You are viewing our old site. See the new one here

go to IISDnet

2nd Meeting of the Panel of Experts on Access and Benefit Sharing of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Montreal, Canada 19-22 March 2001


Previous days' multimedia coverage of  SBSSTA-6 
(photos and RealAudio)


Highlights from Wednesday, 21 March 2001

On the third day of the second meeting of the Experts' Panel on Access and Benefit-Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), delegates met in a morning Plenary session to address complementary options and elements for guidelines regarding access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS). A drafting group then met to develop text incorporating comments from the morning, which was then reviewed in an evening Plenary session.

Editor's Note: As a matter of policy, the
Earth Negotiations Bulletin does not directly attribute statements in informal discussions when requested to do so.

Above photo: Members of the drafting group that worked on the elements for guidelines on ABS.


Co-Chair Martin Girsbirger (Switzerland) (right) opened the morning Plenary calling for reports from the Working Group Chairs.

The chair of WG-I reported on the progress made in consideration of examples of user and provider experience outlined in UNEP/CBD/EP-ABS/2/L.1. He stressed an overall emphasis on capacity building as the essence of ABS.

Left photo: Chair L.V. Kalakoutskii (Russian Federation)


The chair of WG-II introduced the Working Group's report contained in UNEP/CBD/EP-ABS/2/L.1, highlighting the documents three sections: identification of stakeholders, examples of stakeholder involvement and identification of approaches for stakeholder involvement. She highlighted work on the identification of specific stakeholders, and WG-II's principle findings regarding approaches to stakeholder involvement.  

Right photo:
Chair Anoja Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka)


Co-Chair Medaglia
(left) emphasized that identifying a package of alternative approaches to address countries' needs is considered to be one of the Panel's main contributions. He suggested that the morning's discussion focus on identifying guidelines, while other complementary measures, such as contractual agreements, capacity creation and information exchange could be addressed later. He proposed dividing the discussion on guidelines into comments on characteristics and elements.


Many experts stressed the need for: flexibility, regarding stakeholders and use of genetic resources in each case; simplicity; transparency; and user-friendliness. Many also highlighted the fact that guidelines should assist countries in developing and implementing a regulatory regime, keeping a balance between simplicity and sufficient level of detail. It was noted that a set of short, voluntary guidelines could be supported by more elaborated background papers and annexes providing examples of MTAs and contractual agreements.

Right photo: (R-L) Rapporteur, Maureen Wolfson (South Africa) in consultatio with the Secretariat's Valerie Normand and Olvier Jalbert 


One expert presented a draft outline for contents and elements of the guidelines, noting the need for one guideline on sources of obligation referencing national law. Her elements included: setting sources and rationale; acquisition of both in situ and ex situ resources, including key aspects of PIC (role of the national focal point and national authorities, identification of stakeholders, processing for seeking consent, distinguishing between processes for academic and commercial use); basis for use; consistency of terms for acquisition and supply; annexes containing illustrative examples; the nature of monetary and non-monetary benefits; identification of beneficiaries; benefit-sharing for use of materials acquired prior to the CBD's entry into force; and management, including tracking, traceability, staff and technology.

Above photo: Drafting group that produced the text based on comments made during the Plenary discussion.


Plenary reconvened in the evening and experts reacted to the draft indicative outline of elements for guidelines on ABS. The chair of the drafting group introduced the guidelines, noting that the outline provides a broad context, works through scope and principles in a broadly applicable framework, defines objectives and key features, and elaborates four elements: steps in the process, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, benefit-sharing, and cross-cutting elements including capacity building and IPRs in ABS.

Right photo: The dias during the evening plenary.

ENB coverage of ABS-1
ENB coverage of SBSTTA-6
CBD Secretariat web site with official documents and information for participants
ENB's Introduction to the CBD

© 2000, IISD. All rights reserved.