Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 09 No. 254
Wednesday, 19 March 2003
TUESDAY, 18 MARCH 2003
Delegates convened in two working groups
throughout the day. Working Group I (WG-I) considered modalities for
an international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), legal
and socioeconomic aspects of technology transfer and cooperation,
and the CBD contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)
and the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) process. Working
Group II (WG-II) addressed the multi-year programme of work for the
Conference of the Parties (COP) up to 2010 (MYPOW-2010), and the
A brief Plenary session was held in the afternoon
to review progress. A Friends of the Chair group met in the evening
to further discuss MYPOW-2010, and informal consultations were held
WORKING GROUP I
WG-I Chair Verma (India) explained that,
following a decision by the COP Bureau, WG-I would address CBD’s
contribution to the MDG and the overall CSD process as new agenda
ACCESS AND BENEFIT SHARING: BURKINA FASO and
IRAN said the regime should include both access and benefit-sharing.
EL SALVADOR said it should recognize sovereign rights over natural
resources, and the right to adopt relevant national legislation.
INDIA stressed that conflicts with intellectual property rights (IPR)
and the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights’ impact on national action for benefit-sharing, and
DENMARK called for mutual supportiveness between IPR systems and ABS
under the CBD. Many underscored capacity building and the role of
indigenous and local communities. TURKEY said the regime should
address ex situ genetic resources, interlinkages with
technology transfer, and consistency with relevant international
instruments. GUINEA called for indigenous and local communities’
prior informed consent (PIC).
NEW ZEALAND called for focusing on the regime’s
scope rather than its nature. Many developing countries called for a
legally binding regime based on the Bonn Guidelines, noting that a
voluntary regime would not guarantee fair and equitable
benefit-sharing. MALAYSIA stressed the need for a compliance
mechanism. While Cameroon, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, noted
that COP-6 adopted the Bonn Guidelines on ABS as the first step
towards a legally binding instrument, the US recalled that WSSD
delegates purposefully avoided reference to a "binding" regime.
AUSTRALIA noted that negotiations for a legally binding instrument
could compromise work under the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) and result in uncertainty for industry.
The US stressed mutual supportiveness between the
CBD and relevant organizations, and a stepwise approach to identify
gaps in implementation of the Bonn Guidelines. FRANCE prioritized
implementing existing instruments, and GERMANY and AUSTRALIA
suggested assessing the Bonn Guidelines’ implementation. The
NETHERLANDS urged ratification of the International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
INDIA, MALAYSIA and the AFRICAN GROUP recommended
that the ABS Working Group further discuss the regime, with the
AFRICAN GROUP suggesting that COP-7 establish an intergovernmental
committee to initiate negotiations on an international legally
binding instrument. NEW ZEALAND requested that the Secretariat
analyze information on national ABS measures. DENMARK said the ABS
Working Group should promote compliance with the Bonn Guidelines,
and ITALY suggested that discussion focus on identified gaps.
The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY stressed lack of
information on measures adopted by user countries. The FAO
highlighted developments in the framework of its Commission on
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The INTERNATIONAL
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE said that negotiating an international regime
may discourage the Guidelines’ application.
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: The Secretariat
introduced a document on legal and socioeconomic aspects of
technology transfer and cooperation (UNEP/CBD/MYPOW/5).
CANADA emphasized that funding requests should
originate in recipient countries. INDIA proposed a financial
mechanism to compensate owners of technology and a fund to assist
with access to patented technologies. SWITZERLAND opposed the GEF
providing funds, and suggested restructuring the recommendations
using a stepwise approach.
TURKEY called for categorizing technologies
according to their importance for conservation and sustainable use.
CANADA said a list of technologies may not respond to adaptation to
local circumstances. GREECE, on behalf of the EU, highlighted the
need for: a broader scope and definition of technology transfer;
financial and non-financial support to recipient countries; and
facilitation of access to patents, including through the
Clearing-house Mechanism (CHM). CANADA and the EU stressed the need
for incentives, including IPR protection. KENYA called for
assistance to develop IPR legislation and empowering local
technologies. The US noted that lack of IPR protection is an
impediment to technology transfer. SPAIN highlighted patents as a
means of information on technology. MEXICO suggested analyzing the
differences between public domain and private technologies, and
convening regional workshops for information exchange. NEW ZEALAND
highlighted public domain technologies that benefit conservation and
sustainable use. WIPO highlighted its relevant work and offered
contributing to the review of IPRs’impacts on technology transfer.
COLOMBIA recommended that: the ABS Working Group
consider options for discussion by COP; the Secretariat propose
transfer mechanisms; and matters related to technology adaptation,
including biotechnology, be addressed by relevant CBD structures.
NORWAY highlighted use of the CHM, ways for technology transfer on
preferential terms, and including the private sector in CBD’s work.
The AFRICAN GROUP called for adaptive and country-driven technology
transfer, capacity building, and an information exchange mechanism.
CHINA suggested analyzing and drawing upon technology transfer and
cooperation mechanisms under other conventions, selecting best
practical technologies for developing a technology transfer
programme, and helping developing countries to identify technology
needs. CAMEROON highlighted partnerships and joint research
programme focusing on custodians’ rights. IRAN raised concerns over
considering traditional technologies and knowledge as economic
assets, noted the benefits of patentability, said user countries
should encourage technology transfer, and stressed the need for
preferential rules. BURKINA FASO suggested encouraging cooperation
from regional donors.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
AND THE CSD PROCESS: The Secretariat noted absence of CBD
documents on the issue, noting that it had been added to the
meeting’s agenda by the COP Bureau at its morning session. Several
delegates welcomed the opportunity to discuss the item. ARGENTINA
and COLOMBIA opposed considering the issue at this meeting, noting
its late inclusion on the agenda. CAMEROON and the NETHERLANDS
highlighted the links between the MDG and biodiversity. The
NETHERLANDS stressed the need for a monitoring process and for
continuing participation of the CBD Executive Secretary in the CSD.
