48 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 benefit at all to these regulations. Anke van den Hurk, Deputy Director of Plantum, provided additional input. Seed World (SW): How have the vari- ous Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations (IT & Nagoya) affected your company? Tonny van den Boom (TvdB): We used to have an open global network of breed- ing programs with an active exchange of breeding material between the programs. Some of these programs have now been isolated by domestic ABS regulations, because governments claim sovereign rights over material in our collections which considerably hampers a free exchange of these genetic resources between different countries. In some cases, domestic ABS regulations even paralyze the exchange of genetic resources that originated from non- domestic material. Mariann Börner (MB): The current ABS regulations hamper the free flow of genetic resources as source for innovation and breeding/research activities. For the constant need to develop varieties that are better adapted to environmental changes and customer wishes, the free flow of genetic resources is key. Companies face big administrative burdens and unrealistic requests to point out ownership to genetic resources that have been distributed all over the world since decades. Xavier Bouard (XB): We keep watching at the developments of those regula- tions for years to anticipate as much as possible their practical consequences, to be and remain in line. Internal pro- cedures of access and management of genetic resources (GR) are constantly being adapted to the new conditions resulting from the ABS legislations. Legal certainty and traceability are the main issues. Notwithstanding the Clearing House information web site, the acces- sibility to clear information concerning ABS national regulations is not easy and creates legal uncertainty. It can be in a language that we don’t understand, or difficult to understand due to local legal specificities or to their complexity, or unpublished. Without clarity, access cannot be possible. And, the never-end- ing ABS obligations makes burdensome the tracking and tracing of the accessed materials forever. TvdB: We have to deal with legal uncer- tainty because many of the national ABS regulations are difficult to find and often difficult to interpret. Moreover, it is quite difficult to establish communication with the different National Focal Points because of a lack of response, language barriers and a lack of understanding of the way of working within the plant- breeding sector at the side of the National Focal Point. So, in order to ensure com- pliance with the ABS Regulations, we have had to implement a rigid system for access to genetic resources and adminis- tration of such access, and we have had to teach all of our breeders and scientist how to comply with it. SW: What changes did you have to make to ensure compliance? TvdB: We have implemented procedures concerning the access to, and use of, genetic resources. We have modified certain business software applications used in R&D to be able to ensure compli- ance with the various ABS regulations. In addition we have appointed a specialized