The Second Meeting on Nagoya Protocol Inaugurated

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The Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Nagoya Protocol (ICNP-2) on Access and Benefit Sharing is being held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated today and is being hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India from 2-6 July 2012.

The meeting was inaugurated by Dr. T. Chatterjee, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests. Dr. Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, CBD, Ms. Janet Lowe and Dr. Fernando Casas, ICNP Co-chairs, Shri M F Farooqui, member of the ICNP and the Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests and Shri Hem Pande, CBD National Focal Point India and the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests were also present on the occasion.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a new international treaty adopted under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) after six years of intense negotiations. The CBD, one of the three agreements adopted during the Earth Summit in 1992, is the first comprehensive global agreement which addresses all aspects relating to biodiversity. The Convention, while reaffirming sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources, establishes three main goals:

(i) conservation of biological diversity,
(ii) sustainable use of its components and
(iii) fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources.

A framework for implementing the third objective of the CBD, which is generally known as access and benefit sharing (ABS), is provided for in the Convention. ABS refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and the way in which benefits that result from their use are shared between people or countries using the resources and the people or countries that provide them.  An Intergovernmental Committee for the ICNP has been established by the Parties to the Convention as in interim governing body to undertake the preparations necessary for the first Meeting of the Parties (MoP) at which time it will cease to exist. The first meeting of ICNP was held in June, 2011.

The ICNP-2, which has started its deliberations earlier in the day, will discuss issues such as: capacity building for implementation of the Protocol, awareness raising, modalities of ABS clearing house, procedures and mechanisms to promote compliance with the Protocol, agenda for the first Conference of Parties (CoP) and Meeting of the Parties (MoP), rules of procedure for CoP-MoP and global multilateral benefit sharing mechanism. More than 500 delegates from 193 countries of the world, representing government academia, UN bodies, civil society organisations and indigenous and local communities are participating in this meeting.

Inaugurating the Conference, the Secretary, Environment and Forests said that India was one of the first country’s to put in place operational domestic legislative procedures to implement the access and benefit sharing provisions of the CBD as early as 2002. He announced that while India was working towards strengthening its domestic ABS procedures and institutional mechanisms, 100 ABS agreements have already been signed in the Government of India through the National Biodiversity Authority, and benefits have also begin to reach to communities now. Dr. Chatterjee said that an early and effective operationalisation of the Nagoya Protocol is crucial for a balanced implementation of the Convention itself.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri M F Farooqui, Special Secretary said that as the Intergovernmental Committee charged with the mandate of preparing for entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol, it had a major responsibility ahead. Though the Protocol has received 92 signatures signalling the intent of countries to abide by the Protocol, the process of ratifications has been admittedly slow, presumably because this international treaty envisages that countries put in place the required legal, policy or administrative measures to implement the provisions of the Protocol. Very few countries have domestic ABS mechanisms in place. However, there was hope that the process of ratifying the Protocol would pick up fast ensuring an early entry into force of this treaty.

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