By Executive Decree No. 19 of May 26, 2019, Law No. 57 of October 4, 2012 was regulated, which makes Panama a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Participation in Benefits Derived from its use - with the exception of the human species - which aims to introduce administrative and legal instruments, as well as the promotion of bioprospecting, biodiscovery and socio-economic mechanisms to allow the conservation and sustainable development of such resources.
he Executive Decree contains several aspects, including, among others, the designation of the Ministry of Environment as the competent authority to process, authorize, regulate and sanction everything related to access to biological and genetic resources, both commercially and non-commercially.
The request for access to biological and genetic resources for commercial purposes consists of applied scientific research, oriented in particular to the development of biotechnological products and their commercialization or industrial application. It is worth noting that these activities can be developed by universities, research centers, pharmaceutical, agricultural, cosmetic, health companies; in order to obtain new sources of chemical compounds, genes, proteins, microorganisms, and products with current and potential economic value.
A fundamental part of issuing this type of permits is to subscribe an Agreement for the Distribution of Economic and NonEconomic Benefits to be signed between the applicant and the Ministry of Environment on behalf of the State. Said Agreement shall contain specific clauses regarding payments to be made to the Panamanian State, including annual, negotiable royalties of 1% of the net sales of the product (s) that are marketed while they remain in the market, payments at the beginning of the project, payments due to important events, the co participation of the Panamanian State in all industrial or commercial contracts linked to the use of genetic and / or biological material.
The regulation of this Protocol constitutes a very useful tool for commercial and noncommercial sectors, since it provides a solid base that guarantees greater certainty and legal transparency, for suppliers and users of genetic resources.
Panama is the only country in Central America to incorporate it into its legal framework, becoming pioneers in the region that will surely be of great use to the industry that develops it, with the necessary protections.