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Fifth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing
(ABS 5)

8-12 October 2007
Montreal, Canada

Highlights from Tuesday, 9 October

Delegates to the fifth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met in plenary all day and addressed elements of an international regime on ABS relating to fair and equitable benefit-sharing, access to genetic resources and compliance.
Photo: CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf with ABS Workding Group Co-Chairs Fernando Casas, Colombia, and Timothy Hodges, Canada

Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing

Gina Malia Sui Lin Nobrega, speaking for Pacific and African Indigenous Peoples (left), called for: called for benefit-sharing regarding genetic resources and traditional knowledge accessed at ex-situ collections; conformity with customary laws and practices; indigenous pacific caucus. Linus Spencer Thomas, Grenada (right), said the international regime on ABS should also cover marine genetic resources.


Chile (left) called for ABS 5 to define derivatives, and expressed support for a binding regime, especially regarding fair and equitable benefit-sharing. Matthias Buck, EU (right), called for developing sectoral approaches to MAT between users and providers.


Elpidio Peria, Philippines (left), said that international minimum standards will strengthen developing country positions in negotiations with multi-national corporations. Viviana Elsa Figueroa, Asociacion de la Juventud Indigena, Argentina (right), speaking for Latin American Indigenous Peoples, stressed the link between genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Access to Genetic Resources

Sem Taukondjo Shikongo, Namibia, speaking for the African Group (left), suggested distinguishing between types of research based on the stated intent of the researcher, and taking into account that this may change over time. Maria Elisa Oliveira, Portugal, speaking for the EU (right), emphasized that international minimum requirements on access constitute a key element of the international regime.


Joseph Ronald Toussaint, Haiti (left), emphasized problems facing many countries regarding control and regulation of access and called for a holistic approach to implementing PIC and MAT. Singh Nijar Gurdial, Malaysia (right), for the Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries, said that states have sovereign rights over genetic resources and their associated derivatives.


Michael Andrew, St. Lucia (left), supported those stressing that the authority to determine access should rest with national governments. David Dutton, Australia (right), supported minimum standards for access regarding procedural and administrative questions noting that these should not undermine national property rights.


Joji Cariño, Tebtebba Foundation (left), speaking for the Asian Indigenous Caucus, suggested that a reference to the UNDRIP be included in the Annex. Manisha Desai, Intellectual Property Owners Association (right), called for a clear definition of derivatives.


Fabian Haas, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (left), noted the success of biological control in Africa and its conformity with IPRs. Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network (right), stressed the need for equity and fairness in ABS as highlighted by the avian flu controversy.



Sujata Arora, India (right), said national legislation must provide for remedies against non-compliance.

The US (left) said disclosure requirements in patent applications should be addressed under WIPO or the WTO TRIPS Council rather than under the CBD. Antony Taubman, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (right), reported on its work relating to intellectual property GR and TK, highlighting policy-relevant information provided through patent systems and TK protection.


The indigenous caucus of North America (left) stressed that PIC is subject to indigenous customary law and international human rights law. David Hafashimana, Uganda (right), proposed that certification should be a mandatory and simple process.

Jochen Flasbarth, Germany, provided details of CBD COP 9 which will be held from 19-30 May 2007 in Bonn, Germany .
Side Event: The Problem with Theft: A Candid Conversation about Biopiracy
A side event was organized by the Africa Centre for Biosafety, the Edmonds Institute and the Third World Network, and presented recent research calling for further investigations, and informing delegates about cases where patent claims made on genetic resources, derivatives or uses could be challenged.
Side Event: Beyond Access: What you need to know about the user side of ABS
This side event, organized by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, included a presentation on the results of a legal study of the obligations of users of genetic resources under the CBD, and the legal obstacles that prevent the implementation of ABS.
Side Event: Strenthening ABS Efforts in Developing Countries: Incorporating Capacity Building and Technology Transfer into PIC and MAT
This side event, organized by the American Bioindustry Alliance and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, included presentations on a number of approaches to benefit-sharing that incorporate front-loaded benefits including capacity building and technology transfer.
Side Event: Launch of the ABS Series, No. 1, 2 and 3-Expert Analyses of Critical ABS Issues
This side event, organized by the IUCN Environmental Law Centre, launched three new books on ABS.
Miscellaneous Photos


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