Second meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing
2-6 July 2012 (Delhi, India)
Excerpted from the IISD RS summary of the meeting
The second meeting of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP) on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held from 2-6 July 2012, in New Delhi, India. It was preceded by a capacity-building workshop on ABS, co-organized by the Secretariats of the CBD and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), held from 30 June – 1 July 2012. The meeting adopted eight recommendations on issues including modalities of operation of the ABS clearing-house; capacity building; measures to raise awareness of the importance of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge; and cooperative procedures and institutional mechanisms to promote compliance with the Protocol and address cases of non-compliance. The meeting served its objective to prepare for implementation and entry into force by identifying questions that demand clarification at the international level. Although entry into force is expected to take at least another two years, many countries showcased impressive legislative and policy developments, highlighting that the Protocol is already making a difference at the domestic level.
A hot agenda item at ICNP 2 was the compliance procedures, and in particular its relevance vis-à-vis another complex aspect of the Protocol—its provisions on indigenous and local communities (ILCs) and their traditional knowledge. Participation of ILCs appear “indispensible” to some in light of the inseparable nature of genetic resources and traditional knowledge and due to the rights of ILCs recognized in several Protocol provisions. While there was understanding, at least among observers, that the credibility and legitimacy of the Protocol would also be reflected in the “opening” of compliance procedures to the participation of ILCs, CBD parties were divided on this issue, with some fearing that ILCs would utilize a compliance committee to “bypass” national institutions, and others expressing concern that community submissions will “flood” the system. Although ILCs themselves were not vocal at this meeting due to the small number of representatives present, possibly resulting from a combination of visa issues and funding shortages, certain countries put forward a variety of possible avenues to ensure a community “voice” in the compliance mechanism. Options ranged from a community trigger of the procedure, to enabling community representatives to participate in the compliance committee as members or as observers, to the possibility for communities to submit information directly to the compliance committee, or the possibility for the committee to directly consult with relevant communities. The African Group also “resurrected” their proposal to create an ombudsman (which had been included in certain drafts of the Protocol but disappeared from the compromise text adopted in Nagoya). As revamped, the ombudsman could create an intermediate layer in the compliance procedure where the party concerned and its relevant communities could initially address implementation challenges with some international facilitation, but without too much interference in domestic affairs. In light of the recent proposal to allow for ILCs’ submissions to the compliance committee only if they meet certain screening criteria, the ombudsman could be an alternative way to select well-founded community submissions for transmission to the compliance committee. Read the IISD RS daily and summary reports on the meeting … Visit the meeting’s webpage …