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What has been done on the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House?

Developments prior to entry into force of the Protocol

Work has been carried out on the development of the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House since the adoption of the Protocol. Prior to the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP), an expert meeting on the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House was held in April 2011 to examine practical considerations related to the establishment of the ABS Clearing-House with a view to provide input to the first meeting of the ICNP and to assist countries with the early ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. To assist the experts in their deliberations, a study (document UNEP/CBD/ABS/EM-CH/1/2) was commissioned on the issue by the Executive Secretary. The report of the expert meeting (document UNEP/CBD/ABS/EM-CH/1/4) was put forward to the first meeting of the ICNP for its consideration.

At the first meeting of the ICNP, Parties recommended that the first phase of the ABS Clearing-House be a pilot phase and requested the Executive Secretary to implement the pilot phase in accordance with the guidance set out in the annex of recommendation 1/1.

At its second meeting , the ICNP considered the report on the progress made in the implementation of the pilot phase of the ABS Clearing-House, the suggested mechanisms and applications to be developed during the pilot phase (document UNEP/CBD/ICNP/2/8) and the draft modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House (document UNEP/CBD/ICNP/2/9).

In its recommendation 2/4, the ICNP took note of the suggestions put forward by the Executive Secretary with respect to the development of the pilot phase of the ABS Clearing-House and requested the Executive Secretary to report on further progress made in its implementation at the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention. Furthermore, the ICNP recommended that COP-11 decide on a process forward for further advancing the development of the ABS Clearing-House.

The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in decision XI/1, endorsed the indicative work plan and timeline for activities to take place until the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, as contained in document UNEP/CBD/COP/11/11 and decided to establish an informal advisory committee (IAC) to assist the Executive Secretary with the implementation of the pilot phase and to provide technical guidance with respect to the resolution of technical issues.

The decision also included a request to the Executive Secretary to report on progress made in the implementation of the pilot phase, including on the registration of information related to national permits or their equivalents and on technical issues concerning the establishment of the international recognized certificate of compliance, and to refine the draft modalities of operation, taking into account the experience acquired during the pilot phase, for their consideration by the third meeting of the ICNP.

The Informal Advisory Committee for the pilot phase met once, from 2 to 4 October 2013 in Montreal, Canada and hold online discussions. The IAC considered a report on progress and priorities for future Implementation of the pilot phase of the ABS Clearing-House, including the common formats proposed by the Executive Secretary for making information available to the ABS Clearing-House and the nomination and role of the different authorities dealing with the ABS Clearing-House. The outcomes of the meeting were made available to third meeting of the ICNP.

At the third meeting of the ICNP, Parties considered the report on progress prepared by the Executive Secretary (UNEP/CBD/ICNP/3/6). In recommendation 3/4, ICNP invited Parties to designate a publishing authority and/or one or more national authorized users with a view to having a fully functional ABS Clearing-House by the time of entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol and encouraged participation and feedback. ICNP also requested the Executive Secretary to further refine the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House following all guidance and feedback received. The decision also invited views on a number of issues related to the modalities of involvement of indigenous and local communities in the ABS Clearing-House and requested the Executive Secretary to prepare a synthesis of views,

Developments after entry into force of the Protocol

Following the entry into force of the Protocol on 12 October 2014, the first meeting of the COP-MOP was held from 13 to 17 October 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. The meeting of the COP-MOP adopted decision NP-1/2 on the basis of the documents prepared by the Executive Secretary (UNEP/CBD/NP/COP-MOP/1/2 and UNEP/CBD/NP/COP-MOP/1/2/ADD1) for the meeting. The COP-MOP decided to establish an informal advisory committee ( IAC) to assist the Executive Secretary with the implementation of the ABS Clearing-House and to provide technical guidance with respect to the resolution of technical and practical issues arising from its ongoing development. The decision urges Parties to make available to the ABS Clearing-House all mandatory information in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible and encouraged the provision of information to the ABS Clearing-House and feedback about its operation and implementation.

Finally, COP-MOP also agreed to the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House, and requested the Executive Secretary to implement the ABS Clearing-House accordingly and further refine the modalities of operation, taking into account progress made, the advice given by the IAC, and feedback received for their consideration by COP-MOP-2

The modalities of operation describe the functions of the Secretariat in administering the ABS Clearing-House, the role of Parties and non-Parties with respect to the exchange of information through the ABS Clearing-House and identified different authorities interacting with the ABS Clearing-House (publishing authorities and national authorized users) and their functions.

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