CBD Meeting Focuses On Access To Genetic Resources, Benefit Sharing26/01/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.Member governments of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), meeting in Granada, Spain, have been urged by the secretariat to make progress next week on the development of a global regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.This week, the members are discussing issues related to the protection and promotion of traditional knowledge.The decision to develop a system for controlling access to genetic resources and sharing the benefits of commercializing such resources was a response to a call for action by heads of states at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, according to the CBD.The 1992 CBD, whose secretariat is in Montreal, established three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.The issue of access and benefit sharing was one of the intellectual property rights items at the December World Trade Organization ministerial in Hong Kong (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 16 December 2005). Members of the CBD also have signed up to the 2002 Bonn Guidelines, which advise on user conditions as well as benefits to the countries of origin.The CBD said it would be in all parties’ interest to develop such a regime. At the moment, users such as the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries are displeased with what they term the uncertainties surrounding access and benefit sharing, while the providers of the resources, which are most often developing countries, are not satisfied with what they say is an unequal sharing of the commercial exploitation.The first negotiating session on international regulations on these issues took place in Bangkok in February 2005. The second negotiation will take place from 30 January to 3 February in Granada. This will be the fourth meeting of the ad-hoc open-ended working group on access and benefit-sharing, which launched negotiations in its third meeting.At the Bangkok meeting, various proposals for access and benefit sharing were put forward such as to establish a “certificate of origin” or the “disclosure of origin” in patent applications for intellectual property rights, the CBD said. These proposals will be further discussed in Granada, according to the preliminary programme. The international regime will be discussed in terms of nature, scope, objectives and elements for inclusion.“My hope is that this meeting in Granada will mark a turning point in the negotiations and will thus be remembered as the one during which all countries decided to roll up their sleeves and achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations,” Ahmed Djoghlaf, the convention’s executive secretary, said in a release.“A mutually agreed lasting solution is in the interest of all parties concerned,” Djoghlaf added. “It is also a powerful instrument for fighting poverty in poor countries endowed with tremendous biological resources.”Among those taking part in side events this week are various governments, the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation, the European Commission, the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the World Conservation Union and the new American BioIndustry Alliance (ABIA).Jacques Gorlin, president of ABIA told Intellectual Property Watch that the group welcomes the opportunity “to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of the biotechnology business model and of the ABS [access and benefit sharing] elements that will provide meaningful benefits. The ABIA and its member companies support access and benefit sharing and look forward to working with other stakeholders in developing a scheme that will avoid the imposition of any additional disclosure obligations in patent applications relating to biotech inventions.”Article 8(j) on Traditional KnowledgeThis week the ad-hoc open-ended inter-sessional working group on article 8(j) and related provisions of the CBD is taking place in Granada (23-27 January). This is the fourth meeting of the working group that was especially established six years ago to preserve and promote the traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities, Djoghlaf said in his opening statement.A CBD spokesperson said on 25 January that the meeting is making comments on a “composite status draft report which outlines trends, forces and drivers” within the area of traditional knowledge, and is based on research and findings from all over the world. The meeting hopes to make recommendations on policies, he said.Also on the agenda of the first week is the impact of the “use of genetic use restriction technologies” on indigenous people, as well as develop input on the impact of an international access and benefit sharing system on indigenous people, to be forwarded to next week’s meeting the spokesperson said.Article 8(j) of the CBD relates to the respect, preservation and maintenance of knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous and local communities, according to the CBD. It notes that at the seventh meeting of the CBD parties in Malaysia in 2004, a series of decisions pertaining to the programme of work on article 8(j) and related provisions, and a working group has been established for this area.The CBD said that, “Many governments are now in the process of implementing Article 8(j) of the convention through their national biodiversity action plans, strategies and programmes.”Side events at this week’s meeting will be held by, among others: The World Bank, Asia Indigenous Peoples Act, Forest Peoples Programme, and WIPO.Separately, CBD issues also are under discussion at WIPO under the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. The next meeting will take place in Geneva on 24-28 April.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"CBD Meeting Focuses On Access To Genetic Resources, Benefit Sharing" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.