United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Negotiating instruments to govern provision & use of the planet`s genetic resources


The provision and use of the genetic resources of the planet is the subject of a week long negotiations that started in Montreal, Saturday, with the aim to settle the details of a new global legal agreement to govern the process at a multinational level.

The results of these negotiations, to be taken to the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October this year, will contribute to unlocking the huge scientific and economic potential of the biodiversity of our planet, with a significant impact on human well-being.

In 2002, at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, world leaders agreed on the need for an international regime on access and benefit-sharing (ABS). The 4,000 participants attending the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in March 2006, agreed to finalize negotiations as soon as possible and no later than 2010.

The adoption of the Aichi Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing will make a major contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to promoting sustainable development.

Access and benefit-sharing refers to the way genetic resources?whether plant, animal or microorganism?are accessed in countries of origin, and how the benefits that result from their use by various research institutes, universities or private companies are shared with the people or countries that provide them. Ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The final result is a draft agreement that will be submitted for adoption at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit, otherwise known as the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, in October 2010.

Over 10,000 participants are expected to attend the Biodiversity Summit. The high-level segment of this historic meeting will be held on 27-29 October 2010 and will be preceded by a high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly exclusively devoted to biodiversity to be held in New York in September 2010 in conjunction with the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly and with the participation of Heads of State and Government.

The negotiations on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing aim at the effective implementation of the access and benefit-sharing provisions of the Convention, as well as Article 8(j) of the Convention related to the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

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