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Fourth meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing of the Convention on Biological Diversity

30 January - 3 February 2006 | Granada, Spain


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Highlights for Monday, 30 January 2006

The fourth meeting of the Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (WG) on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) opened on Monday, 30 January, in Granada , Spain . In a morning plenary, delegates heard opening statements and reports, and addressed organizational matters. A Committee of the Whole was established, which met in the afternoon to initiate negotiations on an international regime on ABS.

Above photo L-R: Antonio Serrano, Spain’s Secretary General for Lands and Biodiversity; Suboh Mohd Yassin (Malaysia); Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary; and Olivier Jalbert, Secretary of the Meeting.


Suboh Mohd Yassin (Malaysia), on behalf of the President of the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP), opened the meeting, calling for significant progress in the negotiations on an international ABS regime before COP-8.

Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, noted that the limited progress in operationalizing the benefit-sharing pillar of the Convention is generating legal uncertainty and impacts on long-term investment. He hoped that the meeting will be a breakthrough in forging a partnership with present and future providers and users of nature, to contribute to poverty alleviation, peace and security.

Antonio Serrano, Spain’s Secretary General for Lands and Biodiversity, said a binding international regime on ABS would contribute to biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and biotechnology development.


Delegates elected Margarita Clemente (Spain), as WG Chair; Antonio Matamoros (Ecuador) as Rapporteur; and confirmed the COP Bureau as WG Bureau. 

Above photo L-R: Margarita Clemente (Spain), WG Chair of ABS-4; Olivier Jalbert, Secretary of the Meeting; Antonio Matamoros (Ecuador), Rapporteur.

The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS FORUM ON BIODIVERSITY (IIFB) recommended that the Article 8(j) WG elaborate the elements of the regime relevant to the protection of traditional knowledge, and requested the creation of an advisory group to review progress in the negotiations and provide expert advice to the ABS and Article 8(j) WGs. 

Above photo: Lourdes Amos (IIFB)


Ethiopia, on behalf of AFRICA, stressed that the ABS regime must be legally binding, and suggested using the draft protocol text submitted by Ethiopia and endorsed by Africa as a basis for negotiations.

Above photo: Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egzhiaber (Ethiopia)

Austria, on behalf of the EU, suggested focusing on: narrowing down the list of options developed at ABS-3; achieving mutual supportiveness between the regime and existing international agreements and processes; and addressing the participation of local and indigenous communities. 

Above photo: Cosima Hufler (Austria on behalf of the EU)

Kiribati, on behalf of ASIA AND THE PACIFIC, stressed the need for: a coordination mechanism between the ABS and Article 8(j) WGs; a mandatory regime to avoid biopiracy; and a COP-8 recommendation to the Global Environment Facility to support ABS activities.

Above photo: Terei Abete-Reema (Kiribati)

Canada, on behalf of JUSCANZ, expressed their will to work towards a positive outcome, based on enhanced understanding and respect for one another’s vision.

Above photo: Timothy Hodges (Canada)

Venezuela, on behalf of LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, reiterated the need to move from recommendations to commitments, and recognized that the regime requires binding elements and should ensure the protection of traditional knowledge.

Above photo: César Molina (Venezuela)

India, on behalf of the LIKE-MINDED MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES, prioritized clear definition of the elements of an international regime, suggested that the regime should reinforce the rights of indigenous communities, and emphasized the role of national legislation in regulating access to genetic resources. 

Above photo: Desh Deepak Verma (India)

The IIFB recommended that the international regime reflect international human rights norms, include measures for the repatriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge from ex situ collections to traditional knowledge holders, and address transboundary genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Above photo: Jennifer Corpuz (Tebtebba Foundation)

The INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE highlighted the interest of the private sector in the success of the negotiations.


Above photo: Alwin Kopše (ICC)


SPAIN reported on the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the Article 8(j) WG.

Above photo: Maria Teresa Martin-Crespo (Spain)

NORWAY supported calling for expanding the mandate of the Article 8(j) Advisory Group to contribute to ABS negotiations.

 Above photo: Birthe Ivars (Norway)


JAPAN highlighted the completion of national guidelines on user measures to support compliance with prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms.

Above photo: Yukio Kawauchi (Japan)

CHINA reported on the integration of the Bonn Guidelines in existing legislation and progress in drafting a national ABS law.

Above photo: Cheng Weixue (China)
The CZECH REPUBLIC underlined a national survey of ABS implementation and supporting activities for ABS in the areas of agriculture, forestry and botanical gardens.

Above photo: Milena Roudná (Czech Republic)


Cautioning that chances to realize benefits are rapidly diminishing, PERU urged a focused and practical debate on a legal mechanism to operationalize benefit-sharing.

Above photo: Maria Luisa Del Rio Mispireta (Peru)

SWITZERLAND proposed a pragmatic approach identifying the needs that must be met at the international level following a gap analysis, and highlighted its proposal to the World Intellectual Property Organization on the determination of origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, and the need to work on a certificate of legal provenance.

Above photo: Robert Lamb (Switzerland)

AUSTRALIA prioritized refining the scope of the regime and narrowing down the options while seeking consistency with other international instruments and institutions.

Above photo L-R: Geoff Burton and Anne Marie Watt (Australia)

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