Following seven days of intense and complex negotiations, and with the financial support of Japan , the world's governments have made major breakthroughs on a text of a legally binding protocol on access to, and sharing of, the benefits of the rich genetic resources of our planet.
The draft Aichi Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) is now in place, and will be finalized and adopted on 29 October 2010 at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
'History will recall that the Aichi Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing was born here in Montreal. Once again, the Montreal magic has worked for delivering one of the most important legal instruments in the history of the environment movement,' said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention.
The two Co-Chairs of the Working Group, Timothy Hodges of Canada and Fernando Casas of Colombia, said: 'In Montreal, we witnessed a major breakthrough in the negotiations. Progress on key issues is a giant leap toward the objective of finalizing the Protocol. While much remains to be done, we are more confident than ever that the ABS Protocol will be adopted in Nagoya, next October.'
Discussions during the week focused on the draft protocol text that was tabled at the beginning of the ninth meeting of the working group, which took place in Cali, Colombia, in March this year. Following this week's negotiations in Montreal, the structure of this text remains intact and consensus was reached on important elements including compliance, and user measures.
Access and benefit-sharing refers to the way genetic resources—whether plant, animal or micro-organism—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.
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. 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 at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD.
Over 10,000 participants are expected to attend the Biodiversity Summit. The high-level segment of this historic meeting will be held from 27 to 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 high-level event of the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly, to be held in New York on 22 September 2010, will be an important event to accelerate the political momentum. The President-elect of the General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, was briefed on the status of negotiations by the Co-Chairs during his visit on 7 July 2010 to the headquarters of the Secretariat on the preparation of the New York summit.
Governments agreed to use the inter-sessional period before the meeting in Nagoya to advance the negotiations.