Daily Archives: April 3, 2009

UPDATE from Paris. 7th meeting of the ad hoc open-ended working group on access and benefit-sharing


We blogged some pre-meeting observations earlier this week (see lead link). Today Peter Munyi, Chief Legal Officer at ICIPE and consultant to CAS-IP sent the following update, and his observations:

“The negotiations towards an international regime on access and benefit sharing resumed officially on 2nd April at UNESCO, Paris.  The roadmap towards the regime is clear as outlined in CBD COP 9 in 2008.  The subject matter for negotiations during the next 7 days is the objective and scope of the international regime, as well as the main elements (benefit sharing, access and compliance). 

With regard to objective and scope of the international regime it is clear that pursuant to the programme of work laid out by CBD COP Decision IX/12, at the end of the next 7 days, the negotiators must come up with at least a finalized draft operative text.  If this does not happen, the earliest that negotiations on these two issues will be revisited will be in March 2010 during Working Group 9 or October 2010 in COP 10.  For compliance, the expectation is that parties will at least develop an advanced draft operative text that can be subjected to further negotiations in Working Group 8 in November 2009. 

There are a number of sticking issues in these negotiations.  The status of pre-CBD collections is one and whether they should be included in the scope of the regime.  Intellectual properties particularly in the context of benefit sharing, and also as an important check point in tracking material as well as disclosure of origin is another.  The intellectual property issue has trade implications, and how an understanding is reached towards the different viewpoints held by regions should be something to pay attention to as it may have implications on the dynamics of managing intellectual property in the future.  There are other sticking issues relating to the definition and understanding of derivatives; whether to include human genetic resources; whether to include pathogens, for example those subject to discussions at the World Health Organization relating to influenza flu viruses and, the relationship an international regime will have with other treaties of relevance.

For the CG centres, the debate and negotiations are important.  Genetic resources are the subject matter of their work.  How they will be accessed and shared in future is in the hands of the negotiators who obviously, do not include the CG Centres.  Since the negotiations must come to an end in COP 10 in October 2010, in less than 18 months therefore, there will be multilateral instrument that will regulate and facilitate access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.”