September 2010

Interregional Negotiating Group of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing
18-21 September 2010 (Montreal, Canada)
Excerpted from the IISD Reporting Services Briefing Note

Established by the CBD’s Working Group on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), the Interregional Negotiating Group continued the negotiation of a protocol on ABS under the CBD, with a view to having it ready for adoption by the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10), to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The meeting considered outstanding issues on several parts of the draft ABS protocol, including: provisions relating to access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization; the concept of utilization of genetic resources and how it should be defined in the context of the protocol; access and benefit-sharing with regard to traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources as well as in cases where such resources and knowledge are held by indigenous and local communities; compliance and related measures; and institutional clauses. Some progress was achieved towards an improved common understanding on the concept of utilization of genetic resources and its relation to derivatives, as well as on provisions on benefit-sharing and access. The meeting also considered provisions on scope, the relationship with other instruments, access to genetic resources for non-commercial research and access to pathogens in emergency situations, without making much progress. Several key issues remain outstanding and most delegates expressed concern about the prospect for concluding the negotiation of an ABS protocol during COP 10. The meeting’s outcome will be transmitted to the ABS Working Group, which will reconvene on 16 October 2010 in Nagoya, immediately prior to COP 10.

Provisions relating to TK were mainly discussed in a small group, although TK-related issues were also discussed under the provisions on scope and benefit-sharing. Under Article 4 on benefit-sharing, a new paragraph, bracketed in its entirety, requires parties to take administrative, legislative or policy measures, as appropriate, to ensure that benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated TK that are held by indigenous and local communities (ILCs) are shared in a fair and equitable way with these communities based on MAT. On access to genetic resources held by ILCs (Article 5), the small group on TK debated options on ensuring the prior informed consent (PIC) or approval and involvement of ILCs when their genetic resources are accessed that would accommodate different scenarios with regard to domestic legislation and the relationship between international and national law in different countries. Similar debates took place with regard to language specifying that ILCs “own” genetic resources, or “have the right to grant access” to them. On measures to be taken by countries to ensure the PIC of ILCs or their approval and involvement, delegates decided to develop distinct options that would accommodate different situations with regard to domestic legislation and the relationship between international and domestic law. On access to TK associated with genetic resources (Article 5 bis), the small group on TK debated references to national law.  

Read the IISD Reporting Services briefing note … Download the report of the meeting, including draft protocol text [pdf] … Download a CBD press release, 21 September 2010 [pdf] … Read an IPS article, 21 September 2010 … Read a Natural Justice post, 22 September 2010 … Read an ICTSD article, 24 September 2010 …

Traditional Marine Management Areas of the Pacific in the Context of National and International Law and Policy
Marjo Vierros, Alifereti Tawake, Francis Hickey, Ana Tiraa, Rahera Noa
UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative (September 2010) | ISBN: 978-0-9807084-6-2 (print), 978-0-9807084-7-9 (pdf)

Many Pacific Island communities have traditionally used area and time-based restrictions to facilitate the recovery of marine resources. Although there is increasing recognition of the value of these management systems in conservation programmes, government legislation is often in conflict with community resource allocation systems, and traditional community-based efforts may not be recognized for their contribution to national and international marine protected area strategies and targets. This report explores the role of traditional marine resources management in meeting both the goals of communities and those of national and international conservation strategies. Specifically, it looks at how traditional practices are applied in various Pacific Island countries, how concepts such as the ecosystem approach and adaptive management are incorporated, whether traditional marine managed areas are recognized by national law, and how and whether they are seen to contribute to national and international protected areas and conservation targets. The report also reflects on the issue of marine genetic resources, and access to and benefit sharing of these resources. Read a UNU-IAS TKI news release … Download the report [pdf] …

New UNU-IAS TKI/UNESCO Visiting Professor
UNU-IAS TKI news release, 21 September 2010

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: Prof. Dipak Gyawali, former Minister of Water Resources of Nepal, will take up his duty as a UNU-IAS TKI/UNESCO Visiting Professor on Water and Cultural Diversity on 12 October 2010. The Professorship will be hosted by the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) in Yokohama, Japan, as part of the UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Water Project and the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme project on Water and Cultural Diversity. The Professor will be providing concrete advice on how the importance of the links between water, cultural diversity, traditional knowledge, and global environmental changes can be better recognized in water management and policies. Read the news release …

