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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 Wednesday, 30 August 2000

The Third Inter-sessional Contact Group met in morning and evening sessions to continue consideration of Article 14 (Benefit-Sharing in the Multilateral System). After starting with Article 14.2(b)(iii), on terms for access of and transfer to technology, delegates engaged in a lengthy, polarized debate about the application of IPRs to access and benefit-sharing, and whether the IU had the competence and mandate to address such issues. After noting that the situation was dire and could impact the future of this negotiation process, Chair Fernando Gerbasi (Venezuela) ended the morning session early and convened a small group to resolve the stalemate. The group met through the afternoon and provided compromise text addressing Article 14.2(b)(iii) as well as Article 14.2(d)(iv), on provision of royalties for products derived from plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) and protected by restrictive and non-restrictive IPR.


Under the agreement, Article 14.2(b)(iii) provides for access to and transfer of technology to developing countries on favorable terms and on preferential and concessional terms where mutually agreed, which will be consistent with the protection of IPR. Article 14.2(d)(iv) provides for royalty payments on products derived from PGRFA that restrict further use, voluntary payments on products that do not restrict further use, and a review of the provision five years after the IU�s entry into force. Delegates agreed to the main principles of the package, although many noted the need to return to their capitals for consultations.


In Article 14.3, on addressing the flow of benefits to farmers, delegates debated whether farmers in all countries or just developing countries should be eligible, and discussed whether to include reference to those with traditional lifestyles, but were unable to reach agreement. They agreed to Article 14.4, on consideration of the relevant policy and criteria for assistance in the IU�s funding strategy, and Article 14.5, which recognizes that implementation of the Global Plan of Action depends on the effective implementation of Article 14 and the funding strategy. One developing country then proposed a provision calling for consideration of a mechanism to encourage voluntary contributions from the food industry, which could receive downstream benefits from PGRFA under the Multilateral System. Delegates agreed to consider the proposal further.



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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