First meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol
6-10 June 2011 (Montreal, Canada)

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol 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) met from 6-10 June 2011, inMontreal,Canada. The Committee was established to undertake the preparations necessary for the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. An organizational meeting held on 5 June elected Janet Lowe (New Zealand) to replace Tim Hodges (Canada) as IC Co-Chair, alongside Co-Chair Fernando Casas (Colombia). The Committee adopted four recommendations on: the modalities of operation of the ABS clearing-house; measures to assist in capacity building, capacity development and strengthening of human and institutional capacities in developing countries; 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. According to the summary report by IISD Reporting Services, compliance procedures emerged as the substantively dominant and politically charged element of the discussions, and can be expected to take a significant role at the next meeting of the Committee, scheduled for April 2012.

On compliance, delegates debated the relationship of Protocol Article 30 (procedures and mechanisms to promote compliance with the Protocol) with Articles 15 (compliance with domestic legislation on ABS), 16 (compliance with domestic legislation on ABS from TK associated with genetic resources) and 18 (compliance with MAT); and exchanged views on the options for procedures and mechanisms, and on next steps. During discussions, Norway noted that compliance with the Protocol provisions on traditional knowledge should be dealt with “on an equal footing” with other Protocol provisions. Switzerlandfavored the possibility for the compliance committee to receive submissions from any party, the Secretariat and stakeholders, and take facilitative measures in its own capacity. In the final recommendation, the IC invites governments, international organizations, ILCs and relevant stakeholders to communicate by 1 September 2011 their views on elements and options for cooperative procedures and institutional mechanisms on compliance, taking into account the experience and lessons learned from other relevant multilateral agreements.

The annex to the recommendation on the ABS clearinghouse contains guidance for the pilot phase of the clearinghouse, including on objectives, information to be incorporated in the pilot phase, information management including submissions and updates, networking with existing mechanisms, capacity building and reporting requirements. On information management including submissions and updates, the guidance contains information on, inter alia, each party, as appropriate, considering the establishment of ILC contact points for the ABS clearinghouse to facilitate effective participation of ILCs. On capacity building, the guidance includes that ILCs be encouraged to identify their capacity-building needs with emphasis on enhancing the capacity of women to access genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

In the recommendation on capacity building, the IC recommends the development of a strategic framework for capacity building and development, on the basis of domestic needs and priorities identified by parties, including those identified by ILCs.

In the recommendation on awareness raising, the IC invites governments, international organizations, ILCs and others to submit views to the Secretariat on the proposed elements of an awareness-raising strategy for the Protocol, as well as information on awareness‑raising activities on the importance of genetic resources and traditional knowledge, including lessons learned from existing experience.

A side-event on biocultural community protocols presented experiences, case studies and lessons learned from a variety of existing initiatives and activities related to the use of biocultural protocols for indigenous knowledge, ABS and related inter-cultural awareness-raising activities in the Andean region. Visit the meeting webpage, including links to official documents … Read the IISD RS summary and analysis of the meeting … Read a report on the side-event on biocultural protocols by Natural Justice …