Delegates See UN Protocol Against Biopiracy Within Reach 19/10/2010 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)NAGOYA, JAPAN – Prospects for completing and approving a protocol protecting natural resources from biopiracy and providing equitable sharing of benefits derived from the commercial use of those resources are promising, according to delegates. But hard negotiations lie ahead if they are to meet a deadline to present an agreed draft protocol to the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by the end of this week. Significant progress was made on the draft text just prior to the 18-29 October CBD Conference of the Parties (COP), with now half of the articles of the protocol finalised, Timothy Hodges, co-chair of the responsible working group, told Intellectual Property Watch today. After the text was submitted to the COP plenary on Monday, it was decided that the discussions to reach agreement on the rest of the protocol would take place as an Informal Consultative Group (ICG) on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). The ICG will meet alongside the COP plenary and report back on Friday. Co-chairs Fernando Casas of Colombia and Hodges of Canada are conducting discussions of the ICG. The third “part” of the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing ended 16 October. Resumed meetings had to be convened to continue discussions undertaken during the first session of the ad hoc group meeting in April, in Cali, Colombia, where consensus could not be found on a draft protocol. The last meeting was in late September in Montreal, which left a text that was still heavily bracketed, reflecting areas of disagreement (IPW, Biodiversity/Genetic Resources/Biotech, 28 September 2010). A new draft of the protocol was issued after the 16 October meeting and is included in the report of the working group [pdf]. The issue of compliance is “at the core of the protocol,” Hodges said. The relationship between the protocol and other international instruments, the sharing of pathogens, and traditional knowledge are some of the other issues that need to be resolved, according to sources. Even if the text is still bracketed, an African delegate told Intellectual Property Watch that a protocol could be agreed on during the COP. This is the 10th COP to the 1992 CBD, and delegates will also have to agree on a strategic plan for the next 10 years for the CBD. Today, the delegation of Brazil delivered a statement to the COP plenary on behalf of the Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, and the Asia-Pacific Like-Minded Countries. The head of the Brazilian delegation, Paulino Franco de Carvalho, said the group has “arrived in Nagoya with a spirit of compromise to work on the three important elements that constitute the indivisible package of the international biodiversity regime: the protocol on access and benefit-sharing, the strategic plan for the post-2010 period and the new strategy for resource mobilisation.” Franco de Carvalho said that the ABS protocol should include derivatives, with strong compliance measures. He called for the political will to conclude the protocol. Although there is optimism and country delegates are saying that they are coming with good will, some issues may be difficult. The issue of checkpoints, for example, in Article 13 of the draft protocol, is being heavily discussed and a lot of brackets remain in the text. Checkpoints are part of the monitoring and reporting on the use of genetic resources. Traditional knowledge might be included in this article of the protocol but the mention of it in the title of the article is also bracketed. Some countries have voiced concerns that the checkpoints could be the local intellectual property offices. Issues of compliance, utilisation, derivatives, the scope of the protocol, and pathogens are still contentious, a developing country delegate told Intellectual Property Watch. “We are hopeful” that countries will reach an agreement before the end of the week, she said. “There is a chance” it could happen, she added. The sharing of pathogens is directly related to discussions on Article 3bis, on the relationship between the protocol and existing international agreements, as this issue is also under the scope of other international organisations, such as the World Health Organization. The sharing of pathogens is referred to in Article 6, describing special considerations on research and emergency situations. Some sources told Intellectual Property Watch that this was a very political and sensitive issue. Greeting the delegates and attendees at the entrance of the Nagoya Congress Center, the Non-governmental Organisation caucus is protesting every morning with slogans like “The earth is not for sale” or “yes to rights equity and biodiversity” and are calling for more financial contributions from the Northern countries toward the protection of the biodiversity process. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Delegates See UN Protocol Against Biopiracy Within Reach" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.