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Programme of Work

The Programme of Work Revised

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The programme of work on Article 8(j) and related provisions is the main instrument that Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have given themselves to achieve the commitments in Article 8(j) to respect, preserve and maintain the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, to promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge.

In decision V/16 , adopted at its fifth meeting in May 2000, the Conference of the Parties decided to endorse the programme of work as contained in the annex to the decision (see below) and implement it giving priority to tasks 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 11, as well as 7 and 12, the latter to be initiated following completion of tasks 5, 9 and 11.

PROGRAMME OF WORK ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 8(j) AND RELATED PROVISIONS OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERISTY

Objectives

The objective of this programme of work is to promote within the framework of the Convention a just implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions, at local, national, regional and international levels and to ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities at all stages and levels of its implementation.

I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

1. Full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in all stages of the identification and implementation of the elements of the programme of work. Full and effective participation of women of indigenous and local communities in all activities of the programme of work.

2. Traditional knowledge should be valued, given the same respect and considered as useful and necessary as other forms of knowledge.

3. A holistic approach consistent with the spiritual and cultural values and customary practices of the indigenous and local communities and their rights to have control over their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.

4. The ecosystem approach is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in an equitable way. 5. Access to traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities should be subject to prior informed consent or prior informed approval from the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices.

II. TASKS OF THE FIRST PHASE OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK

Element 1. Participatory mechanisms for indigenous and local communities

Task 1. Parties to take measures to enhance and strengthen the capacity of indigenous and local communities to be effectively involved in decision-making related to the use of their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity subject to their prior informed approval and effective involvement.

Task 2. Parties to develop appropriate mechanisms, guidelines, legislation or other initiatives to foster and promote the effective participation of indigenous and local communities in decision-making, policy planning and development and implementation of the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity at international, regional, subregional, national and local levels, including access and benefit-sharing and the designation and management of protected areas, taking into account the ecosystem approach

Task 4. Parties to develop, as appropriate, mechanisms for promoting the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities with specific provisions for the full, active and effective participation of women in all elements of the programme of work, taking into account the need to:
(a) Build on the basis of their knowledge;
(b) Strengthen their access to biological diversity;
(c) Strengthen their capacity on matters pertaining to the conservation, maintenance and protection of biological diversity;
(d) Promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge;
(e) Promote culturally appropriate and gender specific ways in which to document and preserve women’s knowledge of biological diversity.

Element 2. Status and trends in relation to Article 8(j) and related provisions

Task 5. The Executive Secretary to prepare, for the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group, an outline of a composite report on the status and trends regarding the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities, a plan and a timetable for its preparation, based, inter alia, on advice submitted by Parties, Governments, indigenous and local communities and other relevant organizations regarding sources and availability of information on these matters. Parties, Governments and indigenous and local communities and other relevant organizations to submit the information and advice to address the requirements of this task and to Parties include in their national reports the current state of implementation of Article 8(j).

Element 4. Equitable sharing of benefits

Task 7. Based on tasks 1, 2 and 4, the Working Group to develop guidelines for the development of mechanisms, legislation or other appropriate initiatives to ensure: (i) that indigenous and local communities obtain a fair and equitable share of benefits arising from the use and application of their knowledge, innovations and practices; (ii) that private and public institutions interested in using such knowledge, practices and innovations obtain the prior informed approval of the indigenous and local communities; (iii) advancement of the identification of the obligations of countries of origin, as well as Parties and Governments where such knowledge, innovations and practices and the associated genetic resources are used. Element 5. Exchange and dissemination of information

Task 8. Identification of a focal point within the clearing-house mechanism to liaise with indigenous and local communities.

Element 6. Monitoring elements

Task 9. The Working Group to develop, in cooperation with indigenous and local communities, guidelines or recommendations for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding any development proposed to take place on sacred sites and on lands or waters occupied or used by indigenous and local communities. The guidelines and recommendations should ensure the participation of indigenous and local communities in the assessment and review.

Element 7. Legal elements

Task 11. The Working Group to assess existing subnational, as appropriate, national and international instruments, particularly intellectual property rights instruments, that may have implications on the protection of the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities with a view to identifying synergies between these instruments and the objectives of Article 8(j).

Task 12. The Working Group to develop guidelines that will assist Parties and Governments in the development of legislation or other mechanisms, as appropriate, to implement Article 8(j) and its related provisions (which could include sui generis systems), and definitions of relevant key terms and concepts in Article 8(j) and related provisions at international, regional and national levels, that recognize, safeguard and fully guarantee the rights of indigenous and local communities over their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, within the context of the Convention.

III. TASKS OF THE SECOND PHASE OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK

Element 1. Participatory mechanisms for indigenous and local communities

Task 3. On the request of the Executive Secretary, Parties and Governments, with the full participation of indigenous and local communities, would establish a roster of experts based on the methodologies used by the Conference of Parties, to allow the experts to support the implementation of this programme of work.

Element 3. Traditional cultural practices for conservation and sustainable use

Task 6. The Ad Hoc Working Group to develop guidelines for the respect, preservation and maintenance of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and their wider application in accordance with Article 8(j).