Great Examples of ‘Hima’ or Protected Areas in the Middle East
Green Prophet, 21 September 2010

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: In this article, Arwa Aburawa explores some famous examples of Hima and how they helped create sustainable societies. As presented in a prior article on Hima: The Middle East’s Tradition of Environmental Protection, Hima roughly translates as “protected or preserved place”, has been practiced for over 14,000 years in the Arabian Peninsula, and is believed to be the most widespread system of traditional conservation in the Middle East. Himas are traditionally ruled by the local communities through consensus and different groups held specific responsibilities such as collecting rainwater run-off and monitoring grazing. In 2006, the Lebanese village of Kfar Zabad embraced the principles of Hima after overuse of land and water almost destroyed the vast wetlands. Setup by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, it was deemed a success with the return of migratory birds and other local communities showing interest as it empowered them directly by placing responsibility in their hands rather than some distant authority. Read the article …

Ambassadors Meet Outside WTO to Discuss TRIPS Negotiations
IP Watch, 24 September 2010

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: More than a dozen ambassadors to the World Trade Organization met at the New Zealand mission in Geneva to discuss the state of negotiations related to intellectual property rights and trade. According to government sources, the meeting was organized by WTO member states outside the WTO after years of difficult efforts in talks under the responsibility of the WTO Director General. Proposals have been on the table for several years to amend the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). At issue in the Doha Round of trade talks launched in Qatar in 2001 are two topics related to geographical indications and one related to biodiversity, regarding which Brazil, India and others have proposed an amendment to require the disclosure of origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge used in patent applications, as an attempt to stop biopiracy. Read the article …

TK implementation action plan progressing well
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat press release, 27 September 2010

SUVA, FIJI: Work on the implementation of the Traditional Knowledge Action Plan in several Forum island countries is progressing well with several of them already well into setting up the necessary policy and legislative frameworks. The Plan is implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat working in close collaboration with the Trade Com, WIPO, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP). The first part of the Action Plan is to develop national systems of protection setting out new rights and obligations in TK that will complement existing forms of protection for intellectual property (IP). The second part involves the development of cultural industries in the region through activities that promote the commercialization of TK. The TK Action Plan will also assist the Forum countries in the eventual establishment of a regional arrangement of mutual recognition and enforcement regime to protect and promote TK use in the region. Progress on the implementation of the TK Action Plan in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu was discussed by TK and IP officials at a regional seminar in August 2010. Read the press release …

Equator Prize 2010 Awards Ceremony
Equator Initiative, 20 September 2010

Held at the start of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, the theme of the event was Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate Change: Scaling Up Local Solutions to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Special Recognition award for Applied Indigenous Knowledge was awarded to Tsimane Mosetene Regional Council – Pilon Lajas from Bolivia, for their work to conserve biodiversity and protect the rights of indigenous peoples within Bolivia’s Biosphere Reserve. Their project involves a collaborative management approach between the Tsimané Mosetene Regional Council and Bolivia’s National Service of Protected Areas to work within the reserve to stop poaching, promote education, preserve local traditions and cultures, advance sustainable agriculture, and improve local livelihoods. Read the Equator Initiative release … Read about all winning initiatives …

Coherence Needed to Avoid Multilateral Legal Swamp, WTO Told
IP Watch, 22 September 2010

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The multilateral system with its different agencies dealing with specific areas is sometimes seen as incoherent in global negotiations and norm-setting as there are overlaps in competency, definition and scope, according to speakers at a side event to the recent WTO Public Forum. Organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on 17 September 2010, and entitled The (elusive?) Quest for Coherence in Global Negotiations and Norms: the Case of TRIPS and CBD, addressed questions related to the interaction between the WTO TRIPS Agreement and the CBD. Speakers addressed issues related to biodiversity and intellectual property, including disclosure requirements for genetic resources and TK in patent applications; pathogens, and the relationship between WHO and the CBD ABS negotiations; and biodiversity and TK-related clauses in bilateral free trade agreements. Read the article … Visit the website of the event …

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