Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Focuses of implementation I 3.2


I 3.2.9

Access to genetic resources

The extraction of components of biological diversity

and their use should be compensated in accordance

with the Biodiversity Convention by the fair and

equitable sharing of the benefits that accrue from

that use (Section D 3.3; WBGU, 1996). On the basis

of sovereign rights of availability the countries of origin

have the power to regulate access to their genetic

resources. With regard to designing agreements

between users and suppliers of genetic resources the

convention contains very general parameters such as

prior consent from the country of origin (Prior

Informed Consent, PIC) and consideration for the

ideas of both sides (Mutually Agreed Terms, MAT).

Therefore, the aim of this new arrangement was not

to achieve access provisions issued by one side for

the use of genetic resources, but rather parameters

that promote the exchange of genetic resources

(Henne, 1998). The question of implementation of

CBD provisions with regard to access to genetic

resources and benefit-sharing has played a particularly

important role at the COPs. The increasing

interest in the use of biological diversity while

resources continue to become ever scarcer is a challenge

for both supply countries and user countries

alike. The supply countries have an interest in controlling

access to their genetic resources by means of

appropriate regulations and in participating in the

profits derived from that use. The regulations and

laws may not however be designed in such as way as

to fundamentally restrict the use of biological diversity

and thus the interest from foreign demand. For

the user countries there is the problem of ensuring

the users, particularly private companies, are adhering

to the various access provisions.

Experiences with national and regional access

regulations issued so far show that there is a need for

an internationally agreed standard to serve as an orientation

framework for suppliers and users for shaping

access to genetic resources in line with the spirit

of the convention. In addition to the possibility of

developing protocols under the CBD, international

framework guidelines and codes of conduct may be

agreed.These guidelines are not binding in character,

but they are also not associated with a complex procedures

that come with negotiating and adopting

protocols and are therefore more flexible and perhaps

more efficient. In October 1999 an expert body

will meet to establish more concrete options for

international regulations and submit these to the

COP-5 for discussion and decision.

The Council recommends that the German federal

government helps to swiftly advance the process

of developing international standards for access to

genetic resources and benefit-sharing within the

framework of the CBD. There is a considerable need

for research with regard to suitable structures for

cooperative projects on the use of genetic resources

(Section J 1.3). In developing that type of structure,

information from work on the ground and in

exchange with relevant companies should be evaluated.

Greater use should be made here of the experience

that is available through cooperation with the

countries of origin of genetic resources in the context

of the GTZ’s sectoral project. The role of technical

cooperation for the building of technology and

research capacities and training programmes should

be reinforced. Cooperation with the partner institutions

in the countries supplying genetic resources

should in the Council’s view aim for transparency in

the decision-making and participatory process, sustainable

use and benefit-sharing. Initiatives already

launched that involve in the political debate relevant

companies and institutions active in natural substance

research should be continued and intensified.

A network of cooperation models for the promotion

of sustainable bioprospecting should be developed

in cooperation with the competent executing agencies

(eg GTZ, BfN, ZADI). Individual instances of

cooperation in supplier countries show that a sensitivity

to the political dimension of the topic and a

readiness to cooperate in developing standards and

implementing such standards do exist.

I 3.2.10

Indigenous peoples and traditional knowledge:

intellectual property rights

The role of indigenous and local communities and

the importance of traditional knowledge is a crosssectoral

topic of the CBD. At the COP-4 of the CBD

(1998) it was agreed to convene a working group for

the implementation of the corresponding Article

8(j), due to meet for the first time in January 2000.

Indigenous and local communities are often directly

dependent on biological diversity as a result of their

traditional ways of life and therefore often directly

affected by the loss of that diversity (Section E 3.5).

In many regions of the Earth indigenous and local

populations have been expelled from their home

regions by the establishment of large-scale conservation

areas.Art. 8(j) of the CBD calls on the parties to

respect and preserve the traditional knowledge, innovations

and practices of the indigenous communities.

The application of this traditional knowledge should

be promoted and the benefits accruing from that use

shared in an equitable fashion.As indicated by Art. 8

and hotly discussed at the COPs, discussions about

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