Thailand is one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in the world due to its large variety of ecosystems, landscapes, and habitats. This array of natural resources has played a large role in supporting local livelihoods for millennia, and since industrialization has contributed significantly to national economic growth. Committed to preserving its unique natural heritage, Thailand became a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”) in 2004. In furtherance of this commitment, the National Reform Plan in Natural Resources and Environment (“NRP”) was published in the Government Gazette on 4 April 2018 to align with Thailand’s 20-year National Strategy (2018–2037), providing governmental guidelines to move forward with Thailand’s development while balancing concerns about the sustainability of its natural resources. The NRP prescribes that action must be taken towards a comprehensive domestic biodiversity law by 2020.
Biological resources, and access and benefit sharing (“ABS”) from their utilization, are regulated under the Regulation of the Office of the Prime Minister on the Conservation and Utilization of Biodiversity, the Regulation of the Committee on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity on the Criteria and Methods for ABS from Biological Resources, and relevant sui generis laws (e.g., Plant Varieties Protection Act, National Reserved Forest Act, Pathogens and Animal Toxins Act). These regulations are insufficient to satisfy the NRP guidelines. As such, on 22 January 2019, the Biological Diversity Division of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (“ONEP”), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment held a kick-off meeting to discuss a draft Biodiversity Act (“Draft BD Act”). The ONEP held a workshop regarding ABS the following week, and workshops on other relevant topics will be held throughout the year.
Although the Draft BD Act has yet to be published, at the kick-off meeting and subsequent workshop the main objectives of the Draft BD Act were communicated as follows:
The Draft BD Act will apply to animals, plants, and microorganisms.
Key Highlights of the Draft BD Act
We will keep you informed of further developments on this matter. In the meantime, please contact the Bangkok Patent team if you have any questions.