Biological Diversity

SpicyIP: Roundup of the Convention on Biological Diversity Summit


The Convention of the Biological DiversitySummit was held in Bonn, Germany between the 19th to the 30th of May. Coinciding with the World Biodiversity day on the 22nd of May, the Summit was attended by by the supremo uno’s of the CBD world and key government negotiators. The summit could well go down as a watershed event in the annals of CBD history.

Laudable milestones and significant breakthroughs in the IP agenda pertaining to key issues sullying the CBD in the past years were reconciled with a near consensus between the members countries

(i) The negotiating parties reached an agreed to set up an equitable ABS mechanism for biodiversity and its use.

(ii)A near consensus was also reached on laying down a framework for the protection of traditional knowledge and biodiversity

Simultaneously the ninth session of the COP(Conference of the Parties) which is the governing body of the CBD also assembled in Bonn to review and assess the progress of the member states in the achievement and implementation of the convention goals.

While the earlier CBD meet in 2002 had decided to set up the ABS mechanism , progress was slow and stunted. Most notably, after years of ardent negotiation and lobbying by the various interest group the agenda was successfully completed this year with the much awaited ABS architecture in place.

The ABS text lays down the blueprint and the way forward for the next few years. Also it deals with other substantive issues such as linking access to genetic resources with benefit-sharing, access to technology and technology transfer, and mechanisms to promote equality in negotiations. The latest available drafts can be downloaded from the CBD website.

Th most noteworthy provision in the draft is the instruction to “clearly [identify] the components of the international regime that should be addressed through legally binding measures, non-legally binding measures, or a mix of the two.”

The negotiations on CBD Article 8(j) pertaining to biodiversity and indigenous communities, witnessed a display of solidarity and strength. Most issues were reconciled and agreed on save for the one on climate change.

The “conference room paper” on Article 8(j) set out guidelines for defining, documenting, and protecting indigenous knowledge as well as the rights of indigenous people and local communities to participate in the definition and protection of their knowledge, including by sui generis (in kind) means. tems in 8(j) involving intellectual property include: a request for the executive secretary of the CBD to work with the World Intellectual Property Organization as well as the UN Forum on Indigenous Issues and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to address issues involved in documenting traditional knowledge. Some indigenous groups feel that documentation may prevent biopiracy by proving that they have ‘prior art’ on their traditional knowledge, even without patents, while others feel that databases for documentation are inappropriate means to store indigenous ideas.

For all CBD enthusiasts, there is lot of good read on the CBD site, ip-watch does an in depth covergae of the developments at the Summit… I also recommend reading Susan Finstons(of the American Bioindustry Alliance) notings on the International Regime in the context of the CBD


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