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Negotiations of an International Regime on ABS
Relevant documentation from the negotiations of the Protocol
WG ABS 3 and 4
The Working Group held its third meeting
in Bangkok, Thailand, from 14 to 18 February 2005 and its fourth meeting
in Granada, Spain, from 30 January to 3 February 2006. At these meetings, the Working Group, inter alia
, began negotiations for an international regime on access to genetic resources, in accordance with decision VII/19
D of the Conference of the Parties. It also addressed other approaches as set out in decision VI/24 B, including consideration of an international certificate of origin/source/legal provenance; and, measures, including consideration of their feasibility, practicality and costs, to support compliance with prior informed consent of the Contracting Party providing such resources and mutually agreed terms on which access was granted in Contracting Parties with users of genetic resources under their jurisdiction. Consideration of the issue of use of terms, definitions and/or glossary, as appropriate, was postponed until the negotiation of the international regime on access and benefit-sharing had reached a more advanced stage. On the issue of the Strategic Plan: future evaluation of progress – the need and possible options for indicators for access to genetic resources and in particular for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out from the utilization of genetic resources, it was recommended that the Working Group further address this issue at its fifth meeting. Recommendations to the eight meeting of the Conference of the Parties are included in the report of the fourth meeting. Click on the following links for the respective reports of the third
ABS at COP-8
The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties was held in Curitiba, Brazil, from 20 to 31 March 2006. Major outcomes related to the issue of access and benefit-sharing are set out in decision VIII/4
and include the following:
With respect to the international regime on access and benefit-sharing, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing was requested to continue the elaboration and negotiation of the international regime and was instructed to complete its work at the earliest possible time before the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (2010). The Executive Secretary was requested to make necessary arrangements for the Working Group to be convened twice before the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. In addition, Mr. Timothy Hodges
from Canada and Mr. Fernando Casas
from Colombia were designated as Co-Chairs for the Working Group for the purposes of the elaboration and negotiation of the international regime.
The Conference of the Parties also decided “to establish a group of technical experts to explore and elaborate the possible options, without prejudging their desirability, for the form, intent and functioning of an internationally recognised certificate of origin/source/legal provenance and analyse its practicality, feasibility, costs and benefits, with a view to achieving the objectives of Article 15 and 8(j) of the Convention.”
In addition, the Conference of the Parties noted the progress made in the implementation of the Bonn Guidelines and invited Parties to submit reports on their experiences in implementing Article 15 at the national level. The COP requested the Working Group at its fifth and sixth meetings to further consider measures to support compliance with prior informed consent of the contracting Party providing genetic resources and mutually agreed terms on which access was granted in contracting Parties with users of such resources under their jurisdiction. It also requested the Executive Secretary to renew the application for accreditation of the Convention on Biological Diversity as an observer at the Council on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Finally, in relation to the strategic plan, the COP requested the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing at its fifth meeting to further address the need and possible options for indicators for access to genetic resources and in particular for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.
Expert Meeting on an Internationally Recognized Certificate of Origin/Source/Legal Provenance
The meeting of the group of technical experts on an internationally recognized certificate of origin/source/legal provenance, was held in Lima, Peru, from 22 to 25 January 2007. The report of the meeting provides technical input to the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing with respect to the issue of an internationally recognized certificate. For the final report, click here
WG ABS 5 and 6
The Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing held its fifth
meeting in Montreal, Canada, from 8 to 12 October 2007, and its sixth
meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 21 to 25 January 2008. In line with decision VIII/4
of the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, the Working Group continued the elaboration and negotiation of the international regime on access and benefit-sharing. Recommendations to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties on the way forward are included in the report of the sixth meeting. Click on the following links for the respective reports of the fifth
ABS at COP-9
At its ninth meeting in Bonn, in May 2008, in decision IX/12
, paragraph 2, the COP reiterated its instruction to the Working Group to complete the elaboration and negotiation of the international regime at the earliest possible time before the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. In paragraph 3, the Conference of the Parties further instructed the Working Group to finalize the international regime and to submit for consideration and adoption by the Conference of the Parties at its tenth meeting an instrument\instruments to effectively implement the provisions in Article 15 and Article 8(j) of the Convention and its three objectives, without in any way prejudging or precluding any outcome regarding the nature of such instrument\instruments. The Conference of the Parties also decided that the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing should meet three times prior to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in the first quarter of 2009
, the third quarter of 2009
and by the second quarter of 2010
. In addition, the COP decided to establish three distinct groups of technical and legal experts to assist the Working Group.
Furthermore, the COP stressed the importance of effective participation of indigenous and local communities by encouraging Parties, other Governments, international organizations and all relevant stakeholders to support sufficient preparation and effective participation of indigenous and local communities in the ongoing negotiations. The COP invited Parties, donors and other interested bodies to financially support indigenous and local communities to hold their own national and regional workshops. Finally, as requested by the COP, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions, at its sixth
meeting, continued to collaborate and contribute to the fulfillment of the mandate of the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing by providing views on the negotiation of the international regime.
