The informal meeting in preparation for SBI-3 concluded its work, addressing issues related to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), and the organization of future meetings.
The last day’s deliberations focused on:
- specialized international ABS instruments in the context of Article 4, paragraph 4, of the Nagoya Protocol;
- a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism (Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol); and
- the review of the effectiveness of the processes under the Convention and its Protocols.
Regarding specialized international ABS instruments, some delegates highlighted the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and the World Health Organization’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework (PIP Framework). Different approaches were tabled on potential criteria for specialized ABS instruments. Some participants cautioned against the promotion of instruments with lower standards than those envisaged in the Nagoya Protocol; others noted that the indicative criteria should only be prescriptive guidelines and not limit future initiatives.
Diverging opinions surfaced on the need for a global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism. Some delegates pointed to the need for such a mechanism for benefit sharing arising from the use of genetic resources that occur in transboundary situations or for which it is not possible to grant or obtain prior informed consent. Other delegates stressed that genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction fall outside the scope of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol. They further noted that genetic resources in transboundary situations can be addressed under relevant provisions on cooperation.
Regarding holding concurrent meetings of the Convention and its Protocols, delegates stressed benefits associated with increased integration, cost-effectiveness, ability to address cross-cutting issues, and improved coordination and synergies among focal points. They further emphasized the challenges, especially for small delegations, stressing the need to ensure appropriate, full, and effective representation.
On virtual meetings, delegates underscored their importance for advancing mutual understanding. Some delegates emphasized associated environmental and budgetary benefits, as well as increased participation. Many participants, including stakeholder groups, highlighted challenges associated with digital inequalities, time zones, and coordination problems.
Given the continuous pandemic-related restrictions and the urgency to address the issues, some delegates suggested moving on to formal meetings in a virtual setting. Others stressed the need to postpone any decision-making bodies until conditions are met for in-person meetings.
In closing remarks, CBD Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema thanked everyone for contributing to a successful meeting, which enhanced mutual understanding of key issues in the SBI agenda.
SBI Chair Charlotta Sörqvist said that the meeting succeeded in maintaining the required momentum, noting it attracted more than 1,200 daily participants. She thanked all delegates and observers for their contributions towards the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and towards ensuring meaningful recommendations at the formal session of SBI-3. She closed the meeting at 2:53 pm GMT.