Nagoya Protocol Access & Benefit-Sharing Meeting Kicks Off In New Delhi

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A key committee of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing treaty aimed at ensuring fair sharing of the benefits of genetic resources is meeting this week in New Delhi.

The intergovernmental committee of the Nagoya Protocol was established under the treaty as a body to lead preparations for the first meeting of the parties to the agreement. The first governing body meeting will be held alongside the next meeting of the governing body of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which it is a protocol.

This week’s meeting from 2-6 July is the second of the committee. The first took place in June 2011.

The meeting is expected to discuss issues such as: capacity building for implementation of the protocol; awareness raising; modalities of an ABS clearinghouse; procedures and mechanisms to promote compliance with the protocol; the agenda and rules of procedure for the first Conference of Parties (CoP) and Meeting of the Parties (MoP); and a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism, India said.

Participants include more than 500 delegates from 193 countries of the world, representing government, academia, UN organisations, civil society and indigenous and local communities, according to the hosts.

The Nagoya Protocol has been signed by 92 countries, and ratified by five. India signed the protocol on 11 May 2011, and is completing inter-ministerial consultations to ratify it, the government said in a release. The protocol will enter into force 90 days after the 50th ratification.

The Nagoya Protocol was agreed in October 2010 (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 29 October 2010).

Meanwhile, 100 ABS agreements have already been signed in the Government of India through the National Biodiversity Authority, and benefits have also begun to reach to communities, the government said.

The first meeting of the governing body of the protocol is expected to be held concurrently with a meeting of governing body of the CBD (the Conference of Parties).

The next meeting of the CBD Conference of Parties (CoP 11) will take place in Hyderabad, India from 8-19 October. The draft agenda [pdf] shows the Nagoya Protocol figuring prominently.

But in a 2 July press release, an Indian official indicated that it would be the following CBD CoP 12.

“Very few countries have domestic ABS mechanisms in place,” it said. “However, there was hope that the process of ratifying the Protocol would pick up fast ensuring an early entry into force of this treaty. He said that it was important to keep the momentum and work towards holding the first meeting of CoP/MoP concurrently with CoP-12.”

As described by India, the Nagoya Protocol on ABS “establishes a clear framework on how researchers and companies can obtain access to genetic resources and to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and how benefits arising from the use of such material or knowledge will be shared. The Protocol also sets out clear obligation for Parties to provide that users of genetic resources within their jurisdiction respect the domestic regulatory framework of Parties from where the resource has been accessed.”

An earlier press release on this week’s meeting is available here.

William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

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