Brazil: Federal Law Nº 13.123/2015 - New Legal Framework Concerning Brazilian Biodiversity

Brazil is the most biologically diverse country in the world.  According to the United Nations Organization, it is ranked as one of the world's top mega-diverse countries and second only to Indonesia in terms of species.  Brazil has six terrestrial biomes and three large marine ecosystems.  Currently, there are approximately 103,870 known animal species and another 43,020 known plant species in the country; these numbers represent 70% of the world's catalogued animal and plant species.1  Brazil's rich biodiversity allows the country to produce a wide variety of plant, animal and microbe based food, drugs, cosmetics, fibers and building materials. 

After more than a decade since the enactment of Provisional Measure No. 2,186/2001 ("MP"), the Brazilian Biodiversity Law, (Federal Law No. 13,123/2015), was signed by President Dilma Roussef on May 20, 2015.  Industries, including the pharmaceutics, chemical, personal care, cosmetics, horticulture, agricultural seeds and inputs, food and biotechnology sectors, that exploit biodiversity are subject to the new law.                                    

The new law will come into force on 17th November this year.  It regulates access to genetic heritage components, protection and access to associated traditional knowledge and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits for preserving and sustaining Brazilian biodiversity. 

The new law repeals the MP, which has been extremely criticized by manufacturing companies and by the scientific community as being overly complex and bureaucratic.  Pursuant to the MP, authorization from the Federal Government was required to access genetic heritage or traditional knowledge in Brazil and the Federal Government took up to a year to issue this authorization.  Research conducted without the authorization of the Genetic Heritage Management Council was considered "biopiracy" under the MP.  There were also various restrictions on sharing benefits for preserving and sustaining Brazilian biodiversity.  In addition, the use and commercialization of products derived from genetic heritage for any purpose had to be submitted to inspection.  

The new law seeks to simplify and accelerate the process for scientific research with respect to native plants, animals, microbes and other materials containing functional units of heredity.  It also seeks to facilitate the process for economic exploitation of biodiversity resources and to innovate and develop scientific and technological research. 

One of the main highlights of the new law is the creation of an electronic registration system for companies interested in exploiting genetic heritage or associated traditional knowledge.  Pursuant to the new law, any company that, between June 30, 2000 and November 17, 2015, utilized genetic heritage or associated traditional knowledge and commercially exploited final product or materials derived from these has a year from the date the electronic registration system is put in place to comply with the requirements of the new law.  

However, if these companies have not become compliant with the MP within this one year period, the new law gives them the option of signing an agreement with the Federal Government in order to reduce certain liabilities stipulated in the MP.  For a company that had access to traditional knowledge and signs this agreement, the new law provides for a reduction of 90% (ninety per cent) of the amount of the penalties imposed by the relevant environmental authority (IBAMA – Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources). 

The new law establishes that the acquisition of genetic heritage component samples for scientific research, technological development, bioprospecting and for industrial or other purposes does not require government authorization.  However, article 13 sections I and II of the new law, establish that authorization from the National Defense Council is required in order to access genetic heritage or traditional knowledge in essential national security areas.  In addition, authorization from the relevant maritime authority is required if the genetic heritage access occurs in maritime regions within Brazilian jurisdictional waters, the continental shelf or Brazil's exclusive economic zone.     

It is also important to note that the new law protects local communities by establishing minimum royalties they are entitled to receive for economic exploitation of biodiversity resources in their region.  It also demands that companies share, with local communities and the National Fund for Sharing Benefit ("FNRB"), the profits arising from the sale of final products or materials derived from the exploitation of national genetic heritage or associated traditional knowledge. 

The FNRB was created by the new law and is under the jurisdiction of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment.  The FNRB will receive part of the funds generated from the exploitation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Small companies and suppliers are exempt from having to share their profits. 

Pursuant to the new law, companies that exploit genetic heritage are required to make a one-off payment to the FNRB of an amount equivalent to 1% (one per cent.) of their annual net sales revenue that results from the sale of a final product or materials derived from genetic resources.  However, the new law contemplates the reduction of the amount payable to FNRB if companies in the same sector collectively sign an agreement with the government to reduce such payment, in which case the law authorizes a reduction of up to 0.1 (point one per cent.) of the annual net sales revenue.   

The new law permits companies involved in utilizing traditional knowledge and communities that retain such knowledge to engage in free negotiations as to the sharing of benefits deriving from the exploitation of such knowledge.

Notwithstanding the innovations introduced by the Brazilian Biodiversity Law, IBAMA and private entities are currently discussing this law and more detailed regulations are expected to provide further clarification of the law.  For example, FNBR's activities and the electronic registration system stipulated in the new law need to be further regulated.  We are closely monitoring these discussions and will update our clients accordingly. 


1.  For additional information on Brazilian Biodiversity, please click here  

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.