BURKINA FASO recommended considering some MDG and issues under the
CSD process as new themes for future CBD work programmes. KENYA and
NORWAY suggested the Executive Secretary prepare a paper on this
item for discussion at COP-7. DENMARK suggested that MYPOW highlight
and formalize CBD participation in the CSD process and
implementation of the MDG.
WORKING GROUP II
MYPOW-2010: The Secretariat introduced the
documents on MYPOW-2010 (UNEP/CBD/MYPOW/4 and Add.1). Many supported
a SBSTTA-8 recommendation not to add any new items to the COP’s
agenda, with exception of island biodiversity, which the SEYCHELLES
proposed as an item for in-depth review at COP-8. MOZAMBIQUE
suggested considering capacity building at COP-7. BANGLADESH
proposed that climate change be considered at COP-8, rather than
COP-10. NORWAY stressed addressing health and, with CANADA, poverty
reduction in a ministerial segment. ARGENTINA, AUSTRALIA and the
RUSSIAN FEDERATION recommended focusing on issues of common interest
to all Parties up to COP-10. GERMANY, supported by ETHIOPIA and
FIJI, recalled that review of the implementation of the forest work
programme should be completed by COP-8. The EU proposed addressing
biodiversity, poverty, and human health in a ministerial session.
NEW ZEALAND, supported by many, suggested the
proposed agenda items be considered in three-year’s cycles,
allocating six items to each COP, and four to each SBSTTA meeting.
NEW ZEALAND proposed reviewing the Strategic Plan’s and the
Convention’s implementation at each COP. MEXICO requested assessing
implementation costs of each theme up to 2010. The EU proposed: a
standardized format for work programmes; avoiding duplicating work
programmes; and with IRAN and NORWAY, streamlining COP’s agenda and
cross-cutting issues. KENYA requested that capacity building become
a cross-cutting issue and, supported by CANADA and NORWAY, progress
towards the 2010 target be discussed by each COP. HUNGARY proposed
evaluating the status and trends of biodiversity at each COP and
SBSTTA meeting. INDONESIA called for partnerships between developed
and developing countries, and for building public awareness. The
CANADIAN INDIGENOUS BIODIVERSITY NETWORK said indigenous and local
communities should be involved at all levels of decision making, and
their interests be taken into account within all agenda items.
In the afternoon, delegates considered a Chair’s
paper on MYPOW-2010, including: issues for in-depth consideration
and in-depth review; and development and strategic issues to be
incorporated into existing work programmes. ERITREA and TURKEY,
opposed by BRAZIL and MEXICO, requested that agricultural
biodiversity be considered at COP-8. ARGENTINA, BRAZIL and COLOMBIA
suggested postponing forest biodiversity to COP-9. CHINA recommended
dividing COP’s issues into comprehensive and specialized issues, and
addressing environmental impact assessment at COP-7 or COP-8, while
deleting climate change from the COP-10 agenda. A Friends of the
Chair group was formed to further discuss the issue.
STRATEGIC PLAN: The Secretariat introduced a
Chair’s text on the implementation of the Convention and the
Strategic Plan. A number of Parties suggested minor editorial and
structural amendments. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION requested reference to
countries with economies in transition, and the MALDIVES to small
island developing states in text on national reporting. JAMAICA
highlighted promotion of stakeholders’ involvement, and CANADA
emphasized indigenous and local communities. CANADA said references
to the extension of the mandate of the expert working group on
indicators and to the liaison group on progress in implementation
should be kept separate. NORWAY said that a small liaison group
could help developing targets for implementation, with UNEP
providing support mechanisms for implementation.
WG -I Chair Verma reported on progress in WG-I
deliberations, highlighting preparations of a conference room paper
(CRP) on ABS and a Chairï¿½s text on technology transfer and
cooperation. WG-II Chair Beltram (Slovenia) reported that WG-II had
considered a Chairï¿½s summary on the Strategic Plan and that a
Friends of the Chair group was scheduled to meet in the evening to
further discuss MYPOW-2010.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As MYPOW entered full speed, working group
discussions were overshadowed by the prospects of a war in Iraq,
many delegates noting that they may have to depart before the end of
the meeting. This, added to frustrations over unexpected last minute
inclusion of new items to the meetingï¿½s agenda, generated concerns
regarding the quality of contributions to the discussions on issues
of crucial importance for the CBDï¿½s future. Some noted that this was
likely to undermine the preparation of a solid foundation for CBDï¿½s
work for the next decade.
Discouraged WG-II participants noted that
discussions on MYPOW were spinning a vicious circle, despite
SBSTTA-8 recommendation not to add any new issues up to 2010.
On the positive end, late evening consultations
on an international regime on ABS left delegates cautiously
optimistic that a compromise at this meeting would lay the
foundation for substantial advances on the issue by the ABS Working
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: WG-I will convene at 10:00
am to consider a CRP on ABS, a Chairï¿½s text on technology transfer,
and further discuss the CBDï¿½s contribution to the MDG and CSD
WORKING GROUP II: WG-II will convene at 10:00
am to consider Chairï¿½s papers on the Strategic Plan and MYPOW-2010.
PLENARY: Plenary will meet at 5:30 pm to