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


Experts met in a brief Plenary to hear progress reports from the working groups on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) for scientific and commercial purposes, and review of legislation, administration and policy measures, regulatory procedures and incentive measures. The working groups, as well as an open-ended sub-group on IPR, convened throughout the day and into the evening.
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 Medaglia (Costa Rica) called upon the working group Chairs to deliver progress reports.

A.H. Zakri (Malaysia) reported that the working group on ABS for scientific and commercial
purposes held discussions on MAT and benefit-sharing that resulted in draft
conclusions on lessons learned, information needs and capacity-building needs.

Lev Kalakoutskii (Russian Federation, pictured on the right) and Kerry ten Kate (UK) presented the outcomes of the group on the review of legislative, administrative and policy measures, regulatory procedures and incentive measures. They reported that the group discussed key elements of PIC by considering the meanings of "prior," "informed" and "consent," and highlighted draft recommendations, which include the need for Parties to address ABS measures in their national strategies, establish national focal points and adopt interim measures such as voluntary guidelines.
Following Kalakoutskii and ten Kate's report, ARGENTINA
made observations on national focal points
NORWAY was among the participants to express concern that too little time was alloted for the discussion of the reports of the Working Groups.
Hamdallah Zedan, Executive Secertary of the CBD, discusses the agenda with Panel Co-Chair Martin Girsberger (Switzerland)
The Working Group on Access And Benefit-Sharing For Scientific And Commercial Purposes discussed lessons learned from benefit-sharing and the disclosure of country of origin. It also reviewed and amended summaries of the previous day's discussions on MAT and benefit-sharing. Pictured here is WG Chair A.H. Zakri (right) and Sam Johnston, CBD Secretariat.
The Working Group on Review Of Legislation, Administration And Policy Measures, Regulatory Procedures And Incentive Measures focused on international measures to support PIC, access legislation, IPR and incentive measures. The group also developed draft text on access legislation for the final report of the Panel.
Despite initial opposition, a working group was established to consider IPR. Some opposing experts felt that IPR issues should only be addressed by the WTO and TRIPs agreement, while others feared opening a "can of worms." Those in favor of the group hoped that holding a discussion among experts with varying backgrounds and views would provide a unique opportunity to forward the debate and to bring the impact of IPR on biodiversity conservation to the attention of the WTO. (Note the ENB's Mark Schulman in the foreground)

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