World Commission on Environmental Law

Access and Benefit-Sharing

Chair: Tomme Young, Co-Deputy Chairs: Lily Rodriguez, Evanson Chege

Year in Review

As a fairly new Specialist Group (SG), ABSSG has prioritized building an active membership to contribute to the work. Representing several different countries worldwide, there are now more than 30 members, global scientists, lawyers, economists and policy experts, in the group contributing to ABSSG’s work. The group’s objective is to “provide an international expert forum for the discussion and resolution of some of the complex challenges presented by the ABS concept and its implementation[1]”.

One of the SG’s priorities for last year was to gain formal recognition by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as recognition by appropriate Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) bodies, which in the last year was accomplished with regard to two of those organizations.

The SG has focused on developing a Global Multilateral Benefit-sharing Mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol – a process that has combined inputs and active participation from a number of SG members.  On the basis of this document, the ABS group received an offer from the CBD, IUCN and others to nominate one or more of the SG members to the CBD’s Global Expert Group dealing with this issue; however lack of funding prevented this from moving forward.

In conjunction with the IUCN Species Survival Committee, ABS has also commenced the development of a Code of Conduct, and with the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group, ABS is participating in the development of a new SMTA (a key document under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) and principles for its use.

Other ABS work included individual publications and presentations by the group members, and the primary publication by the JSG-ABS in this year was the “Submission of views in preparation for the Expert Meeting on the need for and modalities of a Global Multilateral Benefit-sharing Mechanism of the Nagoya Protocol”, which was provided to and circulated by the CBD Secretariat.

The JSG-ABS has several projects in the pipeline, including creating an operational online space and tools for materials produced by the group. The SG also hopes to develop ABS guidelines for protected areas and species, in addition to take a detailed analysis of benefit sharing practices to date.

 

[1] “Submission of views in preparation for the Expert Meeting on the need for modalities of a Global Multilateral Benefit-sharing Mechanism of the Nagoya Protocol”

 

Resources

“An Explanatory Guide to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing”
  

 

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