Expert Meetings between COP-9 and COP-10
As requested by Parties at COP-9, three expert meetings were held to assist the Working Group on ABS by providing legal and, as appropriate, technical advice, including, where appropriate, options and/or scenarios on issues related to (i) compliance
; (ii) concepts, terms, working definitions and sectoral approaches;
and (iii) traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources
. The meeting of the group of legal and technical experts on concepts, terms, working definitions and sectoral approaches took place in Windhoek, Namibia, from 2 to 5 December 2008. The meeting of the group of legal and technical experts on compliance took place in Tokyo, Japan, from 27 to 30 January 2009. And, the meeting of the group of Technical and Legal Experts on Traditional Knowledge associated with Genetic Resources took place in Hyderabad, India, from 16 to 19 June 2009. Please click the respective links above for the meeting reports.
WG ABS 7
meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing took place in Paris, France, from 1 to 8 April 2009. In line with decision IX/12
of the Conference of the Parties, the Working Group addressed objective, scope, compliance, fair and equitable benefit-sharing and access and entered into negotiations of operational text on these issues.
WG ABS 8
At its eighth
meeting, in Montreal, Canada, from 9 to 15 November 2009, the Working Group addressed the components of the International Regime related to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, capacity-building, compliance, fair and equitable benefit-sharing, and access. For the first time, Parties agreed on a single negotiating text referred to as the “Montreal Annex” incorporating all the elements of the International Regime. Progress was also made on the nature of the International Regime.
Meetings convened by the Co-Chairs of the Working Group
At COP-9, Parties emphasized the importance of consultations to advance the negotiations of the international regime on ABS and requested the Co-Chairs of the Working Group to be instrumental in organizing and facilitating such consultations during the intersessional period.
As part of the inter-sessional work prior to WG ABS 9, the Co-Chairs convened two informal meetings:
- ABS Friends of the Co-Chairs Meeting (FoCC), Montreal, Canada, 26-29 January 2010
- ABS Co-Chairs Informal Inter-regional Consultation (CIIC), Cali, Colombia, 16-18 March 2010
In addition, thanks to the support of UNEP, in collaboration with the Co-Chairs and the CBD Secretariat, regional consultations in support of the negotiations of the international regime were also held prior to WG-ABS 9, as follows:
WG ABS 9
- Access and Benefit-sharing Regional Consultations for Asia, Siem Reap, Cambodia, 5-6 December 2009
- Access and Benefit-sharing Regional Consultations for Latin America and Caribbean Countries, Panama City, Panama, 15-16 January 2010
- Access and Benefit-sharing Regional Consultations for Central and Eastern European Countries, Isle of Vilm, Germany, 9-10 February 2010
- Access and Benefit-sharing Regional Consultations for the Pacific, Auckland, New Zealand, 15-16 February 2010
- Access and Benefit-sharing Regional Consultations for Africa, Windhoek, Namibia, 4-6 March 2010
At the ninth meeting of the Working Group (WG-ABS 9)
in Cali, Colombia, from 22 to 28 March 2010, a draft Protocol was tabled by the Co-Chairs and accepted by Parties as a basis for further negotiations. However, it was not possible to finalize the text at this session, and the Working Group therefore decided to suspend the meeting at the end of the seven days and to resume the ninth meeting of the Working Group in order for it to complete its mandate.
Resumed WG ABS 9
The first session of the resumed ninth meeting of the Working Group (WG-ABS 9 Resumed)
was held in Montreal, Canada, from 10 to 16 July 2010. Following a proposal by the Co-Chairs, the Working Group convened an Interregional Negotiating Group (ING) to continue negotiations of the draft Protocol. Parties made significant progress in reaching a common understanding on core issues, such as the compliance, access, benefit-sharing including derivatives, as well as the relationship of the Protocol to other international instruments. However, the Working Group was unable to finalize the text and recognized that further work was needed in order to meet its objective of submitting a draft Protocol for adoption by the tenth Conference of the Parties. The Working Group therefore decided to reconvene the ING and that the ninth meeting of the Working Group would resume prior to COP-10, to endorse the work of the ING and forward recommendations to Parties.
Following the recommendations from the Working Group, the ING resumed its work in Montreal
, Canada, from 18 to 21 September 2010, and in Nagoya
, Japan, from 13 to 15 October 2010. Significant progress in the negotiations of the draft Protocol was made during both ING meetings, but the group was not able to finalize the negotiating text. The second
session of the resumed ninth meeting of the Working Group was held on 16 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan, during which it endorsed the work of the ING and forwarded a draft Protocol on ABS for the consideration of Parties at COP-10.