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UNEP Clarifies its Position on Access and Benefit-Sharing

Nairobi, 20 February 2005 – Following a statement made on his behalf on 14 February in Bangkok, Thailand during a meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. Klaus Toepfer, has clarified the organization’s position in a communication to Mr. Suwit Knunkitti, the Chairman of the Open-Ended Working Group.

In a letter dated 18 February, he wrote: “This is to advise you that the speech made by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) staff member does not represent or reflect the position of the Executive Director and UNEP. This was not the speech of the Executive Director of UNEP.”

Mr. Toepfer also requested that the official records of the meeting clearly state UNEP’s clarification and that it be distributed urgently to all delegates.