Busy preludes to biodiversity meet

Crucial issues such as protection of traditional knowledge, and creation of an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing were taken up by two working groups of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December. The bodies met separately in Montreal, Canada, to address matters that will engage the oncoming seventh session of the Conference of Parties (CoP-7) to the CBD

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

crucial issues such as protection of traditional knowledge, and creation of an international regime on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing were taken up by two working groups of the Convention on Biological Diversity (cbd) in December. The bodies met separately in Montreal, Canada, to address matters that will engage the oncoming seventh session of the Conference of Parties (cop-7) to the cbd.

The Ad Hoc Open-ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the cbd held its third meeting from December 8-12. This group was formed at cop-4 in 1998 to suggest how to apply and develop legal as well as other systems to protect indigenous communities' knowledge.

The working group has decided to consider the local people's customary laws and protocols while developing a system for the protection of traditional knowledge. Concrete steps have also been identified to implement the guidelines for cultural, social and environmental impact assessments drafted at earlier meetings.

Prior to this, the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (abs) of the cbd held its second meeting from December 1-5. The group first developed the Bonn Guidelines on abs, which were adopted at cop-6 in 2002. They are aimed at supporting governments and other stakeholders in building legislative, administrative or policy measures on abs.

In March this year, this group was instructed to consider the modalities of an international regime on abs, which led to an intense debate at the recent meeting. The like-minded megadiverse countries (lmmc) -- including India and the 36-member African Group -- were keen to negotiate on the issue. But they were stymied by the eu's desire to focus on the implementation of the Bonn Guidelines. Despite cautionary statements from delegates on the inadequacy of time for in-depth discussions on the issue at cop-7, no agreement could be reached.

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