Task 13. The Ad Hoc Working Group to develop a set of guiding principles and standards to strengthen the use of traditional knowledge and other forms of knowledge for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking into account the role that traditional knowledge can play with respect to the ecosystem approach, in situ conservation, taxonomy, biodiversity monitoring and environmental impact assessments in all biodiversity sectors.

Task 14. The Ad Hoc Working Group to develop guidelines and proposals for the establishment of national incentive schemes for indigenous and local communities to preserve and maintain their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and for the application of such knowledge, innovations and practices in national strategies and programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity

Task 15. The Ad Hoc Working Group to develop guidelines that would facilitate repatriation of information, including cultural property, in accordance with Article 17, paragraph 2, of the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to facilitate the recovery of traditional knowledge of biological diversity.

Element 5. Exchange and dissemination of information

Task 16. The Executive Secretary to identify, compile and analyse, with the participation of indigenous and local communities, existing and customary codes of ethical conduct to guide the development of models for codes of ethical conduct for research, access to, use, exchange and management of information concerning traditional knowledge, innovations and practices for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Element 6. Monitoring elements

Task 10. The Ad Hoc Working Group to develop standards and guidelines for the reporting and prevention of unlawful appropriation of traditional knowledge and related genetic resources.

Task 17. The Executive Secretary to develop, in cooperation with Governments and indigenous and local communities, methods and criteria to assist in assessing the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions at the international, regional, national and local levels, and reporting of such in national reports in conformity with Article 26.

IV. WAYS AND MEANS

In developing and implementing the programme of work, the Executive Secretary shall solicit information from Parties, Governments, indigenous and local communities and other relevant organizations, and consult with the liaison group on Article 8(j) and related provisions. The Executive Secretary to develop, in consultation with indigenous and local communities, Parties, Governments, and relevant international organizations, a questionnaire, as a basis for the provision of information concerning: (i) existing instruments and activities relevant to the tasks of the programme of work; (ii) gaps and needs concerning the guidelines referred to in task 6 above; and (iii) priorities for the further development of the programme of work. The Executive Secretary to consult with and invite relevant international organizations to contribute to the implementation of this programme of work, also with a view to avoiding duplication and to encouraging synergies. This programme of work shall, as relevant, take into account the work of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing, and, as far as possible, be carried out in collaboration with other relevant organizations, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Parties, Governments, and international, regional and national organizations to provide appropriate financial support for the implementation of the programme of work.

At its sixth meeting, in decision VI/10 , the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the outline of the composite report on the status and trends regarding the knowledge, innovations, practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

Pursuant to paragraph 9 of the same decision, the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to undertake the first phase of the composite report, based upon elements 1 and 2 in the outline, and to submit the first phase report to the next meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions, which was held in Montreal from 8 to 12 December 2003.

Details regarding the preparation of the composite report are contained in the annex to decision decision VI/10 . The composite report (UNEP/CBD/WG8J/INF/1) and its regional components (Latin America, Asia, Europe, North America and Africa) were submitted to the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions and, subsequently, to the seven meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in February 2004.

At its seventh meeting, in decision VII/16 E, the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to continue work on phase one of the composite report in order to produce a revised version of it. Also, the Conference of the Parties requested through the national focal points in consultation with and after approval of indigenous and local communities and in consultation with and with input from Parties, Governments, relevant organizations, indigenous and local communities and all relevant stakeholders as appropriate, to immediately start work on a second phase of the composite report, laying emphasis on sections 4 and 5 of the outline of the composite report, foreseeing respectively the identification of national processes that may threaten the maintenance, preservation and application of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices and the identification of processes at the local community level that may threaten the maintenance, preservation and application of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices (decision VI/10, annex I).

At its eighth meeting, in decision VIII/5/B/I, paragraph 3, the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to further develop phase two of the composite report on the status and trends of traditional knowledge relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, in order to further developed the report taking on board the comments made at the fourth meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions and to produce a revised version of it.

In paragraph 5, on the Composite report, the Conference of the Parties, requested the Executive Secretary, to explore the possibility of developing technical guidelines for recording and documenting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, and to analyse the potential threats of such documentation to the rights of holders of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities.

In paragraph 6, of the same decision, the Conference of the Parties requested that further research be conducted, subject to the availability of resources, into highly vulnerable indigenous and local communities, inter alia, of the Artic, small island States and high altitudes, concerning the impacts of climate change and accelerated threats, such as pollution, drought and dessertification, to traditional knowledge, innovation and practices, with a focus on causes and solutions, with the outcomes of the research to be made available to the Working Group on Article 8(j) and related provisions for attention at its fifth meeting.

The Executive Secretary is also requested in paragraph 7, in consultation with Governments, international organizations, indigenous and local communities and all interested stakeholders, to research and prepare a report on possible measures to ensure respect for the rights of unprotected and voluntary isolated communities taking into account their traditional knowledge and the development of access and benefit-sharing regimes.

Finally, in paragraph 8, the Conference of the Parties decided to renew the mandate of the Advisory Group established by decisions VI/10 Annex I, paragraph 28(b), and VII/16E, paragraph 4(d), and to continue to provide advice on the further development of phase two of the composite report and, in particular, Element D, subject to the availability of resources.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme