Biodiversity Negotiators Move Treaty Text Forward; Deadline Pushed To Monday 22/10/2010 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 – Officials negotiating this week on an international agreement to stop misuse of genetic resources appear to have reached minimal consensus on additional articles of the draft text under negotiation, though many specific areas of disagreement were resolved, they said. A Friday deadline for completion was pushed to Monday in the hope they can resolve deeper differences on fundamental issues such as traditional knowledge and compliance. The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is taking place from 18-29 October in Nagoya. The 10th session is supposed to see the approval of a legally binding protocol to end biopiracy and insure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from genetic resources. On 22 October, co-chairs of the negotiating working group, Timothy Hodges of Canada and Fernando Casas of Colombia, presented the results of a week of closed door negotiations to the plenary meeting of the convention and had to admit that the deadline was too short and requested that it be extended. “We are negotiating an international treaty,” which is unique in the context of the COP, said Casas. “A significant portion of the articles have been agreed on, he said, but as “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” he said, pleading for time. A scene from this week's negotiations.[Update: a new draft text was released late on 22 October, available here.] No new text [had] been released this week. The [previous] working draft text is from the start of the meeting, and is available here [pdf]. There are more than 30 articles in the draft text. Up to now, negotiators have reached consensus on about half of the articles in the draft text, such as conservation, national authorities and model contracts, according to the chairs. Areas of agreement so far include: Article 7 on contribution to conservation and sustainable use; Article 8 on transboundary cooperation; Article 10 on national focal points and competent national authorities; Article 15 on model contractual clauses; Article 16 on codes of conduct, guidelines and best practices and/or standards; Article 18ter on non-parties; Article 22 on the secretariat; Article 30 on authentic texts. Negotiators said that many brackets (which signify disagreement) were removed during the week. Core Issues Still Pending Several key articles that could make or break the overall agreement are still pending, according to sources. These include Article 9 on traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, in particular paragraph 5 on the specific topic of publicly available traditional knowledge; Article 12 on compliance with domestic legislation or regulatory requirements on access and benefit-sharing; Article 17 on awareness-raising; Article 18 on capacity building; Article 18bis on technology transfer and cooperation; Article 19 on financial mechanism and resources, with only one bracket remaining in the text. According to Casas, the main outstanding issues remain on compliance, which is “at the very core of the protocol.” Several articles relate to compliance. Also pending is Article 13 on monitoring, tracking and reporting on the utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. Additional pending articles are: Article 13bis on non-compliance with mandatory disclosure requirements, Article 14 on compliance with mutually agreed terms, Article 14 bis on the international access and benefit-sharing ombudsperson. Advances have been made on traditional knowledge, Casas said. Article 4 on fair and equitable benefit sharing has not been addressed, he said, and the same stands for Article 5 on access to genetic resources. Article 6 on research and emergency situations has been discussed, Casas said, and Article 3 on the scope of the protocol is underway once timing of protocol is agreed. The preamble to the protocol still needs to be addressed as well, he said. The text has been changed by the chairs following negotiations between delegates, but the changes are not public yet. Hodges described the good spirit of the group and of all stakeholders participating in the discussions such as industry, indigenous peoples and civil society. He recommended that the deadline be extended until Monday. In a press conference later in the afternoon, he said the plenary meeting would have the draft protocol on Monday morning. He said that the draft decision is key for paving the way for ratification and entry into force of the protocol. He hoped that when the negotiators return to the table on Saturday afternoon, they return “better prepared” with revised instructions to reach a compromise solution. Several country delegates in the plenary spoke in favour of the extension of the deadline for submission of the draft protocol. Malawi, on behalf of Africa, agreed with the extension but urged an acceleration of the process, and warned against a “tendency” of certain delegations to open up issues that were already approved in previous meetings. The president of the COP 10, Ryu Matsumoto, minister of the environment of Japan, extended the mandate of the group until Monday, asking that the assembly present decisions to the ministers when they arrive next week. Background On Monday, a working group called the Informal Consultative Group (ICG) was formed to continue discussions on the draft text. The first draft of the CBD Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization was written in March, in Cali, Colombia, at the ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing in Cali, Colombia. Since then delegates have tried to find common language on the articles of the text which was heavily bracketed. The ICG was given until Friday afternoon to conclude negotiations, finalise the draft protocol, and deliver it to the plenary. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org."Biodiversity Negotiators Move Treaty Text Forward; Deadline Pushed To Monday" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.