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Report of main proceedings for 8 November 1996

CBD COP 3

Delegates to COP-3 met in the Committee of the Whole on Friday to discuss technologytransfer, intellectual property rights (IPR), input to the WTO’s Committee on Trade andEnvironment (CTE) and to the UNGA Special Session, incentive measures and the reportof the Biosafety Working Group. Working Groups on agricultural biodiversity andfinancial issues also met. Working and drafting groups as well as informal consultationstook place over the weekend with the aim of developing draft decisions to be presented tothe COW.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: The Secretariat introduced the documenton access to and transfer of technology (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/21). SBSTTA Chair, PeterSchei (Norway), reviewed SBSTTA decision II/3 and called for an integrated approach tofacilitating technology transfer.

The G-77/CHINA and SOUTH AFRICA sought an inventory of transferable technology,and with UNCTAD, INDIA, MALAWI, MALAYSIA, the PHILIPPINES,SWITZERLAND and others, stressed the need for capacity-building in developingcountries. MALAWI called on the GEF to provide financial resources for capacity-building.

UNCTAD called attention to an international biotrading market with incentives forconservation of biological resources. SOUTH AFRICA, on behalf of the African Group,stressed that only environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) should be transferred. TheEU called for the establishment of an international framework to facilitate cooperation intechnology transfer. MALAYSIA and the PHILIPPINES called for further developmentof the CHM and better definition of the GEF’s role and, with the REPUBLIC OFKOREA, increased private sector involvement. RWANDA said food security should be apriority in technology transfer. SWEDEN stressed capacity-building, incentives andenhancement of the CHM. TANZANIA emphasized the transfer of ESTs and benefit-sharing.

CHILE emphasized biosafety and traditional knowledge. DOMINICA called for “genuinepartnerships” in technology transfer. HAITI highlighted insufficient financial resources.CANADA supported networks to promote technology transfer. The LATIN AMERICANPLANT SCIENCES NETWORK highlighted training programs in botany andbiotechnology.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: The Secretariat introduced thedocuments addressing IPR and the relationship between the CBD and the Agreement onTrade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/22and 23). The EU linked well-functioning IPR systems to CBD implementation. CTED’IVOIRE, on behalf of the African Group, called for IPR for traditional knowledge anda legal mechanism on access. SOUTH AFRICA and NEW ZEALAND highlightedadapting IPR to traditional knowledge. GERMANY called IPR “catalytic” in benefit-sharing arrangements. AUSTRALIA preferred that IPR be discussed under CBDobjectives rather than separately. CANADA recognized the need to respect thecontributions of indigenous knowledge to fulfilling the CBD’s three objectives.

INDIA, BRAZIL, TANZANIA and MALAYSIA supported the recommendation forfurther study on patent application disclosure policy. The US supported voluntarydisclosure of location of origin but opposed a requirement. The PHILIPPINES, JAPANand others encouraged the preparation of case studies of IPR impacts. The PHILIPPINESand COLOMBIA said the COP should ensure that ownership of information disseminatedthrough the CHM be retained by the providers.

The G-77/CHINA and FRANCE called for collaboration with WIPO. MEXICOexpressed concern over a WIPO proposal for copyrighting databases and urged an impactanalysis. BOLIVIA said legal systems are not adequate to tackle matters of indigenousknowledge, innovations and practices. INDONESIA called for an end to biopiracy.FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL noted that the CBD’s third objective,benefit-sharing, has not received adequate attention. GREEN INDUSTRYBIOTECHNOLOGY PLATFORM said private investment will only occur whereintellectual property protection is strong. FUNDACION NATURA opposed patentinghuman genes and said research on human genetics should be for medical uses only.

NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA and the G-77/CHINA agreed that the CBDshould send a statement to the CTE and should participate in its deliberations.SWITZERLAND, the US, FRANCE and the EU advocated that the CBD apply to theCTE for observer status.

BRAZIL suggested that the COP make proposals to the WTO to review TRIPs in 1999.The INDIAN INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION said the document onTRIPs does not address the potential conflict between it and the CBD and called for acritical assessment of TRIPs and GATT as a whole. THIRD WORLD NETWORK saidthere is a clear conflict between TRIPs and the CBD and asked the COP to considerrecommending the deletion of patenting of life provisions to the TRIPs review in 1999.

IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 11: The Secretariat introduced thedocuments regarding incentive measures (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/24 and Inf.36).The EU said incentives are flexible means to complement conservation.ARGENTINA called for incentives beyond protected areas. SOUTH AFRICAemphasized enabling legislation. UGANDA, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP,proposed a work programme on incentives. MALAWI and SWITZERLAND called for astanding agenda item on incentives. NORWAY disagreed, calling for integration intothematic and sectoral issues.

AUSTRALIA called for incentives including education, property rights and marketingmeasures. SENEGAL requested information on the private sector and capacity-building.INDONESIA requested input from SBSTTA-3. CAPE VERDE called for social andcultural incentives. SOUTH KOREA proposed a step-by-step approach, and, with PERU,called for case studies and valuation. NEPAL called for economic and social incentives.SWITZERLAND emphasized incentives giving immediate results and correctingperverse incentives.

The US and NORWAY stated that voluntary and mandatory measures complementincentives. The NETHERLANDS highlighted a sectoral view. COLOMBIA underscoredpermanent, direct and regional incentives. CANADA called for the incorporation ofmarket forces. The NETHERLANDS COMMITTEE for the IUCN highlighted removalof perverse incentives.

