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Experts' Panel on Access and Benefit-Sharing
4- 8 October, 1999
San Jose, Costa Rica

Daily coverage
11 October
Summary
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Our complete selection of previous days' images and RealAudio:

7 October 6 October
5 October 4 October

Final briefing

The Experts' Panel on Access and Benefit-Sharing met from 4-8 October 1999 in San José, Costa Rica. The meeting, co-hosted by the Governments of Costa Rica and Switzerland, with additional funding from Norway, drew together 58 experts representing governments, international organizations, academic institutions, NGOs, representatives of local and indigenous communities, and the private sector. Over the course of the meeting, experts focused their discussions on four substantive items: access and benefit-sharing arrangements for scientific and commercial purposes; review of legislative, administrative and policy measures at national and regional levels; review of regulatory procedures and incentive measures; and capacity building as a cross-cutting issue. The Panel resulted in a set of recommendations, including general conclusions as well as specific points on prior informed consent (PIC), mutually agreed terms (MAT), information needs and capacity building. These conclusions, as well as the Panel's report, will be forwarded to the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 2000. 
Editor’s Note: While participating experts are appointed by governments, they speak in their own capacities. For the purpose of brevity, experts’ remarks are attributed by country.

Photos and RealAudio for 8 October

Panel participants waiting for the arrival of documents on Friday morning.
BOLIVIA commented on the fact that some countries have developped national legislation on access before they have developped a "clear national startegy".
INDIA noted that all countries are providers and users of generic resources, and that they all need to develop access legislation
Tobias Stoll, Chair of the Sub-Working Group on IPR, introduces
the paragraphs of the report relating to his group's work to Plenary.
The Panel concluded that information is critical in providing the necessary parity of bargaining power for stakeholders in ABS arrangements, and thus more information is needed regarding user institutions, the market for genetic resources, non-monetary benefits, new and emerging mechanisms for benefit-sharing, intermediaries, incentive measures, and sui generis systems. Participants discussed the role of the GEF (left) in capacity building.
With regard to a conclusion suggesting that Parties without ABS legislation adopt voluntary measures and guidelines to provide legal certainty over ABS agreements, the US questioned how voluntary measures could provide legal certainty.
KENYA proposed suggesting that, in the absence of full and clear ABS legislation, Parties adopt voluntary measures to ensure that they meet the objectives of the Convention.
DENMARK emphasized the importance of legal certainty of MAT and opposed deleting the reference.

WRI remarked that while voluntary measures could not provide legal certainty, they could provide a step in the right direction. Delegates agreed to note the importance of legal certainty to MAT and accepted the suggestion made by Kenya.

The Panel was forced to re-locate for its final Plenary (below), since the meeting room was to host a gala event that evening with the Costa Rican President in attendance.
 

In his closing remarks, CBD Executive Secretary Zedan (left) commended participants on their constructive contributions and hard work throughout the meeting. He said these efforts would be reflected in the final report to be submitted to the CBD COP-5 and would guide the decision making of the COP.
Co-Chair Medaglia (Costa Rica, right) congratulated the participants on their work and, on behalf of his government, thanked them for making the meeting a success. He drew the meeting to a close at 9:00 pm. Center: Co-Chair Girsberger (Switzerland).

Biodiversity-related sites

bullet Linkages biodiversity page

bullet ENB coverage of the SBSTTA-4, Montreal

bullet ENB coverage of the BSWG-6, Cartagena

bullet Introduction to the CBD

bullet ENB coverage of CBD COP-4, Bratislava

bullet CBD Secretariat web site


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