Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 9 No. 393
Monday, 15 October 2007

ABS 5 HIGHLIGHTS:

FRIDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2007

Delegates to the fifth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in plenary and in informal regional consultations. In the morning they discussed the status of two informal documents tabled by the Co-Chairs, one containing delegates’ proposals, the other containing the Co-Chairs’ reflections on progress made. In the afternoon the closing plenary convened to adopt the meeting’s report.

CO-CHAIRS’ DOCUMENTS

Co-Chair Hodges outlined editorial changes to the informal Co-Chairs’ documents tabled on Thursday, 10 October, including renaming the document previously entitled “compendium of proposals made at WG ABS-5” to “notes on proposals made at ABS-5” (proposals document), and noted the removal of a section on indicators for ABS, since it did not refer to elements of the international ABS regime. He restated the Co-Chairs’ proposal to attach these documents to the meeting’s report.

Portugal, for the EU, Tuvalu, for the PACIFIC SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES, Croatia, for the CENTAL EUROPEAN REGION, and SWITZERLAND supported the Co-Chairs’ proposal. SWITZERLAND and MEXICO, opposed by COLOMBIA, suggested holding further informal consultations before ABS 6.

Brazil, for the LMMC, supported by Chile, for GRULAC, Namibia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, and ARGENTINA, proposed annexing the proposals document, but not the reflections document to the meeting’s report, noting that the latter requires further refinement. He also proposed compiling parties’ intersessional submissions with those contained in the proposals document as a working paper for future work.

CANADA opposed appending the Co-Chairs’ documents and proposed beginning ABS 6 with a clean slate. The INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES called for the international regime to link ABS with the protection of collective intellectual heritage.

CLOSING PLENARY

Co-Chair Hodges proposed language stating that ABS 5: invites parties, governments, indigenous and local communities and stakeholders to submit, by 30 November 2007, options on substantive agenda items of ABS 5 and ABS 6; and requests the Secretariat to circulate these options prior to ABS 6.

Rapporteur Mary Fosi (Cameroon) presented the meeting’s report (UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/5/L.1). CANADA asked for the record to reflect the reasons for its opposition to references to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. AUSTRALIA opposed attaching either of the Co-Chairs’ documents to the report. After consultations, he suggested adding language stressing that the documents were the sole responsibility of the Co-Chairs and that they will be circulated to the parties as information documents. Delegates then adopted the report as amended.

Many delegates thanked the Co-Chairs for their efforts. CANADA called on states to implement existing obligations by developing model contracts, and to work on administrative measures and capacity building. The LMMC said he considered the further submissions as proposed by the Co-Chairs to also form the basis of negotiations at ABS 6, AUSTRALIA explained his unwillingness to negotiate text at ABS 6, preferring to simply identify elements of an international regime. The AFRICAN GROUP underscored the need for an international regime on ABS, adding that without benefit-sharing there are no incentives for conservation.

Referring to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Albert Gore Jr. and the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf pointed to the environmental dimension of peace and security and reminded delegates that peace and the CBD’s objectives are inextricably linked. Welcoming the constructive proposals from indigenous representatives, commending the positive spirit of negotiations during the week and reminding delegates to work hard before ABS 6, the Co-Chairs gaveled the meeting to a close at 6:55 p.m.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As delegates streamed out of the plenary hall after the conclusion of ABS 5, one commented that an ABS regime is still a long way down the road, stressing that the Co-Chairs’ role in facilitating informal consultations is crucial to making progress on the path towards ABS 6. Expressing confidence in the Co-Chairs’ leadership, another delegate responded that their assertive style is both a blessing and a curse, as they may have built up expectations about what can be achieved during the intersessional period and beyond. Recalling the remaining divisions among delegations on key issues, one veteran delegate opined that all multilateral environmental negotiations experience rocky patches, advising ABS practitioners to prepare themselves for a “bumpy ride.”

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of ABS 5 will be combined with the summary of the fifth meeting of the Working Group on Article 8(j) and will be available on Monday, 22 October 2007, online at: http://www.iisd.ca/biodiv/abs5/

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Asheline Appleton, Sikina Jinnah, Harry Jonas, Stefan Jungcurt, Ph.D. and Nicole Schabus. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV) and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2007 is provided by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Environment, the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St. Apt 11A, New York, NY 10022, USA. The ENB Team at CBD ABS-WG5 can be contacted by e-mail at <stefan@iisd.org>.