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Experts' Panel on Access and Benefit-Sharing
4- 8 October, 1999 - San Jose, Costa Rica


Experts met in a morning Plenary to hear reports on the outcomes of Monday's four working group discussions. Delegates then divided into two working groups, one considering access and benefit-sharing (ABS) for scientific and commercial purposes and the other addressing the review of legislation, administrative and policy measures and regulatory procedures and incentive measures.
Editor's Note: While participating experts are appointed by governments, they speak in their own capacities. For the purpose of brevity, experts' remarks are attributed by country.

Panel Co-Chair Martin Girsberger (Switzerland) called upon the Chairs of each of Monday's four working groups to present the findings of their deliberations.
Kerry ten Kate (UK) presented the outcomes of the group on the review of legislative, administrative and policy measures at national and regional levels. She said PIC, user measures, access legislation, IPR and sui generis systems were the main issues discussed. Other issues addressed included the roles of intermediaries, non-Parties and mechanisms for benefit-sharing, such as IPR, contracts and conservation.
A.H. Zakri (Malaysia) presented the findings of the group on access and benefit-sharing arrangements for scientific and commercial purposes, explaining that the group focused on the following three issues: PIC, MAT and disclosure of country of origin. He added that it is important to be mindful of CBD interactions and conflicts with other international processes and existing networks, such as the FAO International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources, WTO and the TRIPs agreement.
José Carlos Fernández Ugalde (Mexico) presented the outcomes of the group on the review of regulation procedures and incentive measures. He identified the following issues for discussion: development of a common understanding of concepts; mechanisms to complement national instruments with broader bilateral and multilateral instruments; the role of IPR and other trade measures in attaining the CBD's objective; establishment of a balance between national policy objectives and legislation to implement the CBD; and the evaluation of instruments to achieve specific objectives.
Estherine Lisinge Fotabong (Cameroon) presented the outcomes of the group on capacity building. She outlined the need for: developing specific capacities at different levels in both provider and user countries; developing international guidelines for housing collections and enforcing contractual agreements; and establishing well informed national focal points for ABS. She also noted the need to identify the reasons for the lack of capacity building, particularly with regard to the lack of commitment and funding on the part of both developing and developed countries.
The EU emphasized consideration of the practical implementation aspects of ABS agreements.
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH underscored the need to discuss IPR in detail.
SYRIA stressed regional cooperation for ABS.
The COOK ISLANDS stressed the need for an international enforcement regime.
ECUADOR urged stakeholder participation in national discussions on ABS.
PERU underscored consideration of the relationship between IPR, ABS and community rights.

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