INPUT TO THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNGA: The Secretariatintroduced the document addressing input to the Special Session of the UNGA from theperspective of the Convention’s three objectives (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/25, Inf.6 andInf.42). Numerous delegations supported the proposal to submit a report to the SpecialSession in June 1997. The EU recommended that the report be succinct and include asummary of the Convention’s work and lessons learned on each of the three objectives, aswell as an expression of willingness to continue to work closely with other internationalfora. NEW ZEALAND and INDONESIA highlighted the need to avoid duplication ofwork. CANADA said the COP should use the opportunity to exhort the major financialinstitutions to factor the Convention’s objectives into their deliberations. CUBAhighlighted the present state of implementation and, with COLOMBIA and HUNGARY,emphasized the relations established with other Conventions. The NETHERLANDSunderscored the cross-sectoral nature of biodiversity and the need to integrate it into therelevant CSD agenda items. NORWAY and ZIMBABWE noted the importance ofintegrating biodiversity concerns into other processes and sectors.

The CHAIR summarized the recommendations and informed delegates that theSecretariat would prepare a draft for discussion. A drafting group, chaired by Terry Jones(The Seychelles), was formed and met over the weekend to draft a statement to theSpecial Session.

BIOSAFETY: The Secretariat introduced the report of the first meeting of theOpen-Ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety (BSWG)(UNEP/CBD/COP/3/26 and 27). The Chair of the BSWG, Veit Koester (Denmark),presented the meeting’s procedural recommendations to the COP.

Most delegations supported the establishment of a ten member Bureau but were dividedon the issue of its permanence. The EU, CHINA, the PHILIPPINES, HUNGARY andMEXICO said the Bureau should be comprised of its current members. The EU, the UK,CHINA, INDONESIA, the PHILIPPINES, NEW ZEALAND and NORWAY supportedthe establishment of a permanent Bureau while ZIMBABWE, CAMEROON andMOROCCO expressed reservations. MOROCCO suggested that half of the Bureau berenewed each year. BRAZIL, VENEZUELA and TUNISIA called for a rotating Bureau.

BOLIVIA, VENEZUELA, EQUATORIAL GUINEA and TUNISIA stated that socio-economic considerations and liability should be addressed in future protocol negotiations.

CAMEROON, TANZANIA, the UK, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, MEXICO,ZIMBABWE, NEW ZEALAND, SWITZERLAND and TUNISIA underscored the needfor capacity-building in biosafety. TUNISIA stated that a protocol should address priorinformed agreement.

MALAYSIA, SWITZERLAND and ITALY endorsed the UNEP International TechnicalGuidelines for Safety in Biotechnology. BRAZIL supported the Guidelines as an interimmechanism until a protocol is finalized. NORWAY noted that the Guidelines should notprejudice or exclude any relevant elements from a future biosafety protocol.EQUATORIAL GUINEA recommended that COP consider the appropriateness of theGuidelines without funds for their implementation.

THIRD WORLD NETWORK and GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL called for aglobal moratorium on GMOs. BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONunderscored the benefits of judiciously applied biotechnology and recommended that theSecretariat consider recent consultations between WTO and FAO. GREEN INDUSTRYBIOTECHNOLOGY PLATFORM stated that the private sector should participate fullyto ensure effective implementation.

WORKING GROUPS

AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY: The Open-ended Working Group onAgricultural Biodiversity met Friday morning to hear the report of the drafting group,which was chaired by Braulio de Souza Dias (Brazil). The Working Group, which ischaired by Manfred Schneider (Austria), met Saturday to continue their review of theconsolidated text and contentious issues were relegated to informal consultations. Twocontact groups were established Saturday evening to address the work programme andfunding issues. The Working Group concluded its work Sunday evening and produced adraft decision comprised of an operational section, a preamble and three appendices.Brackets remain around text regarding issues including trade impacts, market forces, thework programme and the relationship between the FAO Global System and the CBD.

FINANCE: Delegates to the Working Group on financial issues completed theirfirst consideration of changes to the MOU (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/10) Friday morning. AG-77/China proposal, that the GEF “clearly indicate the reasons for which” the identifiedportion of the replenishment is considered new and additional funding, was bracketed.During a review of the G-77/China draft decision on guidance for the GEF, severaldeveloped countries indicated they would consider additional guidance based on theSBSTTA recommendations and matters on COP-3’s agenda, but did not want toreconsider the GEF guidelines before the 1997 review. Informal consultations were totake place with the goal of identifying additional elements for guidance along these lines.The Working Group then considered draft revisions regarding the review of theeffectiveness of the financial mechanism and discussed the scope of the review and howto refer to GEF biodiversity activities, among other issues. A small consultation groupwas formed with the aim of producing a new draft decision regarding the review.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As COP-3 passes the halfway mark, delegates are increasingly focused on how toformulate the final decisions. Many are also thinking about the modus operandi offuture COPs, especially in terms of focusing the agenda and streamlining the work. Withregard to the agenda, one delegate suggested that the sectoral issue area for COP-4, inlandwater ecosystems, could be the focus of discussions on cross-sectoral issues, such asbenefit-sharing and technical cooperation. However, while many delegates are formallycalling for a focused agenda, a range of priority issues for COP-4 consideration have beensuggested.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW will meet during the morning toconsider the relationship of the CBD and other international agreements and the COPmedium-term programme of work.

WORKING GROUPS: The Working Group on financial issues is expected tomeet from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and during the afternoon.

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