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Horta ,  May 23, 2020

New law regulating collection of natural samples for scientific and technological purposes safeguards the Region's interests, says Gui Menezes

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated that the new law regulating the access to and use of natural resources in the Azores for scientific and technological purposes, approved unanimously at the Legislative Assembly, is "an effective law that will defend the Region." 

Gui Menezes stressed that, with the new law, the Azoreans "will get to know better the potential of the Azores' natural resources and realise the potential of their use" as well as "the importance of science and technology for the Region's development." 

The Regional Secretary spoke Friday, by video conference, at the plenary session of the Azorean Parliament during the debate on an amendment proposed by the Regional Government to the law establishing the legal scheme on the access to and use of the Azores' natural resources for scientific purposes, which has been in force since 2012. 

According to the government official, "we need to update and align" this regional law with the European regulation, created in 2014, which establishes the rules on the access to genetic resources and benefit sharing in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol arising from the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

For the Regional Secretary, this new law aims to regulate “more effectively” the collection of samples for scientific and technological purposes in the Azores, ensuring a fair sharing of the benefits that may arise from research activities based on the archipelago's natural resources. 

"These benefits may be financial or include the sharing of knowledge and scientific and technological projects," said the government official. 

The law now approved provides for the creation of the Internationally Recognised Certificate of Conformity (CCIR), valid for 10 years, to grant access to natural resources for scientific and technological purposes under the terms of access to and use of collected samples of natural resources. 

An electronic platform will also be created for requests to grant access to samples, where all certificates in the Azores will be made available for consultation. 

Gui Menezes stressed that the Regional Government, with the new law, intends to "protect the interests" of the Region, which "should benefit from its own natural resources," and also to "regulate more effectively" the collection of samples for scientific and technological purposes in the archipelago. 

During the debate, the government official pointed out that this law provides for "administrative supervision" and that the regional administration is expected "prepare a control plan" of the samples accessed. 

"With this law, there is the possibility of registering [sample] collections, which will become known and used by other researchers," said the government official.

"Science is a cosmopolitan and collaborative activity," the Regional Secretary said, adding that "science in the Azores, fortunately, does not live isolated from the world. 
Asked about the number of sampling requests, Gui Menezes revealed that under the previous legislation, from 2012 to 2020, there were 51 requests for sample collection by research vessels and 357 requests by researchers. Regarding the latter, 196 requests were submitted by regional researchers.

The Regional Secretary also mentioned that there have been 401 requests for Prior Informed Consent Certificates since 2012: 179 on terrestrial fauna and flora organisms, 209 on marine fauna and flora and seabed sediments, and 13 on freshwater environments. 

Regarding the collections of samples, the Regional Secretary noted that “nothing prevents a subsequent registration of existing collections,” adding that, “possibly, under the new law, the Region will be able to create in the future some type of support for the maintenance of these collections." 


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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