A major achievement of COP VI was the adoption of the Bonn guidelines on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their utilization (see Decision VI/24
The Guidelines were recognized as a useful first step of an evolutionary process in the implementation of relevant provisions of the Convention related to access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. They will be kept under review by the COP and the need for their further refinement will be considered on the basis of relevant developments under the Convention, including those on issues such as traditional knowledge and technology transfer.
The guidelines should assist Parties, Governments and other stakeholders in developing an overall access and benefit-sharing strategy, and in identifying the steps involved in the process of obtaining access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. More specifically, these voluntary guidelines are meant to assist Parties, Governments and other stakeholders when establishing legislative, administrative or policy measures on access and benefit-sharing and/or when negotiating contractual arrangements for access and benefit-sharing.
Parties and relevant organizations have been invited to provide financial and technical assistance to support developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing states, as well as countries with economies in transition, in implementing the Bonn Guidelines.
The second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, held in Montreal from 1 to 5 December 2003, considered experience gained from the use of the Bonn Guidelines, based on information shared by Parties and stakeholders.
The Conference of the Parties at its seventh meeting, in Decision VII/19
addressed the Bonn Guidelines under section A. The COP recognized “that the Guidelines are making a useful contribution to the development of national regimes and contractual arrangements for access and benefit-sharing and to the implementation of the objectives of the Convention”. It also recognized that some developing countries had encountered constraints due to inadequate capacity to fully utilize the guidelines in the formulation of their national access and benefit-sharing legislation. Parties, Governments, indigenous and local communities and all relevant stakeholders were invited to continue to promote the wide implementation of the voluntary Bonn Guidelines. They were also encouraged to submit further information on relevant experience and lessons learned, including successes and constraints, in the implementation of the Guidelines. The Executive Secretary is to make this information available through appropriate means, including the Clearing House Mechanism of the Convention. Other issues of relevance to the Bonn Guidelines were also addressed by the Conference of the Parties in Decision VII/19
, such as the use of terms, and other approaches, complementary to the Bonn Guidelines to assist with the implementation of the ABS provisions of the Convention.
At its eighth meeting, in decision VIII/4 B, the Conference of the Parties noted the progress already accomplished and urged Parties to continue implementing the Bonn Guidelines and to share experiences and lessons learned in their implementation as well as in the development and implementation of national and sub-national measures. Information provided to the Secretariat related to the implementation of the Bonn Guidelines has been compiled in information documents UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/5/INF/2