What has been done on the ABS Clearing-House?

Developments since the entry into force of the Protocol

Fourth IAC meeting (December 2019)

The fourth meeting of the Informal Advisory Committee (IAC) to the ABS Clearing-House took place from 2 to 4 December 2019 in Montreal, Canada. The IAC was presented a review of progress in the implementation and administration of the ABS Clearing-House and proposed a number of recommendations to improve the functioning of the Clearing-House, including suggestions to improve the search and understandability of published information related to checkpoints and checkpoint communiqués. The Committee also identified and prioritized a number tasks for the further implementation and administration of the ABS Clearing-House. The report of the meeting will be made available to COP-MOP 4 and can be found along with other relevant documents on the CBD meeting webpage here: https://www.cbd.int/meetings/NP-ABSCH-IAC-2019-01.

Global Monitoring Workshop (September 2019)

The Secretariat organized a global capacity-building workshop on monitoring the utilization of genetic resources under the Nagoya Protocol. The workshop was held in Bonn from 30 September to 2 October 2019, with generous financial support provided by the European Union, the Governments of Japan (through the Japan Biodiversity Fund), and the Government of Germany (BfN). The goal of the workshop was to increase understanding and share practical experience on the Protocol’s system for monitoring the utilization of genetic resources through the ABS Clearing-House. Over the three days participants from 54 countries participated in training exercises, engaging role-playing activities, and compelling experience-sharing discussions in order to support the practical national implementation of the Protocol related to monitoring utilization. The report of the workshop and other information can be found on the CBD meeting webpage: https://www.cbd.int/meetings/NP-CB-WS-2019-01.

COP-MOP 3 (November 2018)

At its third meeting, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol (COP-MOP) considered the report on progress in the implementation and operation of the ABS Clearing-House and adopted decision NP-3/3, in which COP-MOP urged Parties that have not yet done so to publish all mandatory information available at the national level on the ABS Clearing-House and to provide information on their national ABS procedures through the voluntary common format on procedures, as available. Furthermore, COP-MOP decided that the Informal Advisory Committee will hold at least one meeting and informal online discussions as needed.

COP-MOP also endorsed joint modalities of operation for the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention, the Biosafety Clearing-House and the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House, contained in the annex of the decision 14/25, which are complementary to the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House adopted by COP-MOP in decision NP-1/2.

Third IAC meeting (November 2017)

The third meeting of the Informal Advisory Committee to the ABS Clearing-House took place from 14 to 16 November 2017 in Montreal, Canada. Among other things, the IAC discussed issues related to the internationally recognized certificates of compliance (IRCC) and the checkpoint communiqué as well as joint modalities of operation of the clearing-houses of the Convention and its two Protocols. A key recommendation was for the development of two new voluntary common formats to allow Governments to share information on their national model contractual clauses and ABS procedures. The new format on ABS Procedures is intended to provide a simple way for users to understand the basic steps for access to GR and TK. The report of the meeting will be made available to COP-MOP3.

COP-MOP 2 (December 2016)

At its second meeting, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol (COP-MOP) adopted decision NP-2/2 on the basis of a note prepared by the Executive Secretary (UNEP/CBD/NP/COP-MOP/2/3). In the decision, the COP-MOP urged Parties and encouraged non-Parties and others to make information available on the ABS Clearing-House, and requested several actions to be taken by the Executive Secretary, including continued implementation and administration of the ABS Clearing-House according to listed goals and priorities, continued technical support to Parties and others for the use of the ABS Clearing-House, and further refinement of the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House adopted at COP-MOP 1. COP-MOP 2 also decided to review the implementation and operation of the ABS Clearing-House as part of the assessment and review process under Article 31 of the Protocol.

Second IAC meeting (June 2016)

The Informal Advisory Committee met for the second time, from 20 to 22 June 2016 in Montreal, Canada and held online discussions. The IAC discussed the main features and functionalities implemented in the ABS Clearing-House for the constitution of the internationally recognized certificate of compliance and the checkpoint communiqué. The discussions resulted in a common understanding, and a basis to guide further work and capacity building of the internationally recognized certificate of compliance and checkpoint communiqué and the role they play to facilitate the monitoring of the utilization of genetic resources in the ABS Clearing-House.

First IAC meeting (October 2015)

The first meeting of the Informal Advisory Committee to the ABS Clearing-House was held in Montreal, Canada, from 28 to 30 October 2015. This included a joint session with the Informal Advisory Committee to the Clearing-House Mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity, on 30 October 2015. This meeting focused on improving the central portal and databases of the ABS Clearing-House with a view to making the Clearing-House more intuitive and user-friendly. The joint session looked at and provided input on the preliminary draft of the website strategy prepared by the Executive Secretary.

COP-MOP 1 (October 2014)

At its first meeting, 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). 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 urged Parties to make available to the ABS Clearing-House all mandatory information in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible and invited non-Parties, organizations and indigenous peoples and local communities to provide information to the ABS Clearing-House. The decisions also invited feedback about the operation and implementation of the ABS Clearing-House.

COP-MOP also agreed to the modalities of operation of the ABS Clearing-House (in annex to NP-1/2), 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. 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 and identify the different authorities interacting with the ABS Clearing-House (publishing authorities and national authorized users) and their functions.

Developments prior to the entry into force of the Protocol

Prior to entry into force of the Protocol, an interim body, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP), was established by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (decision X/1) to undertake the preparations for the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.

ICNP-3 (February 2014)

At the third meeting of the ICNP, Parties considered the report on progress prepared by the Executive Secretary (UNEP/CBD/ICNP/3/6) and the outcomes of the meeting of the IAC. In recommendation 3/4, the 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. It also requested the Executive Secretary to further refine the modalities of operation following all guidance and feedback received. The recommendation 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,

IAC meeting (Pilot phase - October 2013)

The Informal Advisory Committee for the pilot phase met once, from 2 to 4 October 2013 in Montreal, Canada and held 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.

ICNP-2 (July 2012)

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). At this meeting, the ICNP adopted recommendation 2/4, in which it 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 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP-11). Furthermore, the ICNP recommended that COP-11 decide on a process for further advancing the development of the ABS Clearing-House.

The Executive Secretary reported to COP-11 on further progress in the implementation of the ABS Clearing House (see section IV of document UNEP/CBD/COP/11/11). Among other things, the COP endorsed the indicative work plan and timeline for activities to take place until the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (decision XI/1 C).

ICNP-1 (June 2011)

At its first meeting, the ICNP considered the report of the expert meeting (document UNEP/CBD/ABS/EM-CH/1/4) and recommended that the first phase of the ABS Clearing-House be a pilot phase and requested the Executive Secretary to implement the phase in accordance with the guidance set out in the annex of recommendation 1/1.

Expert meeting (April 2011)

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 Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP) and to assist countries with the early ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol. To assist the experts in their deliberations, a study (UNEP/CBD/ABS/EM-CH/1/2) was commissioned by the Executive Secretary.