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Negotiating Instruments to Govern Provision & Use of the Planet's Genetic Resources
12/ 07/ 2010

Negotiating Instruments to Govern Provision & Use of the Planet's Genetic ResourcesThe provision and use of the genetic resources of the planet is the subject of a week long negotiations that started in Montreal, Saturday, with the aim to settle the details of a new global legal agreement to govern the process at a multinational level.

The results of these negotiations, to be taken to the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October this year, will contribute to unlocking the huge scientific and economic potential of the biodiversity of our planet, with a significant impact on human well-being.

In 2002, at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, world leaders agreed on the need for an international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). The 4,000 participants attending the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in March 2006, agreed to finalize negotiations as soon as possible and no later than 2010.

The adoption of the Aichi Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing will make a major contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to promoting sustainable development.

Access and benefit-sharing refers to the way genetic resources?whether plant, animal or microorganism?are accessed in countries of origin, and how the benefits that result from their use by various research institutes, universities or private companies are shared with the people or countries that provide them. Ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The final result is a draft agreement that will be submitted for adoption at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit, otherwise known as the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in October 2010.
Over 10,000 participants are expected to attend the Biodiversity Summit. The high-level segment of this historic meeting will be held on 27-29 October 2010 and will be preceded by a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly exclusively devoted to biodiversity to be held in New York in September 2010 in conjunction with the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly and with the participation of Heads of State and Government.

The negotiations on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing aim at the effective implementation of the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the Convention, as well as Article 8(j) of the Convention related to the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

Note to Editors:

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits from utilization of genetic resources. With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries committed to preserving life on Earth. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety a supplementary treaty to the Convention seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 156 countries and the European Union are party to the Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal.

Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of their utilization: The Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties to the Convention therefore have the authority to determine access to genetic resources in areas within their jurisdiction. Parties also have the obligation to take appropriate measures with the aim of sharing the benefits derived from their use. Genetic resources, whether from plants, animals or micro-organisms, may be used for different purposes. Users of genetic resources can include research institutes, universities and private companies operating in various sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture, horticulture and biotechnology. Benefits derived from genetic resources may include the result of research and development carried out on genetic resources, the transfer of technologies which make use of those resources, participation in biotechnological research activities, or monetary benefits arising from the commercialization of products based on genetic resources. The documents under discussion at the ninth meeting of the working Group, are available at:

2010 International Year of Biodiversity: The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) to raise awareness about the crucial importance of biodiversity, to communicate the human costs of biodiversity loss, and to engage people, particularly youth, throughout the world in the fight to protect all life on Earth. Initiatives will be organized throughout the year to disseminate information, promote the protection of biodiversity and encourage countries, organizations, and individuals to take direct action to reduce biodiversity loss. The focal point for the year is the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Further Resources
Access and Benefit Sharing Resource Kit
Access and Benefit Sharing Fact Sheets
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)