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Sixth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing of the Convention on Biological Diversity (ABS 6)

21 - 25 January 2008 | Geneva, Switzerland

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ABS6 Highlights: Tuesday, 22 January 2008

On Tuesday morning, the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) met in plenary to continue consideration of the scope of the international regime on ABS and address its nature. A non-paper regarding a structure for the international regime, including text on its objective, was tabled during the lunch break. Following a lengthy discussion on process and a break to allow for regional consultations, a contact group on the objective met in the afternoon and in the evening. A non-paper containing possible elements of a draft decision to be considered by the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP 9) was tabled in the afternoon.

Plenary Session

Left to right: Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary; ABS Working Group Co-Chairs Fernando Casas, Colombia, and Timothy Hodges, Canada.
Ricardo Torres, Colombia, stressed the complementarity between the international regime and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR).
Fernando Coimbra, Brazil, said that the regime would not preclude the ITPGR provisions.
Shakeel Bhatti, ITPGR Executive Secretary, provided an overview of the ITPGR’s nature, scope and objectives, stressing that its scope covers all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
Novrizal Gani, Indonesia, emphasized that information contained within genetic resources should also be considered.
Ossama El-Tayeb, Egypt, for the African Group, supported a legally binding regime, based on cooperative enforcement between user and provider countries.
Weixue Cheng, China, called for a clear definition of derivatives.
Victoria Lichtenstein, Argentina, noted that marine genetic resources should be dealt with from the perspective of other international forums.
Gurdial Nijar, Malaysia, for the Like-minded Megadiverse Countries (LMMC), favored a single legally binding regime, in line with the mandate agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Girma Balcha, Ethiopia, stressed the need for an international body on compliance.
Guilherme da Costa, Guinea-Bissau, stated that the regime should not apply to genetic material transferred before the CBD came into force.
Isabel López Noriega, speaking for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, called for a transparent international regime that facilitates access and creates legal certainty.
Dave Gordge, Australia, said the regime could comprise both legally binding and non-binding measures, in line with Decision VII/19D on the terms of reference for the elaboration of the regime.

Afternoon Plenary Session

After a discussion on how best to proceed, plenary decided to establish a contact group on the objective of the international regime.
Jimena Nieto, Colombia.
David Hafashimana, Uganda, speaking for the African Group.

Fernando Pérez, Chile.

An informal consultation of the Like-minded Megadiverse Countries and the African Group.

Contact Group on the objective

The contact group was co-chaired by René Lefeber, the Netherlands, (center left) and Pierre du Plessis, Namibia (center right).
Gurdial Nijar, Malaysia, for the LMMC, presented a proposal agreed upon by the LMMC and GRULAC.
Co-Chair Lefeber emphasized that the contact group would be open-ended, and would aim to agree on a single objective for the regime, which should be simple, focused and concise.
Hugo Schally, EU, said that the EU can accept the text proposed in the Co-Chairs' non-paper because it reflects an overarching objective and provides a sufficient link to the CBD’s objectives.

Around the venue

Web coverage:
Monday, 21 Jan - Tuesday, 22 Jan - Wednesday, 23 Jan - Thursday, 24 Jan - Friday, 25 Jan

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