply for access to collect genetic resources and enter into a Prior Informed Consent.

There may be a requirement for other permits, for example, regarding access to national parks and the collection of plants. You can read more here. It is the applicant’s responsibility at all times to ensure that all permits, etc., are obtained when genetic resources are collected in Greenland.

Utilisation of genetic resources

If the collected resource is to be the subject of commercial utilisation, the ratio of profit sharing is negotiated (Mutually Agreed Terms) with the Government of Greenland.

The utilisation of genetic resources includes any collection, storage, registration, acquisition, transfer and receipt. It also covers the utilisation of research and development carried out on the basis of the collected resource. Patenting based on the resource is also subject to the requirement of a profit-sharing agreement.

Profit sharing can consist of both monetary and non-monetary benefits and will be negotiated individually between the Government of Greenland and the applicant. Profit sharing can consist of royalties, milestone payments, education, teaching and the like.

Please note that case processing can take up to 3 months, which is why it is recommended to apply for access in good time.

If you are in doubt about the Greenlandic rules on the collection and utilisation of genetic resources, you can contact the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Research.