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Third Intersessional Meeting of the Contact Group of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Tehran, Iran 
26-31 August 2000




Third Intersessional Meeting of the Contact Group of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food &  Agriculture


Briefing note for Monday, 28 August 2000

The Third Inter-sessional Contact Group met in morning and afternoon sessions to begin consideration of Article 13 (Facilitated Access to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture within the Multilateral System). Delegates based their discussions on a proposal circulated prior to the meeting by a regional group of developed countries and proceeded provision by provision.

On Article 13.1, which notes that facilitated access will be in accordance with the provisions of the Undertaking, there was some discussion of ensuring symmetrical language with Article 14, and the text was agreed upon. On Article 13.2(a) regarding the purpose for the use of accessible plant genetic resources, significant debate arose over whether conservation should be included and how to address multiple use crops and industrial applications that extend beyond agricultural application. Compromise text developed and presented for further consideration.


On Article 13.2(b) delegates agreed to text on providing expeditious access free of charge or at minimal cost with minor textual changes. On Article 13.2(c) regarding the provision of information with accessions, delegates discussed the need to include passport data and the application of confidential information and applicable law. Delegates agreed to text accommodating the various concerns raised.


Article 13.2(d) on the prevention of property right claims limiting access to material received under the Multilateral System, generated heated debate over: inclusion of genetic parts and components; whether such parts and components are subject to patent claims which restrict access; and the restrictiveness of gene and plant patenting for PGRFA. Two options remain bracketed. Article 13.2(e), on the availability of PGRFA under development and the role of the developer in providing such access, was agreed upon without substantive debate. Regarding Article 13.2(e) which states that access to PGRFA protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs) shall be consistent with national and relevant international law, delegates continued the debate over the application of IPRs and inclusion of facilitating access to developing countries and those with economies in transition under fair and most favorable terms.




Above: From left, Kristianne Herrmann (Australia), Kerry Ten Kate (UK) and Jane Bulmer (UK) during a break in negotiations 


Above: Masa Iwanaga (Japan) and Lim Eng Siang (Malaysia) 


Above: In the foreground, from right, Peter Vermeij (The Netherlands) and Wilbert Himmighofen (Germany) 


Above: Wilson Marandu (Tanzania), Paul Senghor (Senegal) and Shadrack Moephuli (South Africa) 


Above: Jos� Esquinas (CGRFA Secretariat) discusses progress made so far in the negotiations with the Chair, Fernando Gerbasi (Venezuela) 


Above: Delegates dressed in culturally appropriate attire 


This briefing note was provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletinenb@iisd.org. It was written and edited by Stas Burgiel <stas@iisd.org> and Tonya Barnes <tonya@iisd.org>. Website design/editing for this meeting by Chris Spence <chris@iisd.org>.The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree <kimo@iisd.org>. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <info@iisd.ca> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in this briefing note are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from this briefing note may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor.    

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