Year in Review
Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Joint Specialist Group (WCEL-SSC) continues to operate under the following mandate:
- To bring the range of perspectives on ABS to a “neutral playing field”, increasing understanding of the needs and concerns on all sides.
- To provide expert information and input, enabling all perspectives including conservation, research, sustainable use and social welfare, to be addressed in international efforts to resolve the global debate relating to ABS.
- To improve the global community’s ability to implement ABS based on an understanding of those perspectives.
- To respond to questions and needs relating to guiding ABS implementation, with particular attention to the impact of ABS on biodiversity-related issues of conservation, research, sustainable use and social welfare.
In addition, as one of the Specialist Groups that is dedicated to cutting across the divisions between IUCN commissions, it has also focused on maximizing interactions with IUCN commission members that have an interest in genetic resources, across the full range of IUCN.
Thus, although the lack of financial resources has limited the JSG’s ability to engage in substantive legal/policy development within the ABS “community,” members of the JSG have:
- participated in five international diplomatic processes on ABS and genetic resources, including providing substantive advice to two of them;
- coordinated with IUCN inter-commission work on improving the operation of the commissions;
- provided substantive input into five ABS development projects (one being implemented by the IUCN ELC, and four others having contacted the JSG for expert input on current legal and practical challenges they are addressing).
At a time when requests for assistance are frequent but funding is scant, the JSG continues to function as a vehicle for the sharing of work, ideas, best practices, concerns and challenges across the entire range of genetic-resource